Public Relation is often confused with advertising. It is, however, a distinct branch of communication and involves informing and educating the public about the activities or philosophy of an organisation. Some companies have their own PR departments, while others appoint consultants or agencies specializing in the job. The keyword is communicating the company’s point of view to various target groups, in an effective manner so that a favorable impression is formed. PR is, thus, a powerful management function and a serious business activity. It does not mean merely building relations with different groups.
Meaning of Public:
The word public refers to any group of people sharing a common interest. The people are a group of community or nation. In other words, public is a group of similar individuals and assortment of persons having same interests, problems, circumstances or goals.
Public Relations: What is it?
In the context of what has been explained, it is quite obvious that there are human elements involved in public relations. By integration of these two human elements, i.e. public and relations, we get public relations. It is a profession forming a part and parcel of the management functions.
Public Relations is referred to as building good relations with the company’s various publics by obtaining favorable publicity, building up a good “corporate image,” and handling or heading off unfavorable rumors, stories, and events.
Public relations (PR) involves a variety of programs designed to promote or protect a company’s image or its individual products.
Role of Public Relations
The following are the main roles of Public Relations:
- Public relations help our complex, pluralistic society to reach decisions and function more effectively by contributing to mutual understanding among groups and institutions. It serves to bring private and public policies into harmony.
- The managements of institutions need to understand the attitudes and values of their publics in order to achieve institutional goals. The goals themselves are shaped by external environment. The public relations practitioner acts as a counselor to management and as a mediator, helping translate private aims into reasonable, publicly acceptable policy and action.
- In helping to define and implement policy, the public relations practitioner uses variety of professional communications skills and plays an integrative role both within the organization and between the organization and the external environment.
Benefits of Public Relations
1. PR ensures favorable image of an organization
Prestige or ‘favourable image’ and its benefits the familiarialty and reputation of its name are among the greatest assets of any organization – whether it deals directly with the public or not. Everyone is influenced by Reputation because reputation in industry can rarely be one without true accomplishments.
2. Promotion of products and services
It can be done by telling people about products and interesting them, in purchasing requires more than advertising efforts. People’s tastes and desires are developed by the unobtrusive influences by them. These unobtrusive, non-selling influences have an immeasurable effect on their desire to buy.
3. Determining the organization’s posture in dealing with its publics
Increasing sophistication had modified how organizations have approached their relations with various groups. There are 3 major conceptions of that role:
- To master the publics; to direct what they think and do, according to the desires of the organization involved
- To block; to react to developments and problems, to respond to events or the initiatives of others by blunting them
- To achieve mutual adaptation; to develop relations of mutual benefits all parties involved
In the present human climate, achieving mutual adaptation, has become the most widely taken course.
4. Fostering Goodwill
It is very important in fostering the goodwill of the following:
- The employees
- Communities in which the organization has units
- Rest of the industry
5. Helps in building Brands
Building Brands becomes easy when proper public relations exist. Brand vitality and brand credibility follow. This can be concluded from a national poll of brand managers. The brand managers have given authentication that public relation is the most effectual way to institute brand credibility. Maximum utility can be derived on every marketing rupee spend. More than half the voters i.e., brand managers regard that, PR are more imperatively judged against advertising, sales promotion and new media. PR paves the path for effective communications discipline though the editorial context cannot be put aside. PR is the best way to gather third party endorsements according to brand managers. The survey clearly states that PR is a valued marketing partner in building brand equity. Probably the return earned on the marketing rupee spent makes the brand managers, give more importance to public relations.
6. Prevention and Solution of Labour Problems
Public Relations can assist in stabilizing labor conditions through employee relations activities. The use of public relations as a labour stabilizing aid is preventive as well as curative and it’s most beneficial when it is carried on continuously rather than only when strike clouds appear.
7. Overcoming Misconceptions and Prejudices
Now these misconceptions, and prejudices, may exist because misinformation has been spread also threaten the success of business. Analysis of the situation, plans for meeting it, and the dissemination of correct information can clear up these difficulties
8. Ability to attract the Best Personnel
No organization’s future is any better than the caliber of future executives it is able to attract. Making a company or organization known and respected is necessary to assure its healthful development.
9. Education of the Public to the use of a product
When an entirely new service or product is to be promoted, it is necessary to capture the imagination of the public in order to make the item attain steady sales. When a company brings out a new type of product, public relations must support advertising and the sales staff in capturing the public’s imagination.
10. Education of the Public to appoint a view
When an organization seeks to win support for its method of operation, its principles, the system that supports it, or any other viewpoint, its most effective means are the channels of teaching the public that are constant being utilized by Public relations people
11. Dealing with Emergencies.
Now, this point has three main phases:
- Monitoring whatever may cause unexpected difficulties for the organization
- Preparing for meeting the full range of such emergencies
- Actual handling of matters when there is an emergency
12. Public Relation is a bridge to change
Directing the course of change at its best, public relations is a bridge to change. It is a means to adjust to new attitudes that have been caused by change. It is a means of stimulating attitudes in order to create change. It provides judgment creativity and skills in accommodating changing groups to each other.
13. Altering Misconceptions
In India some PR agencies and independent consultants are doing just that.
An example of an advertising management would be when pictures of Pepsi bottles with fungus in them were splashed in newspaper, their agency, Perfect Relations launched an intensive media awareness campaign with the misinformation in the media. How did they do this? They highlighted that 40 percent of Pepsi bottled in India was spurious, established that the bottle reproduced in newspapers was not an original one, and then suggested Government needed to take a firm stand on enforcing laws against spurious manufacturers of consumables.What happened in the end was that many illicit plants were raided and closed down, Pepsi emerged as the aggrieved party and the case was diminished.
14. Issues and Perception Management
The Issues Management departments of companies or of consultancies today have become a part of a total system of anticipative Public Relations. A fair amount of research has to be done by the communications department to be able to track issues that could affect companies in the long run.
Thus, Public Relation plays a very important role in ensuring the overall success of an enterprise and, thus, must be implemented in every organization.