PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - I
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - I
Ask a person secret of his success and among answers you may
notice mention of his PR. Have a
good rather strong public relation approach and climb up the
ladder of promotion quickly. A person with
bad PR, though good in many other respects, may suffer and make
slow progress as compared to a person
possessing matching qualities but having excellent PR. This
clearly indicates the importance of the public
relation in communication.
Almost same holds true about the organizations and the companies
as they tend to wield this tool on more
scientific lines. The presence of PR in mass communication is
mainly due to corporate sector which has
over the decades exploited PR for the promotion of their
products, personalities and services.
Here we will see what purpose is served by the PR in mass
• Aspect of communications
that involves promoting a desirable image for a person or group seeking
• Public relations (PR) is
the art of managing communication between an organization and its key
publics to build, manage and sustain a positive image.
• One of the earliest
definitions of PR was coined by Edward Bernays. According to him, "Public
Relations is a management function which tabulates public
attitudes, defines the policies,
procedures and interest of an organization followed by executing
a program of action to earn
public understanding and acceptance. "
• According to two
American PR professionals Scott M. Cutlips and Allen H. Center, "PR is a
planned effort to influence opinion through good character and
responsible performance based
upon mutual satisfactory two-way communication".
Precursors to public relations are found in publicists who
specialized in promoting circuses,
theatrical performances, and other public spectacles. In the
United States, where public relations has its
origins, many early PR practices were developed in support of
the expansive power of the railroads. In fact,
many scholars believe that the first appearance of the term
"public relations" appeared in the
1897 Year Book
of Railway Literature.
Mass media-men employed
Later, PR practitioners were—and are still often—recruited from
the ranks of journalism. Some
journalists, concerned with ethics, criticize former colleagues
for using their inside understanding of news
media to help clients receive favorable media coverage.
Despite many journalists' discomfort with the field of public
relations, well-paid PR positions remain a
popular choice for reporters and editors forced into a career
change by the instability of the print and
electronic media industry. PR historians say the first PR firm,
the Publicity Bureau, was established in 1900
by former newspapermen, with Harvard University as its first
WW I pushed PR
The First World War also helped stimulate the development of
public relations as a profession.
Many of the first PR professionals, including Ivy Lee, Edward
Bernays, and Carl Byoir, got their start with
the Committee on Public Information (also known as the Creel
Commission), which organized publicity on
behalf of U.S. objectives during World War I.
Some historians regard Ivy Lee as the first real practitioner of
public relations, but Edward Bernays is
generally regarded today as the profession's founder. In
describing the origin of the term Public Relations,
No to propaganda, yes to PR.
"When I came back to the United States, I decided that if you
could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use it for
peace. And propaganda got to be a bad word because of the
Germans using it. So what I did was to try to find some other
words, so we found the words Council on Public Relations".
One of Bernays' early clients was the tobacco industry. In 1929,
he orchestrated a legendary
publicity stunt aimed at persuading women to take up cigarette
smoking, which was then considered
unfeminine and inappropriate for women with any social standing.
To counter this image, Bernays arranged
for New York City a march in that year's Easter Day Parade,
defiantly smoking cigarettes as a statement of
rebellion against the norms of a male-dominated society.
Photographs of what Bernays dubbed the
"Torches of Liberty Brigade" were sent to newspapers, convincing
many women to equate smoking with
women's rights. Some women went so far as to demand membership
in all-male smoking clubs, a highly
controversial act at the time.
In 1950 PRSA enacts the first "Professional Standards for the
Practice of Public Relations," a
forerunner to the current Code of Ethics, last revised in 2000
to include six core values and six code
provisions. The six core values are "Advocacy, Honesty,
Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness."
The six code provisions are "Free Flow of Information,
Competition, Disclosure of Information,
Safeguarding Confidences, Conflicts of Interest, and Enhancing
Public relations describes the various methods a company uses to
disseminate messages about its
products, services, or overall image to its customers,
employees, stockholders, suppliers, or other interested
members of the community. The point of public relations is to
make the public think favorably about the
company and its offerings.
Tools employed for PR
Commonly used tools of public relations include:
• News releases
• Press conferences
• Speaking engagements
• Community service
Difference between PR and Advertisement
Although advertising is closely related to public relations—as
it too is concerned with promoting
and gaining public acceptance for the company's products—the
goal of advertising is generating sales, while
the goal of public relations is generating good will. The effect
of good public relations is to lessen the gap
between how an organization sees itself and how others outside
the organization perceive it.
Two way communication
Public relations involve two-way communication between an
organization and its public. It requires
listening to the constituencies on which an organization depends
as well as analyzing and understanding the
attitudes and behaviors of those audiences. Only then can an
organization undertake an effective public
Responsibility of PR
Many small business owners elect to handle the public relations
activities for their own companies,
while others choose to hire a public relations specialist.
Managers of somewhat larger firms, on the other
hand, frequently contract with external public relations or
advertising agencies to enhance their corporate
image. But whatever option is chosen, the head of a company is
ultimately responsible for its public
Goals of Public Relations
Goals of public relations are to create, maintain, and protect
the organization's reputation, enhance
its prestige, and present a favorable image. Studies have shown
that consumers often base their purchase
decisions on a company's reputation, so public relations can
have a definite impact on sales and revenue.
Public relations can be an effective part of a company's overall
marketing strategy. In the case of a for-profit company, public
relations and marketing should be coordinated to be sure they
are working to achieve the same objectives.
Another major public relations goal is to create good will for
the organization. This involves such functions
as employee relations, stockholder and investor relations, media
relations, and community relations.
Public relations may function to educate certain audiences about
many things relevant to the organization—
including the business in general, new legislation, and how to
use a particular product—as well as to
overcome misconceptions and prejudices. For example, a nonprofit
organization may attempt to educate
the public regarding a certain point of view, while trade
associations may undertake educational programs
regarding particular industries and their products and
Effective public relations require a knowledge, based on
analysis and understanding, of all the
factors that influence public attitudes toward the organization.
While a specific public relations project or
campaign may be undertaken proactively or reactively (to manage
some sort of image crisis), the first basic
step in either case involves analysis and research to identify
all the relevant factors of the situation. In this
first step, the organization gains an understanding of its
various constituencies and the key factors that are
influencing their perceptions of the organization.
In the second step, the organization establishes an overall
policy with respect to the campaign. This involves
defining goals and desired outcomes, as well as the constraints
under which the campaign will operate. It is
necessary to establish such policy guidelines in order to
evaluate proposed strategies and tactics as well as
the overall success of the campaign.
In step three, the organization outlines its strategies and
tactics. Using its knowledge of the target audiences
and its own established policies, the organization develops
specific programs to achieve the desired
objectives. Finally, step four involves actual communication
with the targeted public. The organization then
employs specific public relations techniques, such as press
conferences or special events, to reach the
In step five the organization receives feedback from its public.
How have they reacted to the public
relations campaign? Are there some unexpected developments? In
the final step, the organization assesses
the program and makes any necessary adjustments.
Public relations involves
1. Evaluation of public attitudes and opinions.
2. Formulation and implementation of an organization's
procedures and policy regarding
communication with its publics.
3. Coordination of communications programs.
4. Developing rapport and good-will through a two way
5. Fostering a positive relationship between an organization and
its public constituents.
• Corporations use
marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products they
manufacture or services they provide to potential customers to
support their direct sales efforts.
Typically, they support sales in the short and long term,
establishing and burnishing the
corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.
• Corporations also use
public-relations as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians,
favorable tax, regulatory, and other treatment, and they may use
public relations to portray
themselves as enlightened employers, in support of
human-resources recruiting programs.
organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and
service agencies, use public relations in support of awareness
programs, fund-raising programs,
staff recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.
Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise
money, and, when successful at the ballot box, to
promote and defend their service in office, with an eye to the
next election or, at career’s their legacy.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were
approximately 122,000 public relations
specialists in the United States in 1998, while there were
approximately 485,000 advertising, marketing, and
public relations managers working in all industries. Public
relations practitioners deliver information
through the media to target audiences or, with the advent of the
Internet, directly to specific stakeholder
groups. Because similar opinions tend to be shared by a group of
people rather than an entire society,
research may be conducted to determine a range of things such as
target audiences, appeal, as well as
strategies for coordinated message presentation. PR may target
different audiences with different messages
to achieve an overall goal. Public Relations sets out to effect
widespread opinion and behavior changes.
Modern public relations uses a variety of techniques including
opinion polling and focus groups to evaluate
public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech techniques
for distributing information on behalf of
their clients, including satellite feeds, the Internet,
broadcast faxes, and database-driven phone banks to
recruit supporters for a client's cause. According to the PRSA,
"Examples of the knowledge that may be required in the
professional practice of public relations
include communication arts, psychology, social psychology,
sociology, political science, economics, and the
principles of management and ethics. Technical knowledge and
skills are required for opinion research,
public issues analysis, media relations, direct mail,
institutional advertising, publications, film/video
productions, special events, speeches, and presentations."
Although public relations professionals are stereotypically seen
as corporate servants, the reality is
that almost any organization that has a stake in how it is
portrayed in the public arena employs at least one
PR manager. Large organizations may even have dedicated
communications departments. Government
agencies, trade associations, and other non-profit organizations
commonly carry out PR activities.
Public relations should be seen as a management function in any
organization. An effective communication,
or public relations, plan for an organization is developed to
communicate to an audience (whether internal
or external publics) in such a way the message coincides with
organizational goals and seeks to benefit
mutual interests whenever possible.