Public Relation

What Is Public Relations?
“Public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends” - Scott Cutlip
Public relations, byname PR, is an aspect of communications involving the relations between an entity subject, to, or seeking public attention of the various publics that are, or may be interested in it. The entity seeking attention may be a business corporation, an individual politician, a performer or author, a government or government agency, a charitable organisation, a religious body, or almost any other person or organisation. The publics may include segments as narrow as female voters of a particular political party who are between 35 and 50 years of age or the shareholders in a particular corporation; or the publics may be as broad as any national population or the world at large. The concerns of public relations operate both ways between the subject entity, which may be thought of as the client, and the publics involved. The important elements of public relations are to acquaint the client with the public conceptions of the client and to affect these perceptions by focusing, curtailing, amplifying, or augmenting information about the client as it is conveyed to the publics.
Public relations encompasses a variety of marketing activities that strengthen organisations credibility, enhance organisations image and develop goodwill. These are usually targeted directly at an audience, such as speeches, special events, newsletters, and annual reports. A public relation involves communicating who you are, what you do, why you do it, and how you make a difference.
The difference between publicity and public relations
The term’s public relations and publicity are often misused. They are not interchangeable. Publicity is only one function of public relations. It is media coverage i.e. news stories, feature articles, talk show interviews, editorials and reviews. Other commonly confused terms are publicity and advertising. The key distinction is you pay for advertising. Because publicity is free, it is more credible and more likely to have an impact on the reader or viewer. Advertising is generally not considered a public relations function.
According to the Public Relations Institute of America: Public relations is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain understanding between an organisation and its public (Malan and L'Estrange, 1981).
PR is a broad and complex activity although its basic objective is simple: to communicate in order to achieve understanding through knowledge. Consequently, PR exists, liked or not, and all modern organisations, because of their size and complexity, need and are concerned with PR. Good PR with the conscious effort to inform and be informed provides knowledge, understanding, goodwill and a good reputation. PR exists to keep institutions alert to an ever-shifting environment of circumstance and public opinion.
PR is an on-going activity, hence the word sustained in the definition. It must anticipate problems and eliminate causes before problems arise. It is not there to rescue an operation or to apologise for it (Malan and L'Estrange, 1981). PR is essentially concerned with communication: between people, between people and organisations and within and between organisations.
Activities and Methods
Public relations activities in the modern world help institutions to cope successfully with many problems, to build prestige for an individual or a group, to promote products, and to win elections or legislative battles. The majority of public relations workers are staff employees working within a corporate or institutional framework. Others operate in public relations counselling firms.
In industry, public relations personnel keep management informed of changes in the opinions of various publics (that is, the groups of people whose support is needed): employees, stockholders, customers, suppliers, dealers, the community, and government. These professionals counsel management as to the impact of any action—or lack of action—on the behaviour of the target audiences. Once an organisational decision has been made, the public relations person has the task of communicating this information to the public using methods that foster understanding, consent, and desired behaviour. For example, a hospital merger, an industrial plant closing, or the introductions of a new product all require public relations planning and skill.
Public relations also play an important role in the entertainment industry. The theatre, motion pictures, sports, restaurants, and individuals all use public relations services to increase