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The Aims and Values of Public Relations

Updated on May 24, 2017

"Public Relations" - Music Drama

What is Public Relations

Public Relations (PR) is a planned process to influence public opinion, through sound character and proper performance, based on mutually satisfactory two-way communication.

This is an overview of the field of PR and organizational communication for corporate, non-profit, and other targeted agencies.

PR is a discipline that stresses the fundamentals of honesty, integrity, loyalty, and ethical training.

PR professionals should be cognizant of SWOT analysis, media advisory, news releases, and RACE.

Other PR jargon to add to your lexicon include:

  • quid pro quo: You do for me - I do for you
  • bridging: Take a negative and change it to a positive quickly
  • cut-line: Caption under photos
  • nut-graph: 2nd Paragraph of a News Release
  • spin: Overt lying to hide what truly happened

History of PR

This infographic chronicles the remarkable history and evolution from ancient PR to hi-tech PR.
This infographic chronicles the remarkable history and evolution from ancient PR to hi-tech PR. | Source

Effective PR

Effective public relations can make all the difference to a company's exposure
Effective public relations can make all the difference to a company's exposure | Source

The Practice of PR

Practicing effective PR means practicing ethics, truth, and credibility:

  • PR goals are defined by an organization’s goals.
  • A PR practitioner should be biased towards disclosing information.
  • Knowledge of how a business works is important for a PR practitioner.
  • There is no "general public".
  • It’s imperative for a PR practitioner to emulate the highest standards of ethics.
  • The ethics of an organization ultimately comes down to its people.
  • The media draws its power from the first amendment.
  • PR research is always formal research.
  • The job of a PR professional is to respond to reporters’ inquiries, arrange interviews between journalists and executives, and help journalists reach company sources.
  • A good PR person shouldn’t obstruct a journalist’s inquiry.
  • The most immediate reporting today is not done on the nightly network news.
  • Getting to know a journalist can help a PR professional.
  • In a broadcast interview, the interviewee should be brief. You should always be on guard when cameras are around.

What is PR All About?

Public Relations is about much more than media contacts & spin. With the rapid advance of technology, and the increased sophistication of consumers, Its become about engaging w/ your audience and delivering your brand message in more authentic terms.
Public Relations is about much more than media contacts & spin. With the rapid advance of technology, and the increased sophistication of consumers, Its become about engaging w/ your audience and delivering your brand message in more authentic terms. | Source

Nuances of PR

PR is ALL about networking and relationship building.

The seven functions of PR include:

  1. writing,
  2. planning,
  3. research,
  4. publicity,
  5. media relations,
  6. consumer relations, and
  7. government relations.

Also, the media always looks for stories with the five C’s, which are:

  1. controversy,
  2. critters,
  3. catastrophe,
  4. celebrity, and
  5. children.

The difference between lawyers and PR people is that lawyers tell you what you can do and a PR person tells you what you should do.

A PR professional should never comment on behalf of a client if it’s something bad, such as embezzlement.

If a PR professional is in a similar situation, they must either resign, lie, or get fired.

Sensational Social PR Statistics and Facts

  • The top three measures used by PR professionals to show social media success is: increased website traffic (64%), increased engagement (61%) and increased followers (59%).
  • 88% of PR professionals state that their businesses or clients regularly engage on Facebook—more than any other social media platform. Twitter came in a close second at 85%.
  • Journalists receive, on average, 50-100 press releases weekly. 44% prefer to receive them in the morning. 68% just want the facts.

What is PR (Infographic)

Answers from social media about the evolution and meaning of PR
Answers from social media about the evolution and meaning of PR | Source

15 PR Disasters of the Decade

Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of t-shirts depicting caricatures of Asian stereotypes. Corporate response: "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt." This caused consumer backlash, boycotts, protests, & a storm of media criticism.
Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of t-shirts depicting caricatures of Asian stereotypes. Corporate response: "We personally thought Asians would love this T-shirt." This caused consumer backlash, boycotts, protests, & a storm of media criticism. | Source

Quick Question

Could You Cut It In PR?

See results

Advice and Opinions from PR Professionals

Ms. Sandi Gibbons, retired Public Information Officer from Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, referred to PR people as "flacks" and emphasized that the worst thing to do is say "no comment".

From an entrepreneurial standpoint, she suggested that the best thing to do if someone wants to go into PR professionally is to learn the news business thoroughly and try to work for a local paper, or get an internship, and get to know what they truly want career-wise.

Carter Evans spoke about what to expect from reporters in this business and emphasized that you should never get in front of the camera if you do not have the answers.

Liz Rusnak Arizmendi, Vice President of Public Relations for Rusnak Auto Group, stressed the importance of creating press releases and engaging the public with interesting stories.

She emphasized the importance of relationships and attention to details.

She also highlighted how calling a press conference is huge for a company.

She said that,

"you are your own PR", and that, "you must create your own image, and delegate to others instead of walking the line".

The late Janette Williams, Editor/Reporter for the Pasadena Star-News, advised PR professionals to be brief when writing a news release and to have something "grabby" at the beginning of it.

She also warned against overselling anything and lying or feeling like a "gate keeper".

Victim’s Rights Advocate, Collene Cambell, stated that the media does not work as hard as you would like them to and that honesty and integrity are very important to the American dream.

She said,

"courage is dealing with fear and using it to benefit your goals, it is not the absence of fear".

She also said that,

"time heals nothing but what you do with that time is what makes the difference".

Ron Hartwig, Vice President of Public Relations for The Getty Center, explained different types of PR to be effective (e.g., corporate, financial, and public affairs) and that each type includes four critical elements:

  1. thinking,
  2. listening,
  3. application/counseling, and
  4. action/communicating.

Hartwig said that good PR people are curious (e.g., read news papers, watch TV).

He stressed that anyone except for the attorney should get in front of the camera.

He emphasized that PR is both an art and a science.

Also, he said that he only uses "off the record" with someone he has dealt with for a while.

Lisa Leslie, from the Los Angeles Sparks/WNBA, encouraged writing down short and long term goals.

“When you write down your goals you can achieve anything” said Lisa Leslie.

She spoke about three important things to remember when being interviewed, which are:

  1. Always tell them what you want them to know,
  2. Remember to incorporate what you are selling or promoting (people interpret body language better), and
  3. Remember your non-verbal communication is just as important as what you are saying.

Paul Gonzales, Assignment Editor of NBC4/The Channel 4 News, stressed that PR is about successfully telling other peoples stories.

Lastly, he indicated that a typical day for a PR person starts with reading the newspaper cover to cover.

Best Quotes About PR

50 of Our Favorite PR Quotes
50 of Our Favorite PR Quotes | Source

Conclusion

The practice of public relations is all about building positive relationships.

It’s a very personal, relationship-oriented practice.

It’s very demanding of interpersonal skills and experienced judgments.

There is no room for defamation, slander, or spin.

In PR, if you lie once, you will never be trusted again, particularly by the media.

Practicing public relations ultimately means effectively networking, building great relations, being credible, and being full of honesty as well as integrity.

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