Public Relations (PR)
Public relations as part of the marketing communications mix
Public Relations (PR) is a single, broad concept. It is broad since it contains so many elements, many of which will be outlined in this lesson. Public Relations (PR) are any purposeful communications between an organisation and its publics that aim to generate goodwill.
Publics, put simply, are its stakeholders. PR is proactive and future orientated, and has the goal of building and maintaining a positive perception of an organisation in the mind of its publics. This is often referred to as goodwill.
Yes it is difficult to see the difference between marketing communications and PR since there is a lot of crossover. This makes it a tricky concept to learn. Added to this is the fact that PR is often expensive, and not free, as some definitions would have you believe. PR agencies are not cheap. Below are some of the approaches that are often considered under the PR banner.
Interviews and photo-calls.
It is important that company executives are available to generate goodwill for their organisation. Many undertake training in how to deal with the media, and how to behave in front of a camera. There are many key industrial figures that proactively deal with the media in a positive way for example Bill Gates (Microsoft) or Richard Branson (Virgin). Interviews with the business or mass media often allow a company to put its own perspective on matters that could be misleading if simply left to dwell untended the public domain.
Speeches, presentations and speech writing.
Key figures from within an organisation will write speeches to be delivered at corporate events, public awards and industry gatherings. PR company officials in liaison with company managers often write speeches and design corporate presentations. They are part of the planned and coherent strategy to build goodwill with publics. Presentations can be designed and pre-prepared by PR companies, ultimately to be delivered by company executives.
Corporate literature e.g. financial reports.
Corporate literature includes financial reports, in-house magazines, brochures, catalogues, price lists and any other piece of corporate derived literature. They communicate with a variety of publics. For example, financial reports will be of great interest to investors and the stock market, since they give all sorts of indicators of the health of a business. A company Chief Executive Officer CEO will often write the forward to an annual financial report where he or she has the opportunity to put a business case to the reader. This is all part of Public Relations.