After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning and Definitions of Public Relations 2. Objectives of Public Relations 3. Necessity 4. Essentials 5. Public Relations is not a Propaganda, Publicity or Advertisement 6. Tools 7. Media 8. Public Relations and Marketing 9. Applications.
Meaning and Definitions of Public Relations:
The Public Relations function is now-a-days gaining importance and is now increasingly recognised. Public relations now embraces virtually every branch of human activity—whether it is promotion of products or image building for individuals, corporate bodies, governments and even political parties—who wish to project their activities or achievements or policies.
The purpose of public relations practice is to establish a two-way communication to resolve conflicts of interest by seeking common ground or areas of mutual interest, and to establish understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information. The scale of activity to promote good public relations may vary considerably according to the size and nature of interest of parties.
Public relations programme is designed to influence understanding or to improve relations between a company and its customers, agents and employees.
(i) Public relations practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its public.
(ii) Public relations is the professional attempt to achieve good public relations in order to promote the success or welfare of the company, organisation or individual on whose behalf the public relations effort is made.
(iii) Public relations in an art and science of developing reciprocal understanding and goodwill.
(iv) Promotion of rapport and goodwill for a person, firm or institution.
(v) Establishing a bond of relationship and contacts between two groups of public.
(v) Seeks to influence, solicit, or mobilize support for an idea, a cause, a problem, an institution, or an individual through communication and persuasion.
(vi) It evaluates public attitude, identifies the policies of an organisation with public interest and executes programmes for communication.
Objectives of Public Relations:
(i) To establish contact with three important sections of the public: its customers, its stockholders and its employees, for securing the mutual understanding and co-operation of these three groups is essential to success.
(ii) To promote the company’s services and products in a highly competitive world.
Necessity of Public Relations:
(i) Effective public relations can win people to a certain cause or a programme. Public relations can motivate people to buy a certain product or service.
(ii) Good public relations attracts the right type of people to the organisation as its employees.
(iii) It can encourage investment from the public.
(iv) Public relations is needed for getting right policy and good performance appreciated.
(v) Money spent on public relations is a good investment.
Essentials of Good Public Relations:
(i) Public Relations (PR) man should have a thorough knowledge of the organisation. He should also be well versed in PR techniques.
(ii) PR man must have confidence of the management.
(iii) Well-thought-out public relations programme must be drown up on a long-term basis, keeping in view the corporate objectives of the organisation.
(iv) Use of all techniques be adopted such as house journals, manuals, hand-books, advertising, display and exhibits, motion pictures and slider, meetings, conducted tours, posters, brochures, play-cards, stickers, outdoor signs etc.
(v) PR men have to keep the confidence of news media—press, radio and T.V. by providing correct and timely informations.
Public Relations is not a Propaganda, Publicity or Advertisement:
(i) Propaganda is an organised effort to propagate an idea or a cause, and may not have an ethical content. It is persuasion, based on self-interest.
(ii) Publicity is concerned with dissenmination of information about an organisation to attract attention or publicise products or activities.
(iii) Campaigns consist of concerted, single purpose publicity programmes, usually on a more or less elaborate scale, employing coordinated publicity through a variety of media.
(iv) Advertising is buying a space in print or time in Air i.e. radio or TV, for the purpose of promoting the sales of products, acceptance of ideas or to earn goodwill. It is merely a means of communication.
(v) Public Relations on the contrary is a much wider term, and includes several other things. It is both an art and science. PR programmes are aimed to promote mutual understanding between an organisation and all those with whom it comes into contact both within and outside the organisation to project its image, and to eliminate all sources of misunderstanding.
Tools of Public Relations:
Communication is an important tool of public relations. Following principles help in good PR:
(i) Speaking at meetings, conferences, luncheons should be well planned and well thought of. One should speak exactly what he thinks, for this purpose best method is to prepare notes in advance.
(ii) Have good telephone manners.
(iii) Writing letters etc. in a good language.
Relations with customers largely depend on quality, price and delivery times, but it has direct bearing of the reputation of the company. PR can play a vital role in safeguarding the reputation or in building up a new ‘public image’.
In the past, sending out the annual accounts and balance sheet was the only contact between a company and its stockholders. Although it is a statutory requirement, but it has little affect on relations.
Now-a-days companies make other efforts also to keep in touch with their stockholders e.g. by inviting them to film shows, sending them copies of house journals, inviting them on factory visits etc. Annual general meeting can be made a public relations occasions instead of mere formality.
Internal public relations are very important, as it encourages employees to make their maximum contribution to productivity and the prosperity of the company. The field includes personnel welfare, labour relations and education etc. It can initiate suggestions schemes, safety campaigns, effective communication; reduce waste, carelessness and absenteeism.
For any establishment be it government, business, industry or even religion, there is no such thing as a single public.
The public may be:
(iv) Wholesale and retail trade customers
(v) Consumer customers
(vi) Other companies in the same industry, and the firm’s own trade association.
(vii) Communities in which the company operates.
Media for Public Relations:
1. Newspapers and magazines
2. Technical and trade publication
3. Company publications and promotional material including house journals, brochures
4. Exhibition and displays
5. Good spoken words
6. Good speech
7. Handouts, pamphlets, booklets, manuals, books
8. Letters, news letters
9. Audio-visual aids
Public Relations and Marketing:
Effective Marketing is not possible without having a successful public relations policy. Heads of both the departments should coordinate and cooperate for better results. Customer satisfaction is the foundation upon which lasting good market relationships and lasting business successes are built.
In order to create public respect, a company must put the customer first in every decision affecting the operation of the business. Thus, the very base of both the concepts of public relations and marketing is to satisfy customer need.
Applications of Public Relations:
Main applications of public relations practice are:
(i) Achieve goodwill – Arousing and maintaining goodwill and public interest in the activities of an organisation for helping the successful operation and expansion of these activities.
(ii) Safeguard Reputation
(iii) Improve Internal Relationships