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Unformatted text preview: Chapter Fourteen
PUBLIC RELATIONS The development of the publicity man is a clear sign that the facts of modern life do not spontaneously take a shape in which they can be known. Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, 1921. Widespread interest in public relations as a planned occupation increased along with the proportion of U.S. high school students going on to colleges and universities. as a standalone communications function of management that was independent of marketing (and advertising). Overview of Public Relations (PR) in 2010 For much of the 20th century, public relations existed Since the 1990s, PR functions have been increasingly viewed as duplicative of marketing, rather than a distinct form of organizational activity. Public Relations can be difficult to define.
Hundreds of definitions of PR have been written over the years. Most PR practitioners agree that PR involves counseling management about twoway communication strategies that can improve public opinion about an organization. Hence, PR involves effective communication of information from the various constituent parts (or publics) of an organization to management, and vice versa. management constituents (publics) Although typically grouped with advertising and journalism in textbooks such as ours, public relations shares more attributes with advertising than journalism. Journalism Public Relations Advertising Two principal ways to distinguish public relations and journalism 1. PERSUASION Both public relations and advertising involve persuasion via the mass media. vs. Journalism is not typically defined in terms of persuasion. 2. IN WHOSE INTEREST? People specializing in public relations and advertising serve the interests of employers or clients. vs. Journalists serve the public interest--all members of a given audience (readers, viewers, listeners). Three principal ways to distinguish public relations and advertising
1. MANAGEMENT vs. MARKETING PR is traditionally defined as a communication function of management. vs. Advertising is traditionally defined as a communication function of marketing. This difference became less pronounced as the communication functions of marketing, PR, and advertising converged into . . . Integrated Marketing Communications
Marketing has subsumed both advertising and public relations in an organizational structure known as "Integrated Marketing Communications" that emerged during the 1990s. Marketing IMC Public Relations and Advertising Some experts predict that IMC will emerge as the predominant structure for public relations. Nevertheless, some organizations continue to structure PR activities traditionally, as communication functions of management. 2. METHOD OF MESSAGE DELIVERY Advertising messages reach audiences via the media of mass communication. vs. Public relations messages reach audiences via both the media of mass communication and by interpersonal means. 3. AUDIENCE KNOWLEDGE OF PERSUASIVE INTENT Advertising space and time is purchased. Sponsors of advertising messages are identified. The persuasive intent of advertising is explicit.
vs. PR messages are often included as part of the content within a hardnews story, editorial, or softnews feature. The sponsors of PR messages typically are not identified. The persuasive intent of PR messages is masked. Brief history of PR
The activities that we would recognize as PR today began during the American Revolution and became widespread during the early years of the 20th century. 1700s: Samuel Adams publicized the Boston Massacre and staged an event, the Boston Tea Party, as American colonists moved toward revolution. publicity and press agentry. 1800s: P.T. Barnum became a 19th century master of 1900s: Ivy Lee pioneered openness, honesty, and top management endorsement of all public relations activities. George Creel demonstrated the power of a well planned and well executed PR campaign during World War I. The term "public relations" was coined by Edward Bernays in the 1920s. Major reasons why PR grew rapidly during the 20th century The era of business reform during the early 1900s created a need for managers to control the news their companies could not help but generate. As individual consumerism became the major component of American economic activity, managers increasingly responded to the needs of those who purchased products for personal use. increasingly mobile American population after World War II, made effective communication with various constituencies of organizations increasingly difficult to accomplish without a wellformed plan. The growing complexity of modern corporations, and the The nature of PR work All PR specialists engage in organized strategies to handle relations with the various publics of an employer or client in ways that build goodwill. departments (e.g., businesses, universities, government). About 85 percent of the 1,500 largest U.S. companies have PR departments. Some of those same companies also retain the services of external PR firms in addition to their inhouse staff. About 2/3 of all PR activity originates from inhouse PR Three major divisions of inhouse PR departments corporate communications focuses on internal publics (e.g., employees, shareholders) community relations focuses on external media relations focuses on mass publics (e.g., customers, government regulators) communication (e.g., preparing press releases, interacting with journalists) How PR specialists have traditionally dealt with journalists varies. Some favor proactive relations and take initiative in contacting journalists. information boycotts. Some favor adversarial relations and avoid journalists via Adversarial relations sometimes involves the placement of a type of paid advertising known as "advertorials." Some favor ambivalent relations--a mix of proactive, reactive, and inactive relationships with journalists. Major divisions of external PR firms
SERVICES TO CLIENTS creative (e.g., preparing media kits, brochures) research (e.g., conducting surveys, focus groups) marketing publicity (e.g., coordinating merchandising displays and sales promotions) ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH OPERATING A PR FIRM AS A BUSINESS accounts (handling client relations) general administration (handling daytoday tasks associated with running a PR firm as a business) The fourpart process of a PR program (or campaign) gather information and gain agreement about what needs to be accomplished develop agreedupon strategic (long range) plans, tactical (short range) plans, and metrics (ways to measure results) implement plans and metrics evaluate the program (or campaign) Some of the many and varied subspecialties of PR media publicity (persuading reporters to treat press releases about a client or employer as legitimate news) research) opinion polling (conducting survey event planning (staging events to attract public attention) development (efforts to secure gifts-- usually money--for a person or institution) legislation in the interest of an employer or client) evaluating, and dispersing grant money) person (writing speeches, reports, brochures) lobbying (petitioning lawmakers to support foundation gift giving (screening, creating the voice of an institution or media training (of spokespersons prior to questioning by journalists) contingency planning (designing plans to deal with expected problems) crisis management (responding to unexpected events appropriately while under tremendous pressure) matters for an institution or client, and listening to critics before a crisis develops) issues management (tracking difficult Economics of an external PR firm About 1/3 of all PR activity in business and industry is handled by external PR firms. Most major firms are owned by advertising agencies. Small firms experience wide income fluctuations. Financial arrangements with clients include fixed fees, hourly rates, and retainers. CAREER OUTLOOK
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