Monday, September 22, 2008

Public Relations Roles and their Specialities

PR Roles and Specialties

•Understand the role and responsibilities of PR.
•Recognize the difference between strategic and tactical PR.
•Appreciate the problem-solving role of PR.
•Understand the link between PR and credibility.

What is public relations?
•Responding to expectations of those who can influence an organization’s operation and
•Harmonizing interests of an organization with those on whom its growth depends
•Serving as intermediary between an organization and all of that organization’s publics

•Distributing information to publics
•Researching all audiences
•Advising management
•Helping to set policies
•Evaluating PR program effectiveness

10 Basic Principles of PR
•PR deals with facts, not fiction.
•PR’s primary consideration is doing what’s in the public interest.
Public interest must be the criterion for selecting PR programs and policies.
•PR must protect the integrity of the media channels it uses for its messages.
•PR involves effective communication back and forth between an organization
and its publics.
•PR depends on use of scientific public opinion research.
•PR practitioners must use the social sciences to understand what publics are
saying and to communicate effectively with them.
•PR requires multidisciplinary application of theories and concepts.
•PR has obligation to explain problems to publics before they become crises.
•PR performance should be measured by only one standard ethical performance.

Activities of Public Relations
•Press agentry
•Public affairs
•Graphic design
•Integrated marketing communication

PR Practitioner’s Job
•More need for depth and diversity of knowledge
•More expectation of accountability
•Less tolerance for hype
•Constants over time: “go-for” attitude, strategic thinking, writing, speaking,
persuading, respecting deadlines, multi-tasking

Main Roles of PR Practitioner
•Staff member in organization
–may be specialist in one area of PR if the organization is large
–likely to be “Jack/Jill of all trades” in a small organization
–technician role at lower levels, managerial role at higher levels

•Employee of PR agency or firm
–may be specialist or generalist depending on size of firm
–also involved in “sales” (generating new business)
–often works as member of team of writers, designers, production staff who together produce a PR message

•Independent practitioner or counselor
–may work on project basis or retainer
–may perform technical tasks for clients
–may serve as counselor to client management

Areas of PR Specialization
•PR for nonprofit organizations (also called NGOs)
•PR for educational institutions
•Fundraising and/or donor relations
•Research and evaluation
•Trend analysis
•Issues management
•PR for international, global organizations
•Financial PR (also called investor relations)
•PR for industrial companies
•PR for general business or retail
•PR for government (at all levels)
•Political PR

•PR for health care organizations
•PR for sports teams
•PR for leisure-time activities

PR: A Profession?

•Body of knowledge
•Commitment to continuing education
•Standard educational curriculum to prepare for entry into profession
•Control over who enters, exits the profession
•Shared code of ethics that guides practice

Societal Roles for PR
•Manipulative Model: Control publics, direct what people think or do to satisfy an
organization’s needs
•Service Model: Respond to publics, react to their needs, desires
•Transactional Model: Achieve mutually beneficial relationships among an
institution and its publics

Self-Described Roles
•PR practitioner as communication technician ( skills oriented)
•PR practitioner as communication facilitator (liaison)
•PR practitioner as problem-solving process facilitator (confrontational)
•PR practitioner as acceptant legitimizer (yes-person)
•PR practitioner as expert prescriber (authoritarian, prescriptive)

Roles Boil Down to 2

•How roles enacted are a function of organization, culture of country, training of

The Value of PR
•PR can open and maintain dialogue between an organization and its publics.
•PR can encourage mutual adjustment between an organization and its society.
•PR can focus on the greater good of society, not just the narrow interests of an
•PR has the opportunity to improve cooperation between an organization and
its publics.
•PR provides useful information.
•PR can raise issues and concerns, reminding management of ethical responsibilities.
•PR helps management formulate and advocate sound objectives.
•PR can be a problem solver.
•PR can uphold socially responsible behavior.

Obstacles to Ideal PR
•Economics: organizations and their managers exist to make money
•Human nature: natural temptation to play up the good, ignore or deny the negative

PR: Finds, Solves, Prevents
•Problems of production
•Problems of growth
•Problems of personnel
•Problems of financing
•Problems of advertising
•Problems of business acceptance

PR: Interprets, Links
•Bridge between organization and publics
• Helps organization, publics adjust to change
•Stimulates positive change
•Enables groups to accommodate to each other

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