PR without a strategy is dangerous. These days everybody can call him/herself an expert. For entrepreneurs doing their own public relations, it may seem fun, daunting, exhilarating or just down right confusing. It’s not enough to just tweet a customer, attend a convention, create a new logo or buy some local air time.

Therefore effective PR has become a matter of context. People form an opinion by the context in which they see you. The environment of context should be strategically designed, not left to chance. Chris Collins known as a “branding master” according to Forbes magazine, recently gave some insight into his own PR strategies for the magazine.

For 10 years Collins has created the visual brands for a who’s who list of CEOs, personalities and products (many are confidential). In his creative work he is not only responsible for the initial vision, but he personally puts the finishing touches on each client deliverable.

As to what entrepreneurs and companies should do, Collins shared the advice he has given star CEOs and successful thought leaders and marketers. Here are his six new laws of PR your company should take into account the next time it’s in need of a rebranding.

The 7 Second Rule

Remember the old seven second rule. “You have 7 seconds to make a lasting impression,” Collins says. He cites studies in which researchers show images of an individual for a split second and ask respondents to vote up or down on whether they like the person or not. “One blink, and we’ve already decided. After seven seconds on a site or watching a video, customers know whether or not they want to engage. So why not engineer a truly captivating first impression that leaves them wanting more?”

Get branded before you get labeled

If you haven’t made an effort to communicate your mission clearly across all your interfaces, both with images and words, you leave it up to other people to do it for you. The media, as well as your customers, can only judge you by what they see of you. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Collins says, “I suggest auditing what people see when they search you online. For many of us this means taking down the stuff that is not flattering or is inconsistent with your brand today.”

Branding is a team sport

“Few branding decisions are actually made in the marketing department,” Collins maintains. The brand, personal image and the verbal message must be consistent. For businesses this could also mean a unified understanding of company culture. He says, “Branding is not a sprint, it is a marathon that you and your team run day in and day out.”

Avoid Digital Suicide

In the digital age of nothing ever really disappearing, avoid brand suicide. “Especially when you are just starting out, it could take only one bad mention or one bad appearance to make or break your reputation. In a world where everything is archived and searchable, your mistakes may live longer than you do,” Collins says. “You need to build a strong reputation in a credible context so that the one inevitable mishap will not jeopardize your entire business.”

Quality vs. Quantity

Your brand can die from overexposure. Collins is opposed to the kind of visibility called “random acts of PR.” Only legacy brands can benefit from mass and rapid visibility in the mainstream media. “When a product becomes a commodity and its value proposition is ubiquitous, any visibility and every mention could be good.” But for most businesses and entrepreneurs, strategically selected outlets are much more important than the number of appearances of your image or name.