Public relations is the process and practice of maintaining and managing an organization or individual’s image professionally. This is done in order to correct or affect the perception the public holds about the perception held about the organization or individual by the public. PR basically involves managing the outflow of communication from a company in such a way that the desired perception of a company is created in the minds of parties external to the company.
Public relations can be used during times of crisis and non-crisis periods as well because the role of public relations constantly undergoes changes. It has become a vital aspect of a company’s product promotion efforts though it is fundamentally different from publicity. PR is deployed in firms of all sizes from small manufacturing companies to multinational corporations alike.
Regardless of where PR is deployed, its purpose remains the same; to maintain the image and relationship of organizations with the people that matter most, the customers. Having a public relation department is now a widespread practice among organizations of different sizes in today’s era of globalization and instant communication as monitoring the view and perception of customers and stakeholders has become vital to success.
Protecting and promoting an organization’s image are two areas of emphasis for public relations though there’s a wider range of activities in PR. The management, dissemination and communication of vital organizational information to stakeholders is important to preventing a buildup of negative public perception and publicity attributable to unethical business strategies.
Elements of Public Relations
Public relations is ever-evolving and anything but predictable. Individuals communicate differently and so do organizations too but some elements of public relations are generally incorporated.
● Press Relations: The Press still remains a crucial way for brands and their representatives to disseminate crucial information to stakeholders and mold their brand image as desired with the information they release to the press.
● Product Publicity: Product launches, fundraisers, and events are some of the avenues through which this is done. These events are organized to raise awareness for a brand’s products and also build the image of the brand.
● Timely Communication: Organizations must create timely and effective communication with stakeholders through media channels. This facilitates the creation and molding of the organization’s mission in the minds of customers and stakeholders alike. Brands get to choose between internal and external communication channels.
● Counseling: Counseling is an element of PR that involves proffering advice to a company’s decision-makers regarding public issues and their stance or lack of on them.
Traditionally, Publicity and Public Relations were the same and served the same purpose. That isn’t the case anymore today as the role of PR has expanded beyond publicity. There is now an emphasis on establishing functional mutual relations with the public rather than the one-directional approach of publicity.