Recognising the value of PR in ‘brutal’ times

By Petra Clayton

News that the Stein Group has appointed its first PR agency at the ripe old age of 45 might be raising a few questions. 

If a business as successful as the one created by Rick and Jill Stein and their family has managed to build a strong profile and survive more than four decades without the need for PR, why bother now?  

Some may have assumed the company, whose hospitality and food businesses like The Seafood Restaurant and Rick Stein’s Café, have populated so much of Padstow that the Cornish town has been dubbed ‘Padstein’, had assigned a PR agency decades ago.  

Why the Stein Group decided to keep its comms in-house for so long is a question only the Stein Group can answer (thanks to their appointment of a PR agency, journalists now know where to direct that question) but what is more interesting is that the company has decided to take the plunge now.  

When the Covid-19 crisis struck and hospitality venues were forced to close, PR contracts were reviewed (43% of in-house marketing executives said they were less likely to use external counsel according to PRovoke/ICCO’s global industry surveyand marketing budgets were slashed. Yet, as Rick and Jill’s son Charlie Stein tells PR Week, in a year as ‘incredibly brutal’ as 2020, businesses need all the help they can get.  

PR’s value in difficult times shouldn’t be overlooked. The fact that the Stein Group, which has never employed a PR agency previously, has recognised that PR and marketing can have a hugely positive impact on business development should speak volumes to others in a similar situation.  

Rick and Jill Stein, and their respective businesses have received their fair share of column inches in the press over the years, but they could have had more, and potentially received coverage that helped them with growth by working with a PR agency.   

Because securing a story in the press is just one slice of the PR cake. When a company and PR agency are ‘the right fit’ they will work together to devise a strategy that best suits the business and will ensure that whatever is being said about your company, or brand, is correct and in the right place.  

Enlisting the help of the right PR agency – one who understands the market you are trying to reach, the values of your business and what your audience is looking for – will be well-worth the investment. Particularly when times are tough.  

It’s something the Stein Group has recognised, even if it took 45 years to do so.