PR plays a very pivotal role in managing a company’s imageMadhu Joshi firstname.lastname@example.org
Relationships are important, on all fronts. And as we say, build relationships and make them stronger. That is what Public Relations (PR) does for you. It helps in building a strong foundation and cements a relationship between you and the public. Public relations can be defined as a “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organisations and their public.”
PR plays a very pivotal role in managing a company’s image and thereby building strong brand equity. In fact, today, PR is one of the most important functions in every organisation and its role and responsibilities are a lot more defined and strategic than what it was some years back. In fact, we now have various verticals within the scope of PR, such as media relations, internal communication, crisis management, financial PR/investor relations and even government relations. Each of these verticals has their specific role to play; for example, internal communications is responsible for employee PR, handling internal newsletters, employee engagement
At a macro level, the role of PR is building awareness and a favourable image for a company, reputation management by closely monitoring numerous media channels for public comment about a company and its products, managing crisis that threaten company or brand image and building goodwill among an organisation’s target market through community, philanthropic and special programmes and events.
Why PR is so relevant in today’s scenario? It’s the age of information, at every step brands and companies are being watched and observed. Opinions are being formed not just through experience but also by word-of-mouth. All this calls for an effective strategy to manage and control opinions or influence people’s perceptions.
PR also helps in employee branding. An effective internal communication strategy has been proved useful to create positive perceptions about the company in the mind of employees. Also known as employment branding, it is a strategy to align the organisation’s image with the employee experience so that organisational messages are consistent with actions. Crisis management is another very important area which involves managing communication in time of crisis. Here, a pro-active approach helps by drawing a crisis control plan to control the damage as much as possible. What is also important is to maintain integrity and open communication to create a sense of transparency, both internally and externally.
Media is the pulse of every PR practitioner. It forms an integral part of any and every PR exercise. In fact, a PR professional assists the media by supplying them with information on a timely basis. The key thing to remember here are respecting media deadlines, providing accurate information. In so many ways, media and PR work hand in hand. The new age of social media and a sea of channels available to everyone today have led to a strong need for a well defined approach to communication. If managed well, these channels can be a boon for building a brand.
Events are also considered to be vital aspects of public relations. Organising various special events helps in building community and social relations. Events in collaboration with NGOs can be organised for fund raising activities. As the role and responsibilities of public relations has grown, so has the need for skilled and trained professionals. What is required is constant polishing and education on the subject at all levels. There has been a growth of good talent entering this industry. There has also been a rise of management institutions teaching PR as a detailed subject and as an important part of its curriculum.
PR is the most cost-effective method for promoting a brand or an organisation as a whole. Quietly but surely, the PR scene in India has undergone a metamorphosis. The Indian PR industry is growing at an annual rate of 32% and will nearly double from its current size of $6 billion to about $10.6 billion by 2012, according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. As much as brand India continues to grow, so are companies and brands and thus the requirement for perception management.
The story has just begun…
The author is director Public Relations – The Park, Hyderabad