Public relations (PR) is nothing but the practice of protecting as well as enhancing the reputation of any particular organization/firm or for that matter any individual. In today’s world of fierce competition, where every organization strives hard to work toward its brand image, public relations has become the need of the hour. It is essential for every organization to communicate well with its public/target audience. The correct flow of information is essential. Here comes the importance of public relations.
What is Public Relations ?
The practice of maintaining a healthy relationship between organization and its public/employees/stakeholders/investors/partners is called public relations. Public relation activities ensure the correct flow of information between the organization and its public also called its target audience. Public relations goes a long way in maintaining the brand image of an organization in the eyes of its audience, stake holders, investors and all others who are associated with it.
For schools, the target audience would be students and their parents/guardians, for retailers the target audience would be customers and so on.
In the above examples, Public Relations ensures a smooth two way communication between the school authorities and its target audiences (students and their parents).Retailers must address their customers well for a positive word of mouth and a strong brand positioning. It is really important to create a positive image of any particular brand in the minds of consumers for it do well. Public relations experts not only help in the flow of information from the organization to its public but also from the public to the organization.(Two way communication).The flow of information from the public to the organization is generally in the form of reviews, feedback(positive/negative),appreciation and so on. Public relations strengthens the relationship between the organization and its target audience, employees, stakeholders, investors etc.
Public Relation Activities
Here are some ways of enhancing an organization’s brand image:
- Addressing the media
- Speaking at various press conferences, seminars.
- Advertisements to correctly position the brand, Pamphlets, Brochures, magazines notices, newsletters and so on.
- Corporate Social responsibility (CSR Activities)
- Introducing various loyalty schemes for customers like membership cards, premium clubs so as to retain the customers.
- Various events, shows and activities.
Effective Public Relations
Public Relations is said to be effective under all the below circumstances:
- Awareness: To create a positive image of an organization, the message must reach the public. Information must reach in its desired form for effective public relation.
- Acceptance: The audience must understand what the message intends to communicate. They ought to agree with the message.
- Action: The audience ought to give feedback to the organization accordingly.
To conclude public relations is nothing but an effort to present one’s organization in the best light.
Types of Public Relations
According to the functions of the public relations department/agencies, public relations can be divided into 7 types. These are:
(i) Media Relations: Establishing a good relationship with the media organizations and acting as their content source.
(ii) Investor Relations: Handling investors events, releasing financial reports and regulatory filings, and handling investors, analysts and media queries and complaints.
(iii) Government Relations: Representing the brand to the government with regard to fulfilment of policies like corporate social responsibility, fair competition, consumer protection, employee protection, etc.
(iv) Community Relations: Handling the social aspect of the brand and establishing a positive reputation in the social niche like environment protection, education, etc.
(v) Internal Relations: Counselling the employees of the organization with regard to policies, course of action, organization’s responsibility and their responsibility. Cooperating with them during special product launches and events.
(vi) Customer Relations: Handling relationships with the target market and lead consumers. Conducting market research to know more about interests, attitudes, and priorities of the customers and crafting strategies to influence the same using earned media.
(vii) Marketing Communications: Supporting marketing efforts relating to product launch, special campaigns, brand awareness, image, and positioning.