What is Public Relations?
“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” – Public Relations Society of America
What does that mean? For some, public relations means generating publicity — getting your name in the news. But the most effective PR program — the stuff that will really move your organization forward — involves relationship-building activities beyond articles in the media.
PR manages change through effective communication; it builds and maintains relationships with the people important to your future.
The best PR is for your organization to conduct its affairs in such a way as to inoculate yourself against fallout that a potential crisis can raise. Let’s take a closer look…
PR Helps Management
As public relations specialists, Hanser & Associates understands PR’s proven ability to:
- Build the breadth and depth of opportunities for the sale of products or services
- Recruit qualified people and retain them by building morale, enhancing productivity and creating team spirit
- Protect your market position during crisis
- Manage change
Our case studies demonstrate how clients have benefited from our public relations counsel and programs, and you can read more about what PR counselors do here.
PR Can Be Measured
CEOs agree that the reputation-building power of public relations helps sell products and services, attracts employees and helps during crisis. Hanser Measurement PRocess™ is our methodology for measuring impact of PR programs.
Corporate management is focusing upon measuring PR programs in order to gain insights that will enable them to refine and improve programs, to assess cost effectiveness of different approaches, and to assure a good return on these investments. There is data to support the relationship between PR spending, reputation and business performance. For example:
- Senior level marketers surveyed in 2005 by Council of Public Relations Firms and Advertising Age said they perceive PR to be most valuable in supporting product marketing and product launches (72%).
- Marketing executives surveyed by PR Week in 2005 were asked to compare the effectiveness of PR to that of advertising and direct marketing for specific tasks. From the perspective of these executives, PR is the most effective marketing discipline for launching a new product or service (55%), building awareness (52%), generating word of mouth (51%) and building brand reputation (50%).
- In their book The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, branding experts Al Ries and Laura Ries declared in 2002 that PR is the best way to launch new brands. In fact, they recommend that any new marketing program start by generating publicity and then shift to advertising after the PR objectives have been achieved. As they see it, “marketing has entered the era of public relations.”
Communication is Changing
Public relations has become an important management function, because networked communication is changing the rules for public dialogue. Information flows that were linear and hierarchical are being replaced by a host of peer-to-peer communication models.
Influence and control through traditional advertising and other one-way channels are no longer guaranteed, because on the Internet:
- Everyone is a publisher
- Customers and employees can connect to each other across the globe to discuss their experience with your company
- Anyone can listen and participate in these discussions
- Cost of communicating has plummeted
These are fundamental shifts in the relationship between a company and its customers, employees, investors, regulators and other stakeholders. In this new communication landscape, traditional one-way messages suffer shrinking credibility. People are becoming “ad blind.” Traditional print and broadcast media are losing their audience to the Internet.
Fortunately, public relations specialists offer effective communication solutions.