Companies that know how to use public relations in tandem with the sales and marketing function understand the dual role of PR. If sales and marketing serves as the engine of a company, the public relations function is that of a brake and an accelerator.

The public relations team advises when a company needs to cool down the “engine” and not head in a certain direction. The best PR people see trouble before it arrives and prepare the company for the downside or better yet helps the company avoid it altogether. Applying the brakes is what the seasoned pros in our field do. They understand the importance of planning and timing. They also understand the value of throwing a red flag in a meeting and not being afraid to courageously say, “I would not do that.”

This prowess always earns the trust of the CEO, and it leads to a seat at the table for major company decisions, the ultimate litmus test of respect in our field.
On the flip side, when the big story needs to be told to reach the right audiences, the PR role is that of an accelerator. The foot is now off the brake. The PR team determines the speed of acceleration and focus of direction for the story. They know when to “put the pedal to the metal” and get the news out there. Storytelling is so important in our business. People remember stories and retell them to others. It creates a retelling ripple effect.

The best drivers on the road know when to use the brake and the accelerator. It is instinctive, effortless and natural to everyone around them. In our business, it is important that we do the same when behind the reputational wheel. When we do it right, we earn the respect of the C suite and everyone else.

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