Black Public Relations Professionals

2 Black Public Relations Professionals Share Industry Tips and Advice

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The role of a public relations professional is to help create and maintain a favorable public image for their employer or client.

Their clients often include businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals from entertainers to religious leaders.

We spoke to two Black public relations professionals to find out how brands can best communicate their message, how to handle bad press, and when is the right time to hire a PR professional.

Black Public Relations Professionals

Black Public Relations Professionals
Tracy Aliche

Tracy Aliche Consulting (TAC) is a full-service public relations firm. We are a client-centric agency that specializes in working with purpose-driven brands of all sizes across all industries. Our strength is our holistic wrap-around approach towards image management as it relates to both personal and public brand image.

We have worked with industry-leading companies and public figures in the fields of Finance, Technology, Travel & Lifestyle, Beauty, and Wellness.

Notable clients include Jubril Agoro/Passport Heavy, The Budgetnista, & Bolden skincare. Our clients have been frequently featured in top media outlets such as Forbes, GMA, Essence, CNBC, The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, BET, The Real, & more.

Services include Full-Service Public Relations, PR Coaching, Image Consulting, and Writing & Design Services.

Black Public Relations Professionals
Tara Dowdell

Tara Dowdell Group (TDG)  is a public relations and marketing agency with a passion for promoting organizations and businesses engaged in social good. Our clients consist of nonprofits and foundations, healthcare organizations, public sector agencies, and businesses in economic development.

Our services include community and public relations, messaging and copywriting, branding and marketing, and graphic and website design. The most effective communications strategies unify these services, which is why we offer all of them in-house. 

Some of our clients include The Rockefeller Foundation, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Essex County Surrogate’s Court, and HNTB, a 100 year old national architecture and engineering firm. We’re proud to have had our results highlighted by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at his daily press briefing last year.

The Questions:

1. When is a business ready to bring on a public relations professional?

TRACY: Your business may be ready to bring on a PR pro/agency when you want to build stronger brand recognition and awareness.

But, remember that a publicist’s job is to amplify the brand that you are building. So, be sure you’ve built an established brand ready to be amplified!

Working with a PR pro/agency, like TAC, will allow you to tap into our unique PR expertise across multiple industries, as well as exclusive access to our established media relationships.

TARA: Communications is an essential business function so it should begin as early as possible and be integrated into the business strategy.

People often underestimate the power of public relations. Just because you build it does not mean they will come. PR should begin once a business is fully operational and has a budget.

Many PR professionals can also assist with branding and other essential communications.

 

2. How can brands best communicate their message?

TRACY: One of the most effective ways brands can communicate their message is through creatively telling their brand story, and consistently sharing their key messages.
Key messages are the main points of information that you want your audience to hear, understand, & remember. They should be concise, relevant, & memorable, and in close alignment with your overall brand story.
I always advise my clients to leverage accessible channels like social media, newsletters, blogs, podcasts, & media interviews to share these messages.

TARA: First, you should engage a public relations agency or hire a PR professional. This is our area of expertise, and the most effective PR agencies understand that impactful messaging is foundational to communications.

It all starts with a compelling message. What is the inspiration behind the brand? What is the story of impact? Even if you already have a message, it’s important to ensure that it resonates with the target audience.

After you have crafted or revamped your message, you should utilize all the communications tools at your disposal to share it — public relations, digital marketing, social media, events, etc. However, it’s important to ensure that the platforms chosen reflect the target audience. This prioritization is particularly crucial if your budget is limited.

3. How should brands handle bad press?

TRACY: Sometimes, negative press is bound to happen. But, there are ways to overcome a PR crisis. Be thoughtful and think about your messaging. Remember that timing is everything! Responding too quickly may look insincere, however, silence can also be interpreted as a response.
Be sure to get in front of it and acknowledge your mistake genuinely. Use clear language to address what exactly happened, who was specifically affected, and why a statement or apology (if applicable) is needed.
Always be receptive to feedback and implement the necessary changes needed to move forward. And don’t forget to openly share your company’s next steps and action plan along the way!
Lastly, monitor your media coverage and respond to your stakeholders accordingly.

TARA: You should address negative publicity directly and efficiently. You should be intentional, straightforward, and transparent.

Most importantly, if the brand bears responsibility, you should take responsibility and immediately outline in clear and concrete terms how you will address the issue.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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