Now more than ever, public relations matters Featured

7:44am EDT April 8, 2010

It doesn’t matter how great your products and/or services are, how experienced and qualified your people are, or how convenient and affordable your offerings are, if there’s a negative public perception about your company, you’re dead in the water.

That is why public relations is so important, now more than ever. PR is not just another line item that can be cut to save some cash to the bottom line. The only thing certain in this country right now is uncertainty. Consumers are being very careful about where and with whom they do business. If a customer doesn’t know you — or, even worse, doesn't trust you — he or she will move on to your competitor.

Because of this, PR leaders across the country are working overtime to highlight the positive impact and importance of the public relations industry. This was evident on Monday, March 29, at Windows on the River in Cleveland, where the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) hosted the Hill Lighthouse Young luncheon. These annual awards recognize Northeast Ohio’s leading communicators and PR professionals.

Smart Business was at the event and sat down with the award winners to discuss PR and why it’s so vital in today’s business world.

Art Anton, president and CEO of Swagelok Company, won the John W. Hill Memorial Award, which honors a Cleveland-area chief executive who demonstrates a keen appreciation of the importance of public relations over the course of his or her career.

Anton on PR and why it's so important, particularly in today's business world.

Chris Lynch, senior vice president of Falls Communications, won the Lighthouse Award, which honors senior public relations professionals for their career accomplishments.

Lynch on PR, how it has changed and where it's going in the future.


George Richard, assistant vice president and director of college relations at Baldwin-Wallace College, won the Davis Young Award, which is given to a professional who excels in mentoring students and young professionals through hands-on instruction and support.

Richard on mentoring and what makes for a good mentoring relationship.