What is the purpose of PR?

Written by Emily Raleigh


purpose of pr

Is there a meaningful purpose of PR? What does it really mean? Well, let us explain.

You may think Public Relations (PR) emerged from the eighties, alongside power suits, shoulder pads and enormous cell phones, but did you know that the first ever PR practitioners were around in the late 1800s to early 1900s? It seems image and brand awareness were just as important then as it is now, however, the industry is ever-evolving and how the PR world operates now will certainly be different to what it was then.

PR often has a bad reputation, many see it as propaganda, for others, images of Patsy and Edina spring to mind, jetting off to parties, drinking champagne and mingling with celebrities – I wish!

PR is actually a highly useful, professional tool that can help your business stand out as a leader in your industry. It’s all about brand awareness, building relationships and managing reputations.

Often people aren’t sure what PR is and how it differs from marketing. Some may argue that it is just another strand of marketing. This quote from Jean-Louis Gassée, former Apple executive, seems to sum up PR quite well:

Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.

The purpose of PR is not about paying people to say that you’re good, it’s about building those relationships with the media and your customers and getting them to trust your product or services, so that they say you’re good!

There are many elements to PR, so here’s a quick overview:

  • Brand awareness –Which does exactly what it says on the tin. PR can get your brand, business, product or services in front of your target audiences. People trust brands, so gain their trust and gain their custom.
  • Issues and Crisis management – Sometimes things can hit the fan and your reputation ends up on the line. Often, it’s not the actual crisis that people remember, but how the business reacts to it. PR practitioners can help you forward plan for any issues or crisis that might arise, and if and when they do, ensure you react quickly and professionally to ensure you reputation remains intact.
  • Reputation management – Helps shape the public’s perception of your business, making sure you say the right things and at the right time.
  • Influencer and Stakeholder management – Interacting with and influencing your key stakeholders, the people that have a vested interest in your business. From mapping out who those stakeholders are, to how to engage with them and get their buy-in.
  • Media relations – This relates to more traditional PR, providing a regular drip feed of business and CSR news and thought leadership pieces to target print and online media.
  • Public affairs – Developing relations with organisations, politicians, the government and other decision makers.
  • Internal communications – Helps ensure consistent messaging across the business and engages employees, keeping them up to date on internal business matters and making them feel part of a bigger team.
  • Social media – Social media is fast-paced, enabling you to share news in an instant. Professionally managed, social media is a great way to engage directly with your customers and prospects.
  • Events management – A PR team can manage your event from the initial idea to ensuring it runs smoothly on the day.

No matter what size company you are or your business needs, PR can be a huge asset to your business. Why not give it a try?

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