Historically speaking, public relations, commonly shortened to PR, typically dealt with developing relationships with the public. The goal was to reach potential customers by getting media coverage in newspapers and on radio and television. This was separate from advertising, which sent a specific sales message. PR tended to project an overall brand image and also provided a way for companies to address potential problems or crises. While most people think of PR as the realm of large corporations who have a PR department or hirer expensive consulting firms, even independent contractors should give careful consideration to the image they project and their relationship to their customer base. PR is vital to both new businesses attempting to establish an initial clientele and to existing companies that want to strengthen their base or launch a new product or service.
Public Relations theories can be built into effective marketing strategies, though in a large corporation, the two are divided in separate departments with different goals. Interaction with the public begins with broad concepts like how to design quality customer service practices and extends to specific tasks like structuring a press conference or news interview. PR perspectives are part of creating a newsworthy press release and other media literature. A unified PR strategy is essential to creating presentations that further a company’s, or individual’s, reputation and social identity and is also the bedrock behind communication and direct exchanges with the consumer.
Successful PR professionals know that a certain amount of controversy can propel a company or product image to greater heights, but they understand that there is a science to understanding which controversies to use and how to control them. The core intention driving the vast majority of public relations campaigns is to establish and maintain a positive image for the brand with the media, consumer base, and public at large. Depending on the exact field and type of company involved, these practices take on many forms. The internet has multiplied the tools available to savvy PR operatives while also fragmenting the places that need to be monitored for negative or questionable feedback regarding a brand. With the growing popularity of personal comment posting on blogs, review sites, and social media, public relations has taken on new levels of responsibility and must adapt new techniques to identify and respond to items that could damage or even destroy a company’s image or reputation.
Regardless of the function, size, or type of business , positive PR strategies and processes are necessary to develop and maintain a solid reputation and identity.
Marin Ryan is a PR professional who specializes in local PR in the Kansas City area and writes about local celebrities.