Public relations activities represent a deliberate, planned and continuous action of an organization (enterprise) on the establishment and maintenance of understanding between the organization and its environment.
Relations of public relations and marketing
The relationship between marketing and public relations creates misunderstandings, both in theory and in practice. There are two different views.
One view reduces public relations to a part or marketing tool. Since marketing is viewed as a basic business function, it is also the duty of public relations to contribute to the realization of marketing goals. According to characteristics, public relations are classified into a form of promotional activities and thus put into the improvement of sales, personal sales and propaganda. A PR manager should be part of a marketing team when a marketing activity is realized. However, buyers are not the only category of public with which to have effective communication, which is a good argument for those who claim that the PR function should be independent of the marketing function.
Another view considers PR as the fundamental activity of the company within which the marketing function is but only as a segment of the company’s social and business roles. Some organizations look at exchanges with customers as part of the overall relationship of organizations with the environment, which makes marketing part of the public relations function. All marketing activities are treated as PR instruments. This particularly refers to propaganda and publicity, which in some ways neglects their economic role.
What is common to both functions (both PR and marketing) is to highlight the need for an organization to determine its relationship to the environment. The organization must be open to the market, which expresses a marketing function, that is, to the public, which expresses the function of public relations.
Depending on the extent to which the organization is market-active or how close to other segments of the public, it is possible to identify the four levels of development of these functions:
The first group includes organizations that do not have any of these functions in the formal sense. These are, as a rule, small organizations that do not operate according to economic principles, and have little contact with the public.
The second group includes organizations that are not directly market-oriented (state universities, hospitals …), but they are very public. In principle, their position with state institutions, which affects their financial status and position in the society, indirectly depends on the influence on the public. They have a strong function of relationship with the public, and marketing is starting to become more and more interested in them.
In the third group, companies are struggling for the affection of buyers in the market, where marketing is of priority importance. They compete with product innovation, pricing, distribution system, and the promotional mix is highly represented. Everything is subordinate to market success, and in this respect, it is understandable the desire for PR to be prom-market-oriented.
The fourth group is large enterprises, as a rule, of national and international character. They are market-oriented and the marketing function of the complex is developed and organized. At the same time, they have a relationship of trust and cooperation with various segments of the public, so they must have a well-organized and well-managed function of public relations.
PR and direct sale:
By making direct sales, sellers realize ad hoc or permanent contacts with
customers and consumers, and their work, each at its own level, and the public rileysens, but within precisely defined limits. Bearing in mind this role, sellers must be trained and appropriately prepared by experts for the public rileys. This also provides the opportunity to communicate directly with customers if they are faced with problems related to a possible weak image of the company, point to PR experts on these problems and together define the answers to such challenges.
PR and sales promotion:
Sales promotion activities are different from PRs in that they are directed at the customer as a target group. However, at the same time they have contact with other segments of the public, contributing to the strengthening or weakening of the image of the company in the eyes of the public. For this reason, such an action to promote sales in a certain way is also the action of the Rileys League.
In the event of misunderstanding, criticism or omission in the organization of sales promotion activities, the public can react violently. In such situations, PR PR experts react and protect the company’s image.
PR and publicity:
Publicity is the dissemination of positive information about the company and its products and services in the media that the public media and the media think they would be interested in their auditorium. Since the company does not finance it, it is considered out of control. The PR has a broader concept than publicity, because it is not focused only on mass media, although co-operation with the media makes a significant part of its activity. Publicity is, therefore, a form of communication with the public and at the same time an important instrument in the realization of goals of the company’s public relations team.
PR and propaganda:
Propaganda is a form of massive paid communication with the market through mass media in which all the elements depend on the success (content of the message, frequencies, creations …) under the control of the company. Unlike propaganda, PR, if it is going through mass media, wants to seize their interest in the content of the message, but it does not go as advertising material. Therefore, the firm can not directly affect the space, time and quality of the broadcasting of the message, such as propaganda.
PR can still use propaganda as a means to achieve its goals.
Example, If an enterprise wants to publicly express its views on important social issues, it can use paid ads. Such a form of PR advertising is increasingly gaining importance in the conditions of an increasingly active participation of enterprises in all aspects of social and political life.
The PR planning process consists of several phases:
1. Analyzes of the communicative state on the relation of the company – the public;
2. Defining goals (in terms of correction of the situation)
3. Defining the budget or PR costs
4. Defining the strategy
5. Establish a PR plan in the narrow sense ie. defining actions and selecting media
6. Implementation of the adopted program of actions
7. Measurements of the results achieved
The mentioned phases are not implemented strictly and the mentioned process does not only go forward but also backwards, when the need for additional research is identified, redefining the objectives.
At this stage, the company comes up with information that will help to see the real dream in a public relations firm, find out why the situation is as it is, and it is possible to forecast the course of the development of the problem if no corrective action is taken. By a plan approach to the Public Relation, a company can define all questions related to public research: who, what, when, how and for whom to conduct research. The question “who” in fact means determining the target group in the public that will be the subject of research. This is important because the importance of certain public for the company is different and each public usually has its own field of interest from the domain of business and company activities.
The public can be segmented according to different criteria. Segmenting the public to seven groups:
1. Financial public – there are various financial institutions that contribute to solving the financial needs of companies and according to which the company seeks to build the reputation of a solvent and financially responsible entity.
2. The media – media organizations, newspapers, radio, television where the company wants more representation and support.
3. A country made up of various state institutions and organizations, according to which the enterprise wants to build a bridge of trust and to show that its work is in the interests of the economy and the state as a whole.
4. Citizens – individually or as diverse internal groups according to which
the enterprise must express the respect of respect and trust
5. Local public – it is the local population and organizations, which represent the planning point of all external communication channels.
6. A broader public that represents a regional or national public according to which the company develops the image of a good cooperative citizen.
7. Internal public made up of all the employees and towards which the internal communication activity is directed, in order to achieve greater motivation of employees and formed feelings of belonging to a prospective company.
The choice of objectives will depend on the particular situation. Day divides goals into three groups:
1. Management – display the company in the best public, improve the image of the company with the selected segment of the community.
2. Communicative – emphasis is on familiarizing the public with the existence of companies, providing affection and positive attitude of the public to the benefit of the enterprise
3. Marketing – is reduced to cooperation with other marketing activities, primarily with promotional. It is about preparing the public in a given marketplace for accepting a product or a new marketing strategy.
The objectives should be specified, measurable, realistic and socially acceptable.
Objectives can be diverse, and the basis for their definition is the communicative state of the company. If the results of the survey of the image of the company are good, the goal of the new PR program can be to continue with the activities that led to such a situation. If, however, the company is not satisfied with the perception of the public, the will will certainly be changing the image or undertaking new activities.
Two approaches in budgeting:
1. Goal and task method – the budget is generated at the end of the planning process, when objectives are defined, the selected strategies, as well as the means and methods for their optimal realization. An implicit assumption is that financial means are not
2. In practice, it usually starts from PR costs in the previous period, which are increased by some agreed percentage. Problems arise in crisis situations due to the relations in the firm-public relations.
A possible method is to look at competitors, but this method has serious shortcomings: there are no two companies with an identical situation that can be controlled by the same methods; In addition, the company is left to be led by competition, which is bad.
Some of the typical PR costs are:
1. Salaries and allowances of temporary or permanent employees in the PR department
2. General expenses, such as office space, equipment, telephones, postage, membership fees.
3. Production costs, such as printing various materials (video tapes, newsletters, design, graphics, etc.)
4. Research costs that precede planning and research to measure results
5. Travel expenses of employees in the PR department or those who are engaged in the realization of the program
6. Rental costs for individual stocks (eg conference room)
The company can choose from four strategies: anticipation,
adaptation, opposition and avoidance.
In the anticipative strategy, the company anticipates the requirements of the public and prepares a response to them. For example. if a company plans to raise prices, a negative public reaction can be expected in the form of criticism, boycott, and so on. The company must develop good communication in advance in order to explain its plan and gain relevant segments of the public.
Adjustment strategy – reactive strategy; the company awaits reactions by the public and seeks to weaken its negative effects.
An opposing strategy implies that the company is strong enough to bear the negative consequences for image and business results, while finding the allies in some other segment of the public. For example. if the union is expected to organize a strike, management may try to reduce its significance or justification in the eyes of members of other segments of the public in advance.
Avoidance strategy is defensive; it implies that the company actually avoids communication because it does not see the possibility of changing something in public attitudes.
When creating a strategy, it is necessary to pay attention to the creation of a message and the choice of media for its transmission.
The goal of the message is to form public attitudes that provide for its affection for the activities of the company.
When selecting the media, it is necessary to take into account their technical characteristics (in relation to the selected segment of the public and the goal of communication), and economic characteristics (costs)
In the case of internal communication, we distinguish between direct (programming of managers’ or CEO’s speeches before employees, or communication of executives with employees individually) and indirect channels (posters of letters, newsletters, brochures, catalogs, recorded speeches, recorded statements, providing employees
special access to the site, where they can find specific information.
All channels used in internal communication can also be used for
communication with the external public. However, certain specificities should be considered:
1. By communicating with the public, the enterprise is involved in the system of public, social communication in which certain standards, laws and rules;
2. Auditorium, as part of the overall public, which makes our target group more difficult to define, and more difficult to locate spatially;
3. Members of each segment of the public are more or less exposed to communicative pressure from a variety of sources, not only from a particular company, so the fight for their attention and interest is harsh;
4. Controlling external channels of communication, even with paid ads, is less than in internal communication.
Direct communication is especially important on two grounds: it directly affects the participants in direct communication, and then the information is spread
mouth-to-mouth system; In addition, there is a potential interest of mass media to broadcast in their own way what was said in direct public address
The company has several forms of contact with the media available, with the most important ones being press releases and press conferences.
Press Releases – implies that it is a news item about an event in an enterprise that the company wants to market, but not in the form of a paid ad, and can have a daily or durable value.
Press conferences – the most complex and important form of media relations between companies; journalists are invited to a specific place and time to hear or participate in an event; It is organized when the news is very important and it is expected to raise many questions, or if the news itself requires the presentation of a particular model or special item.