I still get enquiries from a 2012 press release

A phone number linked to Kraft Foods' expansion of its Oreo factory in Saudi Arabia highlights the power of PR

There is a common misconception that PR doesn’t drive sales. This radical belief is often held by those who see PR as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have’, or by those who view PR as an abstract concept, disconnected from the tangible metrics that define a brand’s success.

This perception is fundamentally wrong. PR does in fact impact the bottom line.

Let’s consider the scenario of my phone number, which was linked to a 2012 press release about Kraft Foods expanding its Oreo factory in Saudi Arabia.

Even after a decade, I continue to receive enquiries about Oreo orders via WhatsApp. Add to that ‘Kraft Foods’ transition to ‘Mondelez’ during that same year.

This isn’t a fluke; it is testament to the enduring power of basic content featured on Google through top ranking news portals.

The press release, a traditional PR tool, managed to create awareness and continues to reach the right audiences, spurring them into action.

Throughout my career, I have received numerous sales requests following the placement of op-eds or the distribution of press releases.

Sales funnel

The sales process is often visualised as a funnel, where numerous leads enter at the top, and a smaller number of converted customers emerge at the bottom. PR plays a critical role throughout this funnel.

At the ‘awareness’ stage, PR boosts visibility through various channels like media outlets. At the ‘interest’ stage, PR cultivates this awareness, turning it into genuine interest through thought leadership pieces and product reviews.

When potential customers reach the ‘decision’ stage, PR helps tip the scales in your favour. Positive news coverage, awards, and endorsements can build trust and credibility, influencing the customer’s decision-making process.

Finally, at the ‘action’ stage, PR can drive conversion. A well-crafted PR campaign can inspire customers to take action—whether its visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase.

 Strategic partnerships 

PR also opens doors to strategic partnerships. A strong media presence can position a business as a leader in its industry, attracting the attention of potential investors and partners who may want to collaborate on joint ventures or cross-promotion opportunities.

For example, a well-executed PR campaign might catch the eye of a larger company looking to invest in innovative startups. Alternatively, it could lead to a partnership with a non-competitive business targeting a similar customer demographic, allowing for shared marketing initiatives that reach a broader audience.

These partnerships and collaborations can significantly extend a company’s reach and visibility, leading to increased sales opportunities.

This is particularly valuable for small businesses or startups that may struggle to achieve the same level of exposure on their own.

 Impact on sales

Admittedly, measuring the direct impact of PR on sales can be challenging due to the lack of direct and robust correlation between the two, measurement difficulties, misalignment with the sales process and a misunderstanding of PR’s core function.

However, with the rise of AI, measurement has become more tangible.

Leveraging AI to crunch big data and identify trends, key messages, and media efficacy allows for more accurate and comprehensive analysis, which can directly inform sales strategies.

AI can fast-track the research and insight process by answering questions such as, “What kind of stories are most effective in driving sales for product X?” or “Which channels yield the highest return on investment for service Y?”

This level of insight helps businesses refine their PR strategies, focusing on what truly works.

We should also consider PR’s indirect impact on sales. Good PR can enhance brand reputation, foster customer loyalty, and create a positive business environment—all of which can lead to increased sales in the long term.

Let’s start giving PR the recognition it deserves in the sales process.

By Baha Hamadi, Founder & Managing Director, Keel Comms