Effective Communication for Improving Public Relations
Public Relation is the name given to the function that is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships between clients or customers and an organization. Public Relationships through effective communications through areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations and crisis management is capable of creating interest trust and belief in a product or organization. Huge budgets are allocated and spent every year on advertising, yet with a budget much smaller than what is provided for advertising, Public Relations with the use of effective communication can generate goodwill and brand loyalty that bring in large revenues through the greater sales of services or products. Thus any fund outlay for increasing the effectiveness of communication in the Public Relations function is well spent and more than pays for itself in the maximizing of revenue generation. This will become clear as this paper one goes through this paper. (Public Relations across Cultures)
The use of Public Relations as a tool in the interests of an Organization has a history of about a hundred years. In its initial days it was seen more as a form of publicity. Only later was it realized that Public Relations implied more than this and as a result the definition came to be realized as that Public Relations assists any Organization and the public related to it to adapt mutually to each other. This means that research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation are an integral part of Public Relations. The components that go to make up Public Relations include making available advice to the management on what to do in regard to policies, relationships and communication, study of the public behavioral pattern and the reasons for them so that what needs to be done to influence or change these attitudes and behavior can be planned, implemented and measured. (PRSA TAMPA BAY- Public Relations: An Overview)
Additional components are relating to the audio and visual media in order to secure positive publicity for the Organization and spreading the strategically planned information through the required media to promote the interests of the Organization without recourse to payment. Reacting to concerns and keeping informed and motivated the families of the employees, members and retirees of an Organization. Chalking out and implementing a plan to involve the Organization and the community to develop it's environ to the benefit of both. Being actively present in the formulation of public policy and assisting the Organization to change to the expectation of the public. Interacting directly with legislatures and regulatory bodies and finding out what are the issues and concerns of the public that are likely to have an impact on the Organization and deciding what needs to be done about it. (PRSA TAMPA BAY- Public Relations: An Overview)
Putting in the required efforts to create and retain investor confidence and building the necessary relationships with the financial community. Interacting with the other concerns in the industry in which the Organization is active in and with the trade associations. Necessary action to create voluntary support of members, friends and supporters by showing them the needs of the Organization and interacting with the minority group members. Creating the required interest in an individual, product or firm by making use of events and also designing activities that will cause the Organization to give an ear to the public and interact with them and putting together all the elements that go towards making a product more appealing to the public. Thus we see the role of Public Relations is multifarious and spread through nearly all the functions of the organization.
The uses of Public Relations are many including that it acts as a bridge between an Organization and the public and serves to bring harmony in private and public policies. Public relations is a very useful function to a broad spectrum of institutions including businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary organizations, foundations, health-care units, educational and religious institutions as it helps them to meet their goals by effectively developing relationships with the required target of audiences in particular and society at large. The goals for achievement of many institutions are really shaped by the external environment and the managements need to understand what these are and what the requirement is. Public relations in such a situation perform the roles of counselor to the management as well as mediator and translate the private aims into a reasonable policy and action that is acceptable to the public. (PRSA TAMPA BAY- Public Relations: An Overview)
There are many organizations that make use of only advertising to create awareness in the public about themselves and get their support for their activities. Such organizations miss out on the huge potential, which Public relations have to bring in large profits. So it becomes necessary to differentiate between advertisement and Public Relations. In simple terms advertisement is any information about the business activity that is put out through newspapers, magazines, television and radio for which payment is made. This information but for certain limitations can be anything that the business may want to portray. This in itself is the advantage and disadvantage of advertisements. The public are aware that the aim of these advertisements is to sell something to them and quite often do look on the information provided with skepticism. On the contrary Public Relations depend on the innate value of the information provided about the business and benefits and unique situations to get the attention or the required coverage by the news media. (Effective Public Relations Builds Business)
When both Public Relations and advertisement pool their efforts together in a coordinated marketing program Public Relations activities generate interest with the use of information and education. Advertisement follows it up and builds on the impact of the initial information input of Public Relations. Experts in the field are in agreement that a mix of Public Relations and advertisement is the best for any business, but unfortunately in many cases there is neglect in utilizing the Public Relations part of the mix. There are four areas of Public Relations that provide very good potential for businesses. These are publicity, speaking engagements and seminars, participation and sponsorships, and publications. Publicity is whereby the business gets into the news media without payment. This can be achieved by creating interest in the media by providing information that is unique, different, interesting and unusual about the organization- In short, making the information news worth. (Effective Public Relations Builds Business)
The value of publicity is that it appears with other news items as a part of the news. This endorsement received from the media makes the information more credible in the eyes of the public when compared to an advertisement. Speaking assignments at seminars that are sponsored by the Organization or making presentations at regional or national level events where customers that are your targeted audience are likely to gather provides an excellent opportunity for Public relations to demonstrate its utility. Such events and activity allow fort dissemination of information to customers on the use of the products or how to use them better and so on and so forth. These events provide an opportunity for greater exposure for the Organization and that too with credibility. Participation and sponsorships requires the involvement in community activities. Membership in the local volunteer boards or committees of industry or donating money to an event or activity that has a connection to the business activity of the Organization all form part of the activities connected with public Relations. The key here is to discern exactly where the time money and effort should be expended for getting the maximum positive results. When this is done correctly the benefits to the Organization are huge.
Publications like newsletters either as a hard copy or e-mail provide the opportunity of communicating with customers. In these communications reminders of the products or services offered can be provided. These days it is very easy to produce eye-catching publications on a desktop PC for dissemination to the public. One common thread in all these four activities of Public Relations is that each one requires the identification of the customers and their interests. Just acting on each of these by itself brings the organization closer to its customers. Such activities if done properly help to interact with customers outside the specific activity of the Organization and also gives the opportunity to influence existing and future customers in a manner that the usual business channels do not. Public Relations with its use of effective communication, thus is an addition to the marketing activities and when combined with advertising provides the necessary thrust to reach different customers in many valuable ways. (Effective Public Relations Builds Business)
Let us look at how effective communication in Public Relations helped Johnson and Johnson offset the negative fallout of the Tylenol Crisis. Tylenol was the largest sold painkiller in the U.S. market having a market share of 37% prior to the crisis and contributed 19% to the corporate profits of Johnson and…