Role of Public Relations | What is the Role of PR?


Public Relations has many roles within a business, but the most important may be that it serves as an outlet and tool for shaping an image, whether it be for a company or an individual. The most important thing to remember about public relations is that it is not advertising. Though PR may have a similar outcome or influence on the company as advertising, PR is less biased and self serving. It is information based, stating facts like a new product release, a recall has been put into effect, or that a new CEO has been brought into the company.

There are many benefits that an effective public relations plan can bring to a company, and while reading a book on public relations titled "Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR", I came across a wonderful list of things that PR can do. Though some of these are ideas learned from other books, classes, and research, this list is compiled well and encompasses a lot of the key things that should be stressed when telling the benefits of PR.

Things PR can do for your company, firm, or self include the ability to:

➣ Grow Your Brand
➣ Heighten Demand of Your Product or Service
➣ Expand Your Customer Pool
➣ Establish Trust for the Company and its Products
➣ Form a Position of Leadership for the Company
➣ Change the Way Your Product is Perceived
➣ Generate Awareness for Your Products or Services
➣ Improve Employee Moral and Draw Top Quality Talent to Your Company
➣ Enhance the Perceived Value of Your Company
➣ Make Socially Responsible a Key Characteristic of Your Company

(Strategic Public Relations, pgs. 9-14)

Thought most of the terms are self explanatory, the only one that may have a need for further explanation might be the fourth term, "Form a Position of Leadership for the Company". I think this is an important benefit and aspect of what PR can do for a company, and maybe one that seems a little out of reach for most companies. This is simply the idea that PR can help to push your company into the front position of your industry. An example the authors used was Starbucks, who spent less than 10 million dollars in advertising in their first 10 years of business, and with a powerful PR program, they became a leader in the coffee industry.

People tend to trust public relations more than advertising. Advertising seems more scripted (pun intended), which it often is. Public relations feels more credible; much of what comes from public relations comes from an external source, outside of the company itself. It also seems to be more effective than advertising, and perhaps largely due to the aforementioned characteristic. Advertising comes from the company and is used entirely to further business.

Public relations can also help create relationships between the community and your company, including the government, schools, and other non-profit organizations. It can also help you become more aware (or maybe just more informed) of your surroundings due to constant studying of the market required to tailor things such as press releases or press campaigns for the right audience.

Though perceived as an alternative to advertising, public relations really ought to be considered more important to a firm and its success. From the benefits listed above, public relations might need a larger role in the business.

Works Cited:
Gehrt, Jennifer and Colleen Moffitt. "Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR". 2009.

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