Definition: Public relations is a strategical approach towards the creation of goodwill and brand image through developing a cordial relationship between the organization and its target audience. Every organization exists in a social, legal, political environment where it has to interact with different agencies and individuals.
Example; The fragrance brand Old Spice innovatively captured the attention of the public towards its new cologne product called Captain.
The company noticed that the strong smell which usually comes out of magazines does not appeal to the readers. Thus, the brand simply inserted a paper blazer within their published advertisement in the GQ magazine with a description of its benefit. It also humorously mentioned the drawback which was that the blazer could not be worn in the rainy weather.
The advertisement was a centre of attraction for the men since this particular product has a trendy masculine fragrance. This public relations and marketing strategy took the target audience including the media by storm.
Content: Public Relations
Importance of Public Relations
When a company is simply involved in manufacturing or buying of products and selling it with the aim of making some profit; What is the need for public relations? Why do companies invest so much in public relations practice? Why do they have a PR department? Why are the PR experts appointed?
To get the answers to the above questions, you must be aware of the need for public relations practice in business, so read below:
- Increases Awareness: The company and the PR department primarily focuses on spreading awareness by making people understand the product specifications and brand values.
- Creates Brand Image and Reputation: The company has a chance to improve its image and build up a reputation among the public through public relations practice.
- Develops Loyalty: The customers generate a loyalty factor for the brand because of an intense public relations practice. They tend to buy from the company repeatedly.
- Promotes Goodwill: In the long term, public relations practice paves the way for creating strong goodwill for the company.
- Builds Trust and Credibility: The repetitive brand promotion, done in a way to align the company’s objectives to those of the society and the target audience, develops trust and credibility among the public.
Types of Public Relations
Business communication leads to building up of strong relationships and healthy business practice.
Thus, the PR department and the PR experts are required to consider the following types of public relations for organizational growth:
- Media Relations: The PR department collects information from the press or media sources while maintaining cordial relations with them. This data is used by the company to plan its marketing strategies.
- Investor Relations: Investors are essential to the organization. Hence, the PR department keeps them informed, manages their events, releases financial reports and manages queries and complaints.
- Government Relations: Adherence to various government regulations like corporate social responsibility, employee welfare, consumer protection, fair trade practices, etc. builds an organization’s relationship with the government.
- Community Relations: Society plays a crucial role in deciding the company’s as well as the product’s future. An organization needs to create a positive image of the brand by supporting social practices like say no to child labour, child education, equality, environmental protection, etc.
- Internal Relations: Communicating with the employees and counselling them on their responsibilities, duties and actions helps in their better performance and long-term existence in the organization.
- Customer Relations: Interaction with the valued customers and potential consumers is necessary to know their feedback, suggestions, interest and priorities. This data is required to prepare further business related strategies.
- Marketing Communications: The company uses different marketing strategies like brand awareness program, product launch, marketing campaigns, product positioning, etc.
Functions of Public Relations
The organization appoints PR experts, and some of the big organizations even have a PR department, to enhance the company’s image, build goodwill and attract the investors, customers, media and other associates.
Following are the different ways in which a company performs public relations practice with the help of PR experts:
- Product Publicity: The company organizes brand and product promotion through sponsorships to gather customer’s attention.
- Press Relations: The company uses the press or the media to provide information about the product to the customers.
- Lobbying: The PR experts communicate with the government officials and the legal department to support the favourable regulations and defeat the unfavourable ones.
- In-House Journals: The brands launch their magazines and booklets to promote the products among the customers. It also publicizes the annual reports, newsletters, websites, brochures and annual reports to capture the target market.
- Corporate Communication: The PR department is continuously engaged in providing information about the product and the brand through internal and external communication.
- Special Events: The PR experts organize events such as charity event, promotional events or contests to capture the attention of the media.
- Public Service Activities: The companies often stand for social causes. They invest their time and money and ask their employees to support such causes. This indirectly enhances public relations in the organization.
- Counselling: At the time of product failure or poor performance, the PR department provides suggestions and advice to the management.
Models of Public Relations
Public relations theorist James Grunig and Todd Hunt proposed the four models of public relations in the year 1984. These models help us to understand better the various public relations practice based on communication and feedback.
Let us now study these models in detail:
- Press Agentry/Publicity: Under the Press Agentry model there is one-way communication. The PR expert tries to create a positive image of the company among the stakeholders, investors, employees and other associates. The feedback or suggestions are overlooked under this model.
- Public Information Model: This is again a one-way communication model where the information flows from the organization to the stakeholders, investors, employees and other associates. The relevant information is delivered through a recorded message, press release, video release, news, etc.
- Two Way Asymmetrical Model: This model represents imbalance communication among the sender and the receiver. The organization manipulate, influence and persuade its audience to believe in its product and behave accordingly. It is imbalanced due to the fewer efforts made on generating feedback from the public.
- Two way Symmetrical Model: The two-way symmetrical model is based on mutual understanding. It works on the strategy of conflict resolution to position the brand strongly among the target audience. The feedback of the stakeholders, investors, employees and other associates is taken seriously.
Only selling the products is not enough in today’s competitive environment where the consumers are in search of value addition. The consumers nowadays are more aware and appreciate the practice of informative and creative marketing. Therefore, companies are recently adopting social marketing strategies to enhance consumer satisfaction.