Public relations serves many kinds of institutions, different businesses, trade unions, voluntary associations and groups, government agencies, foundations, schools, religious institutions and so on.
So we could separate the following functions of public relations:
- Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting the public attitudes, opinion and matters that might influence either positively or negatively the plans and work of the organizations.
- Management of all levels of organization, taking into account policy decisions, ways of actions, communications, the social responsibilities of the organization.
- Constantly researching and evaluating the programs for action and communication in order to present the facts to the public so that they are easily understood and thus the main aims of the organization should be achieved.
- Planning and implementing the directions in order either to influence or to change the public policy. This includes as well all the necessary steps to achieve it such as for example: planning the budget, recruiting and training the staff, developing facilities and managing the existing resources.
2. Starting with the very terms we should note that public – defines people interested in issue, but public can be sometimes referred as stakeholders as well, but at any rate stakeholders have more direct stake in the issue. Stake or interest of people could be based on many things, for example personal values, the economic situation as so on. The involvement of public or stakeholders is necessary in cases when it is necessary to take some kind of decision, which will influence the life of many other people as well. Public involvement could be more concentrated upon the common needs, whereas the stakeholders have their own interest in solving some issues as well.
It is hard to say which relations are more important as both stakeholders and public relations play vital roles. They usually call for different skills and strategies but they can be sometimes used together simultaneously. Sometimes stakeholder and public relations are in conflict.
3. There are two major public relations objectives:
- Awareness/informational objectives – they are rather common and easy public relations objectives that can be achieved, but it is rather difficult to measure them;
- Motivational objectives – they are not so easy to achieve, but on the other hand they are also easier to measure, they are “bottom-line” oriented and based on some clear results. It is easy to see the behavior than cognitive effects, but it is not so easy to prompt it.
Objectives are to be clearly formulated, for example it is useless to say “to increase awareness” or “to change attitude”, the way it is supposed to be done and by whom it is to be included in these objectives. These are the main points that are to be taken into consideration when managing the public relations objectives. Special events could be of a great help in some individual or particular cases, as although the objectives of public relations stay the same the situation might be different depending upon the public attitude to the matter or upon the general atmosphere. Special events should be included into planning as well in order to influence or change the public policy in the correct direction.
4. Fame is usually considered to be a good force for commerce. In order to make goods or services more attractive and better accepted by the audience famous individuals or their names or their voices are used. This practice was invented in the nineteenth century already. In order to take the attention of the potential customers and buyers from the rivals many advertisers and merchandisers use it by entering into sponsorship arrangements. The names and personal profiles of actors, singers, and sportsmen and so on are widely used. This explains why individual’s public reputation is really important for entertainment and sports spheres as well. Most people pay great attention to sports, and are even real fans of some certain kinds of sports, no wonder, that the reputation of sports stars is important.
5. There are some special ways of implementing public relations and promotional activities for small business. The main goal is to attract customers and to make your business noticeable. There are a great number of events that can be connected with small business promotions, such as open houses, educational seminars, and sport events and so on. The scheme to develop the successful promotion starts with setting some clear goals for the event. Then the target audience is to be carefully selected. There should be an in-house coordinator for the event. Some of your business partners could be a great support. Public relations could help a businessman to develop the presentation of his services or products in the appropriate light, to successfully attract the necessary audience, to think over the future plans and possible development of his business. The proper public presentation could also help to surpass the rivals, as there are enough of them for small businesses.
6. Usually journalists do not like to make copies of press releases as they state that this is a wrong judgement. Public relations professionals think that their press releases help journalists, but they certainly leave journalists the choice to decide whether the material verbatim provides the correct information and the real story or it doesn’t. People busy with public relations are usually more concerned with the opinion that the journalists have about them, journalists in their turn seem to care not really much about the attitude of the public relations builders, they are interested more in the material they were writing about. The work of journalists and public relations builders is still different as the main goal of the journalist is to present the material in the true-to-life light and the main aim of people engaged in public relations is to take care of the reaction of public upon the presented material.
7. “A written statement which is distributed with the help of media is usually called a press release. – The text is usually written in a form of news story, the headline should be eye- catching and the text itself is written in the so-called inverted pyramid style. The people practicing public relations write releases that “encourage as much lifting as possible” (Arp, 2000, pp. 2-6). It is important that a media release could inform people about some news and be relevant to the media organisation. Also, the date of release and name of organization are important elements. The Internet brought the new sort of press release called optimized press release. This version is presented not only for journalists, but for all people visiting online news portals. Most specialists are supporting the point of view that public relations skills are to adapt, no matter what is going on with print media.
8. “Now more than ever, the ethics, morality, and judgment of the mass media are on our collective mind… And we all talk knowingly of the “spin” that public relations efforts put on everything from disaster relief to breakfast cereal.” (Edelman & Hirshberg, 2006). Most of the techniques that public relations firms use are taken from the institutions and practices of democracy. The legal decision is the decision which corresponds to the laws and rules and the ethical decision has to do with another type of rules, which are not actually always supported by laws and thus their carrying-out depends mostly upon the person and his views. The main difference between legal and ethical decisions lies in the fact that not all legal decisions are ethical and people should not manipulate any legal points if they are in reality not ethically correct.
9. It would be next to impossible for the people practicing public relations to cope with their professions, achieve their goals, work out the techniques for their work, if they had no access to scholarly researches. Within the last 30 years the specialists in public relations In the United States and in the whole world were developing the comprehensive theory of public relations and actually made public relations parts of such important professions like medicine, law and education. The International Association of Business Communicators Research Foundation provides funds for the researches made by public relations departments. So, it is not possible to developed a good public relations company without knowing the basic facts related to the issue it touches upon, it is not possible to concentrate on the most important moments and to underline the most outstanding problems if the preliminary thorough research was not conducted.
10. As time passes public relations develop from having simply technical communication functions to having management functions. Public relations are nowadays less concentrated only on the mass media and they become global instead of being confined to the national borders of one company only. The successful work of the company is certainly connected with its customers and business relations with other companies, exactly for development of these spheres public relations do play their vital role. Reputation, profitability of the company and even its continued existence can depend on the degree to which its targeted “publics” supported the goals and policies of the organization. These are the main reasons they play such an important role for the global success of an organization.
Solving Pr’s Identity Crisis Could Unlock Our Potential, Matthew S. Zimmerman, 1998, pp. 14-32
Public Relations Unscrambled, Ron Arp, 2000, pp. 2-6
The Difference Between Public Relations And Stakeholder Communication, Anna Haynes, Peter Sandman, 2003, pp.1-10
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Public Relations Specialists
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