What is Public Relations ?
Public relations consists of a all the strategic communication tools and processes that are used to build mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their audiences (influencers).
“Process” is preferable to “management function,” which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one-way communications.
“Relationships” relates to public relations’ role in helping to bring together organizations and individuals with their key stakeholders.
“Audiences” is preferable to “influencers” as the former relates to the very “public” nature of public relations, whereas “influencers” instead reflects back to the notion that an individual can influence by their status or media exposure and in turn influence consumer behaviour in a given universe. Their role is less direct in terms of recommendation as a prescriber, but its influence may be wider.
As a management function, public relations also encompasses the following:
“Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting” public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
“Counseling” management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial and fundraising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, as well as developing facilities. In short, the public relations specialist is responsible for managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.