Chapter 2: Understanding Public Relations:- Fundamentals of Public Relations
As the term connotes PR means Public Relations. It is a strategy to influence public opinion through systematic research, measurement, and evaluation. It shows its concern and expectations of the organization’s public. Today, PR agencies are not only hired by celebrities, industries, and filmmakers but the government also hires PR agencies to inform and aware people about their development initiatives.
The two famous ad campaign which has created brand Mody (Honourable Prime Minister of India) and Domino’s strategy to manage crisis through its PR and marketing campaign can be studied in detail in the below mentioned link:-
- g. 1) Brand Modi Campaign 2014 elections: – (https://www.businesstoday.in/magazine/case-
2) Fight Viral with Viral: (A Case Study of Domino’s Pizza’s Crisis Communication
Strategies: – http://cssc.uscannenberg.org/cases/v1/v1art6/)
Today, no company can imagine its success without having a strong PR team. They are termed as “Long Tem Strategist”, Image Builder and Crisis Manager.
To sum up, PR is the practice of creating, promoting or maintaining goodwill and favorable image among the public towards an institution or public body. To conclude, PR is the sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics. The PR in an industry has gone up to 50 % growth rate every year.
Today, PR is not just termed as an activity to manage public relations but a marketing strategist to handle press relations, buildup of universal goodwill, manage consumer expectations, demands and company’s profits, create an environment for the presence of firm and influence a group of people who share a common interest i.e. Target audience. It is a profession that has become a part and parcel of management functions.
Definition of Public Relations:-
- Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other. Public Relations broadly applies to organizations as a collective group, not just a business; and publics encompass the variety of different stakeholders. PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)
- Public relations is communicating your organization’s messages at the right time and in the right place to the right audience. With the proliferation of tools and technologies, we can measure the value of those efforts and how they align with a business’ overall mission. Marla Aaron – MRM Worldwide.
- Traditionally, PR has focused on cultivating the media and celebrities, who have got the reach and credibility, to tell the stories of an agency’s clients. However, in the new media world, where digital conversations among peers can capture a higher Google ranking than a mainstream media publication, who influences opinion has been expanded. At the end of the day, PR is still about building relationships with the people who can convey that third-party endorsement. That person just may surprise you because it could be you! Toby Bloomberg– Bloomberg Marketing/Diva Marketing.
- PR is the part of a marketing and communications strategy that crafts an organization’s message(s) to its diverse publics including customers, prospects, investors, employees, suppliers, distributors, media/journalists, social media networks, the government and the public. Given communications and media evolution, these messages can be communicated one-to-many, one-to-one and/or many-to-many across owned media. third-party media and /social media via online and offline vehicles. These communications and their distribution must be search-friendly. Since every individual is essentially a publisher complete with a media platform from which to broadcast his message, organizations must monitor the social media landscape for keywords and brand mentions, be prepared to respond to emerging news 24/7, and have a crisis management plan. – Heidi Cohen – Riverside Marketing Strategies.
- Public Relations is a management function that establishes and maintains two-way, mutual relationships and communications between an organization and its public and stakeholders (i.e. those who have a stake such as employees, shareholders, etc.) that often determine their success or failure. PR management includes on-going research, analysis, planning, and evaluation to understand, develop and nurture strategic relationships, Areas of PR specialization include investor relations, Lobbying, Public Affairs (Government and Community), Publicity and Media/Blogger Relations, Employee Relations, International Relations and Crisis Management. Often, PR and Publicity are used synonymously, which leads to a misunderstanding of the field of PR. Beth Harte – The Harte of Marketing.
Essentials of Public Relations:-
Thus, with the above definition, it is clearly understood that to have a successful PR strategist, it is important for an organization to manage:-
- Human Relations between the organization and its target audience.
- Sustained a consistent effort to influence public opinion.
- Aware the masses, instruct about its benefits and persuade to favor the opinion towards an organization’s benefits.
- Build a rapport and dialogue.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher known for his skills at Rhetoric or the use of language for persuasion. Aristotle, the art of Rhetoric defined the three critical elements of any speech:-
Speakers – Subject –Audience.
Communication experts consider this as a traditional method of communication because a medium is also important to consider when we talk about a successful method of communication. The basic essentials for managing a successful PR strategy is to have the above three elements in a process of managing public relations for an organization etc.
Objectives of Public Relations:-
- Marketing Public Relations (MPR):- MPR is the use of PR strategist and techniques to activate marketing objectives. The purpose of MPR is to gain awareness, stimulate sales, facilitate consumption, and build relationships between consumer, companies, and brands. (Harris, quoted in Kitchen and Schultz, 2003 P.177)
- Build the company brand: – Every institution has 2 key assets: Brand (image, reputation, financial assets, performance, financial assets, performance and people) and Brand (Products and services it offers). PR sets out the brand messaging. PR can influence perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. PR runs on the Pareto 80:20 principle leveraging the fact that, “the few have an extraordinary influence on the many. “PR provides last mile connectivity to each of the targeted audiences – internal and external.
- Manage company’s reputation:- Fombrun in his book “Reputation” states that a company manages good reputation if it manages healthy relationships with its 7 key audiences:-
- The Local community
- The public at large.
Apart from above, a good PR also controls misinformation, stimulate public demands, persuade consumers, and create a dialogue between companies and its target audience.
Scope of Public Relations:-
As the strategy of PR is to aware, persuade, instruct to target audience, therefore it is extremely crucial for a PR to define first its target audience and ask the few relevant questions before designing the communication campaign which is as follows:-
- What is your intended result or objective
- Who are you attempting to influence
- What are their current attitudes, interests, and opinions
- What messages would be effective to impart those attitudes, interests, and opinions is a way that would achieve intended results.
Today, the scope of PR is wide and it is more than managing only public relations. It manages management communication, organizational communications, and marketing communication through its planned and sustained efforts. Ms. Jolina Manejaro in her articles states the following points in scope of PR: – (https://prezi.com/duiynsta8bvb/scope-of-public-relations/)
- Evaluation of public attitudes and opinions.
- Formulation and implementation of an organizations procedures and policy regarding communication with its public.
- Coordination of communications programs.
- Developing rapport and good-will through a two-way communication process.
- Fostering a positive relationship between an organization and its public constituents.
Significance of PR in Business:-
As we understand that PR build company’s reputation, manage crisis and create the product identity. Therefore, to do this activity, PR has to mandate and work for news of companies to disseminate among public in the area of:-
- Product/Services/Concept/Company launches
- News of awards/recommendations and affiliations/prestigious recognition
- Inaugural functions/expansions/diversifications/financial results
- Foreign tie-ups/high value orders/joint venture collaboration
- New management/broad level appointments/key –business opportunities
- Philanthropic activity/corporate citizenship initiative/welfare schemes
- Exhibitions/workshops/contests/trade-fairs/buyer and seller meets/expositions.
- Apex associations/corporate organization meets.
- Crisis management/damage control exercise/Trade and industry problems.
Source: – Catalyst PR: 2013
Thus, today PR is more than writing an article about a company in print and social media. They are the people who practice the art of creating, communicating or promoting a goodwill and a favorable image among the public towards an institution or public body. It is a long-term initiative by a corporate to use PR strategies and techniques to achieve marketing objectives and company’s vision, mission, objective and goals. PR also build the image of an exercise to give them long-term benefits and it manages crisis in an organization effectively.
Many companies do not take seriously as a function of business or as a profession. US companies spend around $ 150 billion annually on advertising and only $ 5 billion on public relations, according to eMarketer.com and PRSA respectively. As per payscale.com report advertising professionals makeup to 75 % more than PR counterparts.
Arthur W. Page (1883-1960), the first PR man to serve on a board of directors of a major public company, offered the principle “Public perception of an organization is determined 90 percent by what it does and 10 percent by what it says.” All too often the PR department’s only been able to influence the 10 percent part.
There was a time when customer feedback used to come after the preliminary method of the interview such as focus groups, surveys, and customer support calls but today, it is available on social media instantly. The PR departments track their responses and do the changes in company’s policies and decisions after interaction with authorities and bring productive results.
Therefore, the time has finally come for public relations to measure its results, build strong relationships, scale its efforts and demand big budgets. PR is the strongest activity rather than advertising and business should use it properly to strengthen their existence in markets.
Few examples of successful PR Campaigns:-
1) Pepsi Brings Augmented Reality to the Movie Theater Bathroom
Pepsi used augmented reality with facial tracking technology for this horrifying Halloween goof. When people went to the bathroom, they were surprised to see their own faces change into scary clowns and other terrifying creatures. The video has been seen over 2 million times just on YouTube and received hundreds of PR mentions. Attaching the promotion to the brand’s hashtag #LiveforNow was one way they were able to reach a wider audience with the Halloween prank.
2) Google Joins the Fight Against Ebola
Google announced it would pledge $2 for every dollar donated through its website. They set up a specific URL, onetoday.google.com/fightebola, to explain this social initiative and invite people across the world to contribute. After the launch, when typing “Google Ebola campaign” into a search engine, over 22 million results were returned, including news, articles, and mentions of the fundraising campaign, which raised over $7 million to fight Ebola.
- A Case Study of Domino’s Pizza’s Crisis Communication Strategies: – http://cssc.uscannenberg.org/cases/v1/v1art6/)
- Mascarenhas Romeo S. (2016) – Corporate Communication & Public Relations published by Vipul Prakashan.
- Corporate Communication & Public Relations (2016) by Dr. Sanobar Hussaini published by Sheth Publishers Private Limited
- Fernandez Joseph (2004) – Corporate Communications A 21st Century Primer published by Response Books
- Cees B.M. van Riel and Charles J. Fombrun (2007)- Essentials of Corporate Communication published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group; London and New York
- Harvard Business School Press and The SHRM (2006) – The Essentials of Corporate Communications and Public Relations published by Harvard Business School Press.