The Role of PR and Return on Investment

In the field of  Public Relations it is extremely important that a company knows their audience. If this is not the case, it can be highly damaging to a brand’s image along with their Return on Investment. A brand should tailor to the audience in order to receive the highest income, impressions and reads. Just like how you wouldn’t tell your friend who’s vegetarian that they needs to try the gourmet burger you just vacuumed up, a brand should never relay irrelevant information to consumers they know won’t get anything out of it. Brands seek a higher return on the investment that they put down.

PR professionals need to know the market. For example if a brand’s target audience is 18-30 year olds, most likely they will reach out on social media platforms. Ilya Pozin at Forbes online says that: “Every placement you get, every article written about your company, and every positive mention you receive is chipping away at your competition. Ignoring your public relations plan is allowing your competition to overtake your niche and steal your brand awareness.” Staying on top of the competition will almost guarantee a higher return on investment.  He also says, “Advertising can gain you recognition, but PR can help you pinpoint the movers and shakers you need to turn from skeptics into fans. Your PR firm knows which publications your ideal customer reads, what they’re saying on social media, who the big digital stars are, which celebrities your market is obsessed with, and how to gain market share with your target audience.” Knowing this information can take ROI to the next level. Let’s say a brand invests a certain amount of money into a campaign, it reaches millions of people and gets many impressions. That brand’s return on investment will be higher than the initial investment, all because they knew their target audience. If they chose a different route and made a general campaign, not tailoring to their market, it would most likely be glossed over by people who don’t care. Most advertisements on the internet, Instagram and twitter tune in to the viewer in order to get a high ROI. Brands that do this are smart in marketing themselves this way as they know their consumer will view it.

In order to have a positive return on investment, brands need to know how to communicate with their PR team. Guy Kawasaki notes in a Huffington Post article: “Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you’re saying about yourself. People say good things about you when (a) you have a great product and (b) you get people to spread the word about it.” The job of a public relations team is to spread the word about the brand. Return on investment only happens when a successful campaign or brand image is brought about. Social media is the best way to spread the word about your brand. Companies who exclusively put ads in the newspaper and not on social media accounts will see a drop in return on investment since that is not where the market is for most brands today.

In a study by William Murdoch on “Maximizing return on investment in conservation” He notes that, “When faced with an array of potential projects and limited means to fund them, standard advice from business and economics is to invest in projects where the rates of return on investment are the highest.”

Brands must be conscientious of who their market is. In order to gain a positive return on investment. Public Relations professional also must know how to advise these companies in churning out the highest ROI possible. When brands, PR folks and a great campaign blend together, that’s when a positive ROI will occur.



Borchers, Molly. “Measuring the ROI of Public Relations: Five Experts Weigh In.” The Huffington Post., 26 Mar. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

Pozin, Ilya. “5 Measurements for PR ROI.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 29 May 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <>.

Murdoch, William. “Maximizing Return on Investment in Conservation.”Biological Conservation 139.3-4 (2007): 375-88. Science Direct. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.



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