Public Relation Essay

  • Public Relation

    Public Relation

    What Is Public Relations?
    “Public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes and
    maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and the various
    publics on whom its success or failure depends” - Scott Cutlip

    Public relations, byname PR, is an aspect of communications involving the relations
    between an entity subject, to, or seeking public attention of the various publics that
    are, or may be interested in it. The entity seeking attention may be a business
    corporation, an individual politician, a performer or author, a government or government
    agency, a charitable organisation, a religious body, or almost any other person or
    organisation. The publics may include segments as narrow as female voters of a particular
    political party who are between 35 and 50 years of age or the shareholders in a particular
    corporation; or the publics may be as broad as any national population or the world at
    large. The concerns of public relations operate both ways between the subject entity,
    which may be thought of as the client, and the publics involved. The important elements of
    public relations are to acquaint the client with the public conceptions of the client and
    to affect these perceptions by focusing, curtailing, amplifying, or augmenting information
    about the client as it is conveyed to the publics.

  • Public relations encompasses a variety of marketing activities that strengthen
    organisations credibility, enhance organisations image and develop goodwill. These are
    usually targeted directly at an audience, such as speeches, special events, newsletters,
    and annual reports. A public relation involves communicating who you are, what you do, why
    you do it, and how you make a difference.

    The difference between publicity and public relations
    The term’s public relations and publicity are often misused. They are not
    interchangeable. Publicity is only one function of public relations. It is media coverage
    i.e. news stories, feature articles, talk show interviews, editorials and reviews. Other
    commonly confused terms are publicity and advertising. The key distinction is you pay for
    advertising. Because publicity is free, it is more credible and more likely to have an
    impact on the reader or viewer. Advertising is generally not considered a public relations

    According to the Public Relations Institute of America: Public relations is the
    deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain understanding between
    an organisation and its public (Malan and L'Estrange, 1981).

    PR is a broad and complex activity although its basic objective is simple: to communicate
    in order to achieve understanding through knowledge. Consequently, PR exists, liked or
    not, and all modern organisations, because of their size and complexity, need and are
  • concerned with PR. Good PR with the conscious effort to inform and be informed provides
    knowledge, understanding, goodwill and a good reputation. PR exists to keep institutions
    alert to an ever-shifting environment of circumstance and public opinion.

    PR is an on-going activity, hence the word sustained in the definition. It must anticipate
    problems and eliminate causes before problems arise. It is not there to rescue an
    operation or to apologise for it (Malan and L'Estrange, 1981). PR is essentially concerned
    with communication: between people, between people and organisations and within and
    between organisations.

    Activities and Methods
    Public relations activities in the modern world help institutions to cope successfully
    with many problems, to build prestige for an individual or a group, to promote products,
    and to win elections or legislative battles. The majority of public relations workers are
    staff employees working within a corporate or institutional framework. Others operate in
    public relations counselling firms.

    In industry, public relations personnel keep management informed of changes in the
    opinions of various publics (that is, the groups of people whose support is needed):
    employees, stockholders, customers, suppliers, dealers, the community, and government.
    These professionals counsel management as to the impact of any action—or lack of
    action—on the behaviour of the target audiences. Once an organisational decision has
  • been made, the public relations person has the task of communicating this information to
    the public using methods that foster understanding, consent, and desired behaviour. For
    example, a hospital merger, an industrial plant closing, or the introductions of a new
    product all require public relations planning and skill.

    Public relations also play an important role in the entertainment industry. The theatre,
    motion pictures, sports, restaurants, and individuals all use public relations services to
    increase their business or enhance their image. Other public relations clients are
    educational, social service, and charitable institutions, trade unions, religious groups,
    and professional societies.

    The successful public relations practitioner is a specialist in communication arts and
    persuasion. The work involves various functions including the following:

    1. programming—that is, analysing problems and opportunities, defining goals,
    determining the public to be reached, and recommending and planning activities;

    2. writing and editing materials such as press releases, speeches, stockholder reports,
    product information, and employee publications;

    3. placing information in the most advantageous way;
    4. organising special events such as press functions, award programs, exhibits, and displays;

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