Long Island Public Relations
Public relations (PR) is the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
An earlier definition of public relations, by The first World Assembly of Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico City, in August 1978, was “the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest.”
Others define it as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.Public relations provides an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that provide a third-party endorsement and do not direct payment. Common activities include speaking at conferences, working with the media, crisis communications, social media engagement, and employee communication.
The European view of public relations notes that besides a relational form of interactivity there is also a reflective paradigm that is concerned with publics and the public sphere; not only with relational, which can in principle be private, but also with public consequences of organizational behaviour A much broader view of interactive communication using the Internet, as outlined by Phillips and Young in Online Public Relations Second Edition (2009), describes the form and nature of Internet-mediated public relations. It encompasses social media and other channels for communication and many platforms for communication such as personal computers (PCs), mobile phones and video game consoles with Internet access. The increasing use of the mentioned technologies give the media a democratisation power and thus, aid to the demystification of subjects.
Public relations is used to build rapport with employees, customers, investors, voters, or the general public. Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. There are a number of public relations disciplines falling under the banner of corporate communications, such as analyst relations, media relations, investor relations, internal communications and labor relations. Most of them include the aspect of peer review to get liability.
Other public relations disciplines include:
Financial public relations – providing information mainly to business reporters
Consumer/lifestyle public relations – gaining publicity for a particular product or service, rather than using advertising
Crisis public relations – responding to negative accusations or information
Industry relations – providing information to trade bodies
Government relations – engaging government departments to influence policymaking
Public relations and publicity are not synonymous, but many public relations campaigns include provisions for publicity. Publicity is the spreading of information to gain public awareness for a product, person, service, cause or organization, and can be seen as a result of effective public relations planning. More recently in public relations, professionals are using technology as their main tool to get their messages to target audiences. With the creation of social networks, blogs, and even Internet radio public relations professionals are able to send direct messages through these mediums that attract the target audiences. Methods used to find out what is appealing to target audiences include the use of surveys, conducting research or even focus groups. Tactics are the ways to attract target audiences by using the information gathered about that audience and directing a message to them using tools such as social mediums or other technology. Another emerging theme is the application of psychological theories of impression management.
There are various tools that can be used in the practice of public relations. Traditional tools include press releases and media kits which are sent out to generate positive press on behalf of the organization. Other widely used tools include brochures, newsletters and annual reports. Increasingly, companies are utilizing interactive social media outlets, such as
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, foursquare (social network), etc.)as tools in their public relations campaigns. Unlike the traditional tools which allowed for only one-way communication, social media outlets allow the organization to engage in two-way communication, and receive immediate feedback from their various stakeholders and public. Furthermore companies can join discussions with multiple user identities to create a positive image of the company (e.g. quantity of positive statements from different usersOne of the most popular and traditional tools used by public relations professionals is a press kit, also known as a media kit. A press kit is usually a folder that consists of promotional materials that give information about an event, organization, business, or even a person. What are included would be backgrounders or biographies, fact sheets, press releases (or media releases), media alerts, brochures, newsletters, photographs with captions, copies of any media clips, and social mediums. With the way that the industry has changed, many organizations may have a website with a link, “Press Room” which would have online versions of these documents.The art of public relations is more than simply press kits and social media. ‘PR’ is synonymous in many people’s minds with “Press Release”, but the tools of the PR industry are actually many and varied as well as sophisticated and subtle. They include media relations kits containing video and audio news releases, referred to in the industry as VNRs and ANRs, which are often carefully produced to emulate the signature style of a particular network news or current affairs program. These products are then delivered to networks and run as regular program content, with or without source acknowledgment, thereby saving the network tens of thousands of dollars in production costs and delivering for the client of the PR firm an extremely effective and subtle method of managing public opinion. Crisis and issues management campaigns often utilize VNRs and ANRs in their efforts to manage information pertaining to threats to client reputation or profit. Astroturfing, or creating front groups designed to appear as genuine grass roots movements, (hence astroturf or fake grass) has proven to be a very effective method of opinion management because people are less suspicious and critical of “ordinary people voicing their concerns” than they are of representatives of corporations or governments. Buzz generation, or buzz marketing is another powerful and subversive form of PR in which people are paid to create a “buzz” amongst their peers by exposing them to products or opinions in a manner that appears not to be deliberate marketing or opinion management. Most PR campaigns use many or all of these “communication” techniques and a great many more in creative ways that deliver practical results in marketing or public opinion management.Targeting publics
A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience, and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience. It can be a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often a segment of a population. A good elevator pitch can help tailor messaging to each target audience. Marketers often refer to socio-economically driven “demographics”, such as “black males 18-49”. However, in public relations an audience is more fluid, being whoever someone wants to reach. Or, in the new paradigm of value based networked social groups, the values based social segment could be a trending audience. For example, recent political audiences seduce such buzzword monikers as “soccer moms” and “NASCAR dads.”
An alternative and less flexible, more simplistic, approach uses stakeholders theory to identify people who have a stake in a given institution or issue. All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are audiences. For example, if a charity commissions a public relations agency to create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for a disease, the charity and the people with the disease are stakeholders, but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money.
Sometimes the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to a public relations effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but complementary messages. This is not always easy to do, and sometimes, especially in politics, a spokesperson or client says something to one audience that creates dissonance with another audience or group of stakeholders.
Lobby groups are established to influence government policy, corporate policy, or public opinion. An example of this is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which influences American foreign policy toward another country. Such groups claim to represent a particular interest and in fact are dedicated to doing so. When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support base, it is known as a front group. Moreover, governments may also lobby public relations firms in order to sway public opinion. A well illustrated example of this is the way civil war in Yugoslavia was portrayed. Governments of the newly seceded republics of Croatia and Bosnia, as well as Serbia invested heavily with UK and American public relations firms, so that they would give them a positive image in the USA.
Main article: Spin (public relations)
In public relations, spin is sometimes a pejorative term signifying a heavily biased portrayal in specific favor of an event or situation. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, spin often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics. Politicians are often accused of spin by commentators and political opponents when they produce a counterargument or position.
The techniques of spin include selectively presenting facts and quotes that support ideal positions (cherry picking), the so-called “non-denial denial”, phrasing that in a way presumes unproven truths, euphemisms for drawing attention away from items considered distasteful, and ambiguity in public statements. Another spin technique involves careful choice of timing in the release of certain news so it can take advantage of prominent events in the news. A famous reference to this practice occurred when British Government press officer Jo Moore used the phrase “It’s now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury”, (widely paraphrased or misquoted as “It’s a good day to bury bad news”), in an email sent on the day of the September 11 attacks in 2001. The furor caused when this email was reported in the press eventually caused her to resign.
Skilled practitioners of spin are sometimes called “spin doctors”, despite the negative connotation associated with the term. Perhaps the best-known person in the UK often described as a “spin doctor” is Alastair Campbell, who was involved with Tony Blair’s public relations between 1994 and 2003, and also played a controversial role as press relations officer to the British and Irish Lions rugby union side during their 2005 tour of New Zealand.
State-run media in many countries also engage in spin by selectively allowing news stories that are favorable to the government while censoring anything that could be considered critical. They may also use propaganda to indoctrinate or actively influence citizens’ opinions. Privately run media may also use the same techniques of “issue” versus “non-issue” to spin its particular political viewpoints
Negative public relations, also called dark public relations (DPR), is a process of destroying the target’s reputation and/or corporate identity. In other words, instead of concentrating efforts in the maintenance and the creation of a positive reputation or image of your clients, the objective is to discredit someone else, usually a business rival. Unlike the regular services in public relations, those in DPR rely on the development of industries such as IT security, industrial espionage, social engineering and competitive intelligence. A common technique is finding all of the dirty secrets of their target and turning them against their very own holder.