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Publics in Public Relation

Updated on March 1, 2011

Public relation according to definition given by the chartered institute of public relation (CIPR UK); defined it as the planned and sustained effort to established and maintain a good will and mutual understanding between organization and its relevant publics.

Carefully re-examining this definition makes you to understand that organizations or individuals must carefully deal with their publics in order to maintain goodwill and mutual understanding with them.

Your effort/actions must be planned and sustained. Having a good relationship with your publics will definitely help you to be relevant and to remain in business and flourish and also enables you to experience little or no barriers or restrictions as you pass further information across to them with respect to the objectives you want to achieve.

For avoidance of doubt, publics can be defined as the individuals, groups and coperate entities that you need to communicate with in order to achieve your set objectives. It must be understood that it is not reasonable to assume that everyone you need to talk to are the same. They all differ in intentions, objectives and influence and also in their social economic background. You therefore need to appreciate these differences if you are to communicate effectively and efficiently with them.

According to Grunig, he identified the following as some of the classification of publics.


1.      Latent public

Members of this group maybe affected by your operations but are not aware of how you affect them.

However, it is not advisable that you ignore them in your communication process

because they might carry implication to your operations or activities.

2.       Aware public

Members in this group are fully aware of how your operations affect them but may lack the motivation to demonstrate this awareness.

3.      Active public

Those who are in this group are not only aware of how your operations affect them but make a deliberate effort to demonstrate it.

However, this group can be divided into 3  inter-groups; they are

a.     Hot issue group

Members of this group only become interested in your activities only when issues concerning your operation are in the front barrier of public discus and become un-interested when the same issues are no more front barrier discus.

b.      Single issue public

Members of this group are only interested in the aspect of your operations that is directly of concern to them and may affect them. e.g. Human Right, environmental pollution, impact on security, plumbing, efficiency of specialized operating system in information technology, quality of goods, salvation, automobile fuel efficiency, passing of F.O.I bill

c.     All issue group

Members here are interested in all aspect of your operations. This group should never be put aside, instead they should be seen as a critical group to relate with.

4.      Apathetic public

Members of this group decide to remain indifferent about your operations. Examining them and finding ways to engage them constructively can pay off for you either on the short run or long run.

Furthermore, irrespective of your operations or activities as an individual, group or a business entity the following people may be among the publics you will need to communicate with.

1.      The media

2.      Security agencies

3.      Employee

4.      Family

5.      Youth

6.      Single parent

7.      Education and training institute

8.      Financial institution

9.      Option leaders

10.  Traditional leaders

11.  NGOs

12.  Student

13.  Single

14.  Trade union

15.  Volunteers

16.  Foreign investors

17.  Teenagers

18.  Medical practitioners

19.  Professional bodies

20.  Widows

21.  Christians

22.  Muslims

23.  Religious bodies

24.  Homosexual and likes

25.  Community leaders

26.  Employers

27.  Multilateral organizations

28.  Consultants

29.  Athletes

30.  Embassy and high commission

31.  School administrators

32.  Legislature

33.  Regulatory agencies

34.  Board members

35.  People with HIV/AIDS

36.  Pressure groups

37.  charity organization

38.  Husband

39.  Wife

40.  Financial ad visors

41.  Relevant government agencies

42.  Divorce

43.  Unbelievers

44.  Expatriate

45.  Judiciary

46.  Teachers

47.  Competitors

48.  Widower

49.  International and local rating agencies

50.  Market women

51.  Traders

52.  Professionals

53.  Suppliers

54.  African

55.  American

56.  Asian

57.  Caribbean

In public relation, the publics are a very critical segment of our operation; we can achieve little or nothing without engaging them in our operations. The relevant publics in your activities can help you to achieve effectiveness, efficiency, consistency and continuity in your respective program of interest. Maintaining goodwill, mutual and beneficiary understanding with them is vital.     


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    • profile image

      John Jimmy Okello 15 months ago

      I am a student in Gulu university in Uganda currently taking public relations as one of course units in public administration, the material is very useful and important

    • profile image

      Kilimo kore 2 years ago

      Student at Moi university Nairobi. Pursuing PR and communication. Excellent material. More of this is welcomed.

    • profile image

      ogunlade akinyemi 2 years ago

      Great job

    • profile image

      nazziwa jane 4 years ago

      its a relevant information and helpful thank.

    • Olojo Oluwasegun profile image

      Olojo Oluwasegun 5 years ago from Lagos Nigeria

      yes, a qualitative material

    • profile image

      osman hussein 5 years ago

      i am student at Cavendish university Uganda and i am doing PR really this material is helpful thanks guys

    • profile image

      matsiko Arthur 5 years ago

      Very relevant information. Thx 4 the insight!

    • profile image

      Adebisi 5 years ago

      Ama student of communication and language arts from the university of ibadan,am currently taking a public relations course,dz material was really helpful.

    • Olojo Oluwasegun profile image

      Olojo Oluwasegun 6 years ago from Lagos Nigeria

      I think i am an Active Public. I wonder what you are?

    • Olojo Oluwasegun profile image

      Olojo Oluwasegun 6 years ago from Lagos Nigeria

      Effective communication is necessary between you and your publics.