- Understand the concept of public relations and why organizations allocate part of their promotional budgets to it.
- Understand what the different types of public relations tools are.
- Explain how companies use different public relations tools to their advantage.
Good public relations efforts can help a firm create rapport with its customers, promote what it has to offer, and supplement its sales efforts. Many organizations that engage in public relations have in-house PR departments, media relations groups, or investor relations groups. Other organizations sometimes hire external PR firms or advertising agencies to find and create public relations opportunities for them. PR specialists must build relationships with people at different media outlets to help get their stories placed. Universities, hospitals, government organizations, and charitable organizations often hire PR people to help disseminate positive information about their services and to increase interest in what they do.
PR specialists also help political campaign managers generate positive information in the press. PR specialists can handle damage control and put a positive view on situations when something bad happens to an organization or person. In foreign markets, PR agencies may help ensure product concepts are understood correctly. Getting all PR stories placed in desired media is not guaranteed. A lot of time and effort is spent getting to know people who can help publish or announce the information to the public.
Companies use a variety of tools for their public relations purposes, including annual reports, brochures and magazines for both employees and the public, Web sites to show good things they’re doing, speeches, blogs, and podcasts. Some of the most commonly used PR tools include press releases, sponsorships, product placements, and social media. Social media is discussed in Chapter 14 "Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Empowerment".