Public Relations (PR)
Public relations as part of the marketing communications mix
This has a direct business payoff. A more informal event could include a day at the races or a short-break abroad, where clients are wined and dined at the cost of a company, in order to generate goodwill. This has an indirect business payoff.
Sponsorship and charitable donations.
Sponsorship is where an organisation pays for their product or service to be associated with an activity or event. Organisations commonly sponsor sporting events and such as The Olympics, sporting stars and other celebrities, or medium, for example television programmes. The sponsors gain exposure, and also align their product or service with the attributes of the sport, celebrity or medium.
Many companies (often those in profit!) make donations to charities and good causes. When donations are publicised, again the benefits generate goodwill for the organisation. It should be noted here that Microsoft’s Bill Gates donates substantial amounts to good causes that are often not reported. This is true corporate philanthropy.
Corporate events are used to woo publics in both a formal and an informal manner. A formal corporate event could include a manufacturer inviting employees from all of its many distributors to visit its manufacturing plant for a training day.
Visits to a factory, such as a chocolate factory, or a facility, such as a nuclear power plant also generate a positive perception of an organisation. In the case of a factory visit, loyal customers or other interested parties can experience for themselves what is behind a well-known product. In the case of a nuclear power plant, concerned or misinformed publics have the chance to see for themselves what really occurs behind locked doors. Here the organisation has the chance to deal with a delicate topic in a planned proactive manner. Public buildings such as parliament buildings or churches would be included under facility visits.
Publicity events and ‘stunts.’
Publicity events fall under the banner of guerrilla marketing. Here an organisation will take the opportunity to seize upon a particular moment to hijack public attention. Publicity events and stunts are practiced by both companies and private bodies (including pressure and political groups). A famous example of a publicity stunt was one conducted by Fathers For Justice (a British pressure group for divorced fathers), whereby individuals, dressed as Superheroes, invaded Buckingham Palace in London.