Why a company needs Public Relations?
Most small and medium-scale businesses underestimate the value of Public Relations. This is caused by a lack of understanding of how Public Relations (P R) influences the growth of a business. According to PR practitioners, Public relations is a deliberate plan and a sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill between an organization and its public. Publics are groups of people who have actual or potential interest in the organization’s products or services. These include money markets such as banks, customers, and the community in which we operate our business.
What is the main goal of PR?
The essence of PR is to create mutual understanding. Have you ever been greeted by someone you know in the dark? Obviously, you respond because you know the voice calling you. How about someone you do not know? Public Relations is the communication vehicle that disseminates information concerning a company’s products and services. Every relationship is sustained by communication. Good communication builds trust.
A lack of it destroys trust. Trust is one of the intangible assets a company can have. Imagine you are selling a service or a product in your area that someone might need. Is it possible to generate a sale if they do not know you have exactly what they need? Business is not about what you know. It is about how many people know you. This is where PR comes in. Many of us are not shocked when we hear anything to do with Econet, why? Because we are informed about the organization. The PR campaign is done to change customers’ or people’s perspectives on 4 key areas.
The discipline seeks to eliminate ignorance to knowledge, hostility to sympathy, prejudice to acceptance; apathy to interest. We naturally operate to the best of our knowledge. The provision of valuable information helps to make good decisions. When a disaster occurs, PR practitioners must be in the front to give information about what exactly transpired. Silence will lead people to conclude issues on their own, which may be detrimental to the image of the organization. When a product malfunctions, the company must do a product recall, that is withdraw the product from the market. For instance, a few years back, Samsung manufactured a mobile phone which was not functioning properly.
Activities of the PR department in an organization.
There are several functions performed by PR personnel in organizations including arranging media interviews for board members. They produce house journals, annual reports, and other publications. There are two types of journals. Some are produced for employees and some are for public consumption. A good example is an Outpost which is produced for Zimbabwe Republic Police. Public Relations organizes media events such as press conferences, facility visits, and receptions. In this Era, we have migrated to making e-magazines. To add to that, they maintain accurate media information services, update personal profiles, and keeping of photos of events.
In-house PR or hire an external PR company?
Most firms prefer to use an in-house PR department. There are merits and demerits inherent in using PR consultancy firms or internal PR departments. Advantages of having an in-house department include depth of understanding of industry-most PR managers have a thorough understanding of their industry. Many PR managers have established fluid lines of communication and can provide much-needed information in a short space of time.
However, there is a downside to having internal PR managers. They may be so close to the organization to the extent that they have a bias. Another major barrier is they often lack respect from other departments, that is if their objective judgments are undervalued. Hired PR firms point out errors and what needs to be corrected with clarity. Finally, if an organization absorbs a low-skilled PR manager, he may become a liability to the organization.
Some years ago, Coca-cola wanted to launch its business in a certain country. The grave mistake they made was to bring green hats as gifts. Little did they know that green hats were a symbol of a man that had been married to an unfaithful wife. Imagine the chaos of the program. That is why it is important to use external PR who are well versed with customs and symbols. Some products fail because groups of people associate colors with different things.
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