“PR is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. PR is the discipline, which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.” The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR, 2013).
Even though this definition is clear and does not have space for ambiguity, almost everyone has their own idea of what public relations is all about.
Source by Max bolton
Most of the time those people have the misconception that Public Relations (PR) is just about spinning, parties, and travelling around the world with celebrities or political personalities. However, in reality Public Relations could not be more opposite.The PR profession involves an ample range of roles and responsibilities that are ignored. While correcting every misunderstanding about PR would be impossible, it is every PR practitioner’s duty to ensure people understand the value that PR can add. It is also important to enforce the reality that PR is a crucial part of the entire marketing strategy, and cannot function independently.
The origin of public relations goes back to the beginnings of civilization. Human always, anytime, and anywhere, expressed the need to communicate with other human beings and this has since been perfected. It is known that the primitive art of this discipline was developed in the field of political science. Indeed, when humans began to perceive that there were other more effective methods than force to convince others, was when the foundations of public relations took root.
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Public relations career, in my opinion was created because a variety of organizations could not do without it; they recognized that the understanding and acceptance among its main constituent elements were prerequisites for survival. They accepted the concept of performance and behaviour, along with communication and interpretation as equal to reputation. They recognized the fact, that at some point this combination is a need for specialists with specific skills.
The essence of public relations is informing and persuading the public through newspapers, radio, television and the web. It is the work to build long-term relationships among individuals and institutions and create effective communication between an organisation, person, or product and its target audience. In simple words, the role of a PR professional is to find the stories within a business and to provide these stories to the media at the right time, in the best way possible.
Public Relation in Action
According to the University of North Carolina, there are three general kinds of PR activities:
- Publicity. Focuses on managing and promoting the relationship between the company and its customers and the general public.
- Event management. Focuses on creation, development and promotion events such as product launches, press conferences, corporate meetings, etc.
- Publication design. Involves conception, writing, layout and production of a wide variety of presentation media including promotional, brochures, manuals, flyers, websites, logotypes, branded packaging and so on.
Characteristic of a PR Professional
To be successful in the world of public relations, there are certain essential characteristics that one must possess to fight adversity, capitalize opportunities, maintain a positive image, and build strategy.
- Ability to use the language correctly. High quality writing helps communicate client messages, but also conveys professionalism to both clients and the press.
- Relationship builder, in PR, relationships are everything. A PR person must understand that the market is a conversation, and that building and maintaining healthy relationships is the foundation of any strategy.
- Active listening. Part of the job as a PR professional is to “fix” things. PR professional can more effectively serve their clients if they listen to what the customers, media, influencers, analysts, employees, and community are saying. Being attentive to their message, and providing thoughtful feedback.
- Value truth and transparency. Today, audiences are not only global they’re also connected 24 hours a day. We are inundated with information through various channels and it is very easy to notice when someone is not telling the truth. For public relations professionals, truth can define a career, a client relationship, and certainly the level of audience engagement.
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Credibility is preceded by trust. The efforts to increase trust would also benefit source credibility of PR practitioners and the organizations they serve. However, trust has also been tied to the deeper function of building relationships, where communication and credibility are also essential.
Public Relations and Marketing
Marketing and public relations are similar in that both use all available communication tools (advertising, publicity, direct and relationship marketing, etc.) depending on their objectives. The difference is in the level of the objectives of each.
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The main objective for marketing is to reach consumers and make them believe and purchase one product or service. Essentially it focuses its strategy on selling one product or service. While public relations is more about promoting the images of the company or brand through positively managing the communication channels. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through an effective PR strategy.
Despite the misconception people often have about public relations, its role is crucial because every one wants to express and retain their own nature. Messages can have a global impact—their integrity must be preserved during transmission, and that is where PR professionals will have to prove their value, in the organization and in society.