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SCHOOL OF
COMMUNICATION E-mail: admissions@isbmmedia.edu.in
Website: www.isbmmedia.edu.in

Pre-Foundation Course 2010


Lesson 6.
PUBLIC RELATIONS
Understanding its functions, tools and techniques,
duties of a PR professional, and how to plan PR campaigns
Asst. Prof. Manju Rughwani
Table of Contents & Summary
I. INTRODUCTION......................................................................pg.2
II. DEFINITION OF PUBLIC RELATIONS .............................. ...............pg.2
III. FUNCTIONS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS...............................................pg.3
IV. SKILLS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL...................................pg.3
V. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER.........pg.4
 Employee communications
 Internal and external publications
 Community relations
 Media relations
 PR support to marketing
 PR budgeting
 PR support to financial operations
 PR agency coordination
VI. TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS............... ...... ..... ...pg.5
 Print media
 Electronic media
 Online PR tools
 Visual communication
 Trade fairs and exhibitions
 Sponsorships and events
 Press releases and press kits
 House journal
VII. PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE.......................pg.6
 Step One: Research
 Step Two: Situation Analysis
 Step Three: Objectives
 Step Four: Identifying Public
 Step Five: Identifying Stakeholders
 Step Six: Key Messages
 Step Seven: Strategy
 Step Eight: Tactics
 Step Nine: Timescale
 Step Ten: Budget
 Step Eleven: Crisis Issues And Management Place
 Step Twelve: Evaluation

Introduction of the Author


.
Asst.Prof. Manju Rughwani M.Com (University of Pune), Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Mass
Communication (IGNOU), Pursuing PH D (University of Pune)
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Lesson:6

INTRODUCTION
WHAT exactly do you mean by public relations? Why does public relations play a significant
role in times of cut-throat competition?

Every business depends on customers for sales and profits; organisations depend on employees
for productivity; industry relies on skilled professionals; society depends on the government
to provide basic utilities and so on. All these have created a great need for relationships and
communications among all people at different levels.

Times are changing. Business, trade and commerce are becoming extremely competitive in
this age of globalisation. Companies need to have an edge that makes them stand out from
the crowd. For this, it becomes necessary to know and understand how the world of public
relations functions revolves.

Simply put, public relations or PR is all about creating a two-way communication between
an organisation and target groups. It aims to enhance corporate image and reputation,
resolves conflicts of interest, seeks common areas of mutual interest and establishes
complete understanding based on truth and knowledge.

DEFINITION OF PUBLIC RELATIONS


PR has been defined differently by management scholars and experts. According to Sam
Black, a British PR practitioner in his book Practical Public Relations, The purpose of Public
relations is to establish a two way communication to resolve conflicts of interests and to
establish understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information. In the words of
Edward Bernays, Public relations is an attempt by information, persuasion and adjustment
to engineer public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution.

From the above definitions, public relations practice includes the following:
1) Everything that is calculated to improve mutual understanding between an
organisation and the public. This includes internal and external public.
2) Advice on the presentation of the ‘public image’ of an organisation.
3) Action to discover and eliminate source of misunderstanding.
4) Action to broaden the sphere of influence of an organisation by appropriate
publicity, advertising, exhibition, films etc.
5) Everything that is directed towards improving communication between
people or organisation.
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FUNCTIONS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

The public relations functions are wider and broader in scope. The functions of PR (thereby,
PR professionals) are summarised below.

1) Public relations is a top management function. It demands greater attention to


the five Ms of management -- manpower, money, material, machinery and Methods.
2) Public relations has the responsibility of establishing relationship between an
organistion and it various constituent public groups. It includes employees,
customers, dealers, vendors, media, community, government etc.
3) Public relations is considered to be the catalyst of change. It is entrusted with
the duty of engineering changes in the awareness, opinions, attitudes and
behaviour of the public.
4) Public relations is considered the eyes and ears of a company. It monitors public
awareness levels, opinions, attitudes, behaviour and responses.
5) Public relations is expected to evaluate and measure the public impact of
organisational policies, procedures and actions.
6) Public relations plays an advisory role of counselling the management to modify
and adjust those policies, procedures and actions in conflict with public interest
in the interest of smooth functioning of the organisation.
7) Public relations is the watchdog of corporate interests and public expectations
and as such counsels the management for the formulation of policies, procedures
and actions which are beneficial to the organisation and the public.
8) Since public relations is expected to be communications specialist job, it entails
the responsibility of maintaining a two way communication between the public
and organisation.
9) Public relations monitors the winds of change and works as an early warning
system for the management to avoid or cope with crisis situations.

SKILLS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL

To become a successful PR professional, there are specific personality traits, skills and
talents that one must fine-tune during the course of training and education.

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Have excellent communication skills


Have good knowledge of media of media

Understand the management process


Should have business acumen

Is highly creative creative


Have a flair for writing

Should be a great motivator


Gets along with difficult people

Have drive and enthusiasm


Is a good listener

Have good sense of anticipation

Have tolerance for frustration

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER


The public relations manager will report directly to the managing director. He/she shall
be responsible for all public relations operations for the company.

Employee communications: The PR manager will work closely with the personnel
department by establishing first class communications between management and
employees. They keep the employee informed about promoting productivity, efficiency,
discipline etc

Internal and external publications: The PR manager will be responsible for editing, and
production of all PR publications issued by the company.

Community relations: The PR manager must maintain good relations with the
community by organising tours, representing the company at local functions, co-operate
with local officials and liaising with government officials.

Media relations: The PR manager will be responsible for all relations with the local,
national and international media for transmission of company information for publicity.

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It includes print, electronic and cyber media. They will be responsible for acting as
spokespersons for the company. They will answer or provide answers to all questions
from journalists.

PR support to marketing: The PR manager will maintain constant liaison and support with
the sales and marketing divisions. This includes product and institutional publicity,
assistance in launching products, development of market related publicity material,
publication of dealer magazine and others.

PR budgeting: With the inputs from top management, the public relations manager
will prepare the annual public relations budget and maintain PR expenditure.

PR support to financial operations: The PR manager will coordinate with his/her


activities with the finance director for the publications of annual financial report to share
holders. They need to handle financial press release and logistics for the annual general
meeting of the company shareholders.

PR agency coordination: The PR manager will be responsible for the selection and
visioning with the designated PR agency in implementing and planning the PR campaigns.

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

There are different tools and techniques of public relations for different kinds of target
audiences. Some of these are listed below.

Print media: Printed communications are aimed to educate the public about the
organisation and its products. Print media broadly comprises newspapers and magazines.
It also includes leaflets, folders, booklets, annual reports, house journals, press releases etc.

Electronic media: Electronic media includes audio-visual communication like radio,


television and films. Here, the PR professional can send its representatives to participate
in TV programs or talk shows on radio. Also, corporate films can be produced to develop
public relations and mobilise public opinions.

Online PR tools: These include Email, social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, blogs, Wikis, websites, discussion forums and search engine optimisation.

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Visual communication: Visual communication plays a major role in the credibility of a


press release. It includes photographs, graphs, charts, graphics as well as pictorials.

Trade fairs and exhibitions: Trade related exhibitions provide an opportunity for
organisations to interact with customers or corporate clients. Exhibitions draw a huge
number of prospective buyers to one place and offer a fertile ground for PR manoeuvres.

Sponsorships and events: Providing sponsorships to events of public interest have


always been a potent PR tool used by organisations. Apart from promoting an image of
good corporate citizenship, sponsorships can give high visibility to a company and its
products. Sports, art exhibitions, concerts and community welfare programmes are the
favourites for corporate sponsorships.

Press releases and press kits: These are aimed at communicating and maintaining
media relations. A press release is used to convey news to the press on behalf of the
organisation. It provides information about product launches or new achievements at
the management level. A press kit includes written information such as a news release,
organisation background, biographies of key spokesperson and other supporting materials
that provide information useful to journalists.

House journal: It is an internal publication produced by an organisation in order


to inform and entertain its employees and to generate better internal communication
and relationships.

PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGN: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE

STEP ONE: RESEARCH: No matter what kind of PR activity you’re involved in,
research will be at the core of it. Depending on what you’re doing, different research
methods can be used at various times for different target groups. The research methods
are categorised into two groups:
Primary: It includes first hand information like questionnaires, one-on-one interviews,
telephone interviews, focus groups, blogs etc.

Secondary: It involves gathering information from already published sources like books,
journals, papers, libraries, Internet etc.

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STEP TWO: SITUATION ANALYSIS: The research you’ve carried out should clearly
define the current situation with regard to the campaign. Depending on what’s involved,
this might include an organisation’s current situation in the market, how it’s perceived
by customers or staff or how it’s faring financially. Whatever your campaign involves,
you must be absolutely aware of everything both internally and externally. From this
you can carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
of the current situation. It is also recommended to conduct a PEST analysis to examine
the external environment Politically, Economically, Socially and Technologically.

STEP THREE: OBJECTIVES: Once you’re aware of the problem(s) your organisation is
facing, you can then define the objectives of the campaign. The objectives are what is
hoped to be the end result of the PR activity. Each objective must be SMART (Specific,
Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time)

STEP FOUR: IDENTIFYING PUBLIC: Who do you want to talk to? The research carried
out in the initial stages of the planning process should have identified groups relevant to
the campaign. This is crucial to ensure your key messages are communicated efficiently
and effectively. The research also should have identified each group’s current attitude
to the situation, allowing you to tailor your key messages appropriately.

STEP FIVE: IDENTIFYING STAKEHOLDERS: Once the target groups of the PR


campaign have been categorised, it is then important to identify who the stakeholders
are. Public can also be categorised as stakeholders also. A stakeholder analysis may
involve employees, identified public, suppliers, senior executives and investors

STEP SIX: KEY MESSAGES: Once you know the issue you’re facing, the current
situation of the organisation (both internally and externally) and who you want to talk
to, you then have to plan what you want to say. Every PR campaign needs to have a set
of messages that forms the main thrust of the communication. These messages need to
be clear, concise and readily understood.

STEP SEVEN: STRATEGY: The strategy in a PR campaign is often confused with tactics.
However, the strategy is the foundation on which a tactical programme is built. It is the
theory that will move you where the current situation is to where you want it to be.
The strategy is usually the overlaying mechanism of a campaign from which the tactics
are deployed to meet the objectives

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STEP EIGHT: TACTICS: The PR profession has a number of tactics. The challenge is
choosing the right tactics to meet the objectives. Again, depending on what type of
campaign you’re involved, you might use media relations, lobbying, events, interviews,
blogger relations, presentations, consultations, newsletters, competitions, podcasts,
stunts, websites, conferences, photography, video news releases etc.

STEP NINE: TIMESCALE: Once you know the overall strategy and tactics, you’ve then
got to allocate a time to do it. A timescale allows you co-ordinate your tactics
appropriately and helps you be aware of certain deadlines.

STEP TEN: BUDGET: Allocating the budget is an essential part of a campaign so all
costs should be taken into consideration. A PR budget allows you to allocate money to
the specific areas of the campaign. It may include operating costs, human costs as well
as equipment costs.

STEP ELEVEN: CRISIS ISSUES AND MANAGEMENT PLACE: Risk is an inevitable


part of some PR campaigns, so being thoroughly prepared in case a problem does occur
is paramount.

STEP TWELEVE: EVALUATION: The evaluation is an ongoing process particularly in a


long-term PR campaign so it is critical to constantly review all specific elements.
Evaluating a campaign should be done in two ways. One is an ongoing review. Another
is an end review. Ongoing will be carried out throughout the campaign, while, the end
review will take place after all PR activity has finished and where the final results will
be compared against the campaign objectives.

Key points:

Public relations is a two way communication between an organisation and target groups.
It is to maintain goodwill and enhance corporate reputation.
PR tools and techniques are print media, electronic media, online media, events,
exhibitions, house journals, press releases, visuals etc.
Duties and responsibilities include employee communications, internal and external
publications, media relations, budgeting, community relations and support to marketing
and finance activities.

PR campaign planning: The PR campaign comprises twelve stages. These include research,
situational analysis, objectives, strategies, tactics, identifying public, identifying
stakeholders, timescale and evaluation.
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