NEED FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
Investing in Public relations will help the organization to achieve its objective effectively and smoothly. Public Relations is not creating a good image for a bad team. Since false image cannot be sustained for a long time. Though the organization product or services are good it needs an effective Public Relations campaign for attracting, motivating the public to the product or service or towards the purpose of the program. It does not only encourage the involvement of the public and also results in a better image. An effective Public Relations can create and build up the image of an individual or an organization or a nation. At the time of adverse publicity or when the organization is under crisis, an effective Public Relations can remove the "misunderstanding" and can create mutual understanding between the organization and the public.
FUNCTIONS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
• Public Relations is establishing the relationship between the two groups (organization and public).
• Art and Science of developing reciprocal understanding and goodwill.
• Analysis of the public perception & attitude identifies the organization policy with the public interest and then executes the programs for communication with the public.
ELEMENTS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
• A planned effort or management function.
• The relationship between an organization and its publics
• Evaluation of public attitudes and opinions.
• An organization's policies, procedures, and actions as they relate to the public.
• Steps taken to ensure that said policies, procedures and actions are in the public interest and socially responsible.
• Execution of action and or communication program.
• Development of rapport, goodwill, understanding, and acceptance as the chief end result sought by public relations activities.
THE COMPONENTS AND TOOLS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
A group of similar individuals; an assortment of persons having the same interests, problems, circumstances, goals; it is from such persons that opinion emanates. The public is a varied entity; it comes in many forms and sizes. The public has a multitude of wants and desires; it has its likes and dislikes, some times, strong likes and strong dislikes. Employers make for public and employees another public; the government is public and citizens constitute another public, and so on, each of these groups is a public of the sort, tries to attract a different audience with its own tools and techniques.
Human wants to create the need to establish relations with one another. The representative wants of the individuals will profoundly affect their relationship. To understand any relationship, therefore, one must understand the wants of those involved. 'Relationships are of all possible types. We have a relationship by a superior to inferior, inferior to superior, and equal to equal. We have relationships by sentiment-benevolent, Friendly, suspicious, jealous, hostile. A relationship may be active, or it may be passive it may be good or it may be bad, or it may be neutral. At any rate, the relationship is there to be accepted, ignored or altered, as desired.
Propaganda is the manipulation of symbols to transmit accepted attitudes and skills. It describes the political application of publicity and advertising, also on a large scale, to the end of selling an idea cause or candidate or all three.
These consist of concerted, single-purpose publicity program, usually on a more or less elaborate scale, employing coordinated publicity through a variety of media, aimed, at a number of targets, but focussed on specific objectives. A campaign objective may be the election of a candidate, the promotion of political cause or issue, the reaching of a sales goal, or the raising of a quota of funds.
It entails the exertion of influence, smooth and measured pressure on other, exercise of persuasion cum-pressure. In essence, it means a group putting its points of view forward in an attempt to win the other groups support.
SOME POSSIBILITIES THAT WOULD CALL FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS
To inform the new service/policy which calls for Public Relations to make wider publicity.
To overcome the resistance (pre-set mind condition).
To eliminate the contradictory conditions between the organization and the public.
Adverse publicity: To inform the truth or correct issues and thereby removing the misunderstanding.
Announcement of any unfavorable issues.
Whenever threats arise.
PUBLIC RELATIONS IN GOVERNMENT
Public relations role in government:
The Government public relations contributes to
1. Implementation of public policy.
2. Assisting the news media in coverage of government activities.
3. Reporting the citizenry on agency activities.
4. Increasing the internal cohesion of the agency.
5. Increasing the agency’s sensitive to its public’s.
6. Mobilization of support for the agency itself.
Public Relations for Government (objectives and organizations)
The basic function of the government Public Relations department/agencies is to provide information, education/instruction to the citizens. The effort should also motivate the people directly or indirectly, to discharge these functions in a meaningful and purposeful manner, it is necessary that the Public Relations Department/wing should be clear about the broad objectives which guide their work. The national objective should be non-political, non-controversial, and on which there should be a national consensus. The objectives should further the interests and the well being of the public as a whole and promote the many-sided development of the country. The objectives should be long term ones and need not necessarily change with political vagaries.
PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY
For effective implementation of the Public Relations objective, a Public Relations strategy is to be evolved. The process of strategy starts with planning which consists of
a. Determining Key results area
b. Define roles
c. Selecting and setting objectives
d. Preparing action plans relating to programming, scheduling, budgeting, fixing accountability and establishing rules and procedures.
Guidelines for planning a successful campaign.
- Assessment of the needs, goals, and capabilities of target audiences.
- Systematic campaign planning and production
- Continuous evaluation
- Complementary roles of mass media and interpersonal communication
- Selection of appropriate media for target audiences.
PUBLIC RELATIONS PROCESS
Public Relations can be defined as relations with the general public through publicity, those functions of a corporation, organization, branch of military service, etc., concerned with informing the public of its activities, policies, etc., attempting to create favorable public opinions. Public Relations is the planned effort to influence opinion through responsible performance, based upon mutually satisfactory two-way communications.
This involves probing the opinions, attitudes, and reactions of those concerned with the acts and policies of an organization, then evaluating the inflow. This task also requires determining facts regarding the organization
- Planning-decision making:
This involves bringing the attitudes, opinions, ideas, and reactions of the public to bear on the policies and programs of the organization which enables the organization to chart a course in the interests of all concerned
This involves explaining and dramatizing the chosen course to all those who may be affected and whose support is essential
This involves evaluating the results of the program and the effectiveness of the techniques used. The first phase of Public Relations process is identifying and listing out the information or message to the communicator. The second phase of Public Relations is the process to ascertain the existing image or awareness level about the issue in the target group or common public. The third phase of Public Relations is developing communication objectives and priorities. The fourth phase of Public Relations deals with developing the message and choosing the media to transit. The fifth phase of Public Relations is the implementation of the message and media, coordination or the dissemination of the message. The sixth phase of Public Relations is the communication process to check whether a message reached properly and the expected action or behaviour or knowledge on image factors. The seventh phase of Public Relations, in case the message did not reach properly, identifying the reason for the ineffectiveness and rectification of the same and disseminate the revised message.
1. Listing and prioritizing of information to be disseminated: May wish to inform the public:
a) The new policy of the Government or organization
b) The change in the existing policy
c) The new scheme promoted
d) The change in the existing scheme.
Public Relations activity starts with identifying the message to be disseminated and prioritized.
2. Ascertaining the existing knowledge level of understanding the perceptions of the public:
The organization can conduct a quick survey among the target group of the public to ascertain the knowledge level of the issue for which the organization is planning to initiate Public Relations process and in case of the image it is essential to know whether the image is positive, neutral or negative in terms of the assessment or in terms of the organization or both.
3. Communication objectives and priorities:
Based on the knowledge level or image factor, communication objectives are to be established which is possible to evaluate and the top management approval is required. For example, communication objective instead of using the term increasing awareness level about the scheme, it should be specific.
4. Message and Media:
After choosing the objective, the content of the message needs to be developed. While developing the message we should keep in mind the media in which we are going to use for disseminating that message. TV/Visual media may be effective for awareness. Training media may be effective whether the recipient may wish to keep the gap or further reference.
5. Implementation of message and media:
Based on the expected reaching level and target group, the budget is to be prepared and the message is transmitted through the appropriate media's.
6. Impact assessment:
After the release of the message, it is essential to study the impact at regular intervals by interacting with the target group.
7. Message redesigned:
In case, the interaction of the target group reveals the message did not reach as expected the modification in message or media needs to be done and the revised message should be disseminated. The research process:
Opinion, market, and academic researchers have developed a pattern of research that involves nine basic steps:
1) Statement of the problem
2) Selection of a manageable portion of the problem
3) Definition of concepts and terms
4) Literature search
5) Development of hypothesis
6) Determination of a study design
7) Gathering of the data
8) Analysis of the data
9) Recording of the implications, generalization, conclusions
Research for analysis of a specific problem should include these elements:
i) A broad overview of what has gone before that influences the present situation
ii) Changes expected in the environment in the next year or so that could affect the organization.
iii) Social, political and economic trends foreseeable in the next five to ten years that could affect the organization
iv) What the organization can do to influence the public to accelerate favorable trends and slow down unfavorable ones.
Image is the mental perceptions of the person related to an Object, a Product, Service, an individual or an organization. The image need not necessarily be true and the image is only an indication that how a person is perceived by the other(s). The organizations do have an image in the minds of public, customer, employee, Government or for that matter in any interested group. Some organizations enjoy a favorable image, whereas some organization do not. The image is beneficial for organizations for achieving their objective. There are many images viz., Friendly, Speedy, Honest, Corruptive, Efficient, etc. Though we can not say which is the right image or wrong image, we can say some images is favorable to an organization for achieving its objective with relative ease.
IMAGE BUILDING EXERCISES
The Image building exercises start with understanding the present image and to chalk out, the desired image and to channelize all the Public Relations activities towards it. Now let us see how Public Relations department can understand the present image. The Public Relations department can gather information from various sources through appropriate data collection method. Some of the data collection methods which will be helpful for understanding the image is described below:
1) Primary Data through interviews: The primary data collection method is the best-suited method and organizations try to contact the target groups (Public) and gather information. This is possible by developing a structured schedule or a non - structured interview and encourage the respondent to come out with the information in a friendly atmosphere and spontaneously. Such information collected from various groups will form the basis for analysis.
2) Data from secondary sources: Organisation can collect information/data especially in forms of images, from published sources, information such as article or coverage by newspapers or journals, the organization is referred in some reports or referred at a public meeting. This may provide a clue to how the people view the organization. This will also help the organization in understanding and analyzing the situation.
3) Analysis: The data collected from the primary and secondary method can form the basis for analysis and the required information is to be culled out with reference to image / public perception. This refers to the image prevailing at that time among the target group or group from which the information is obtained. The present image could be favorable neutral unfavorable/ undesirable/desired Image: The organization may prefer a certain image and they like to project that image the minds of the public or among the target group. Normally top management and P.R. departments are involving in this exercise and they will identify the Mission Statement of the organization and the preferred image that will help the organization to achieve its mission. Based on the existing image and the preferred image, it is essential to note that whether the preferred image is deviating from the present image or closely associated or neutral and based on the existing image that needs to be focused. In the case of a negative or unfavorable image, P.R. needs to focus first on either neutralizing or removing the misunderstanding about the organization and then develop the required impressions. In the case of a neutral or favorable image, Public Relations can focus on more details about the organization for creating a favorable preferred image. Public Relations functions need to adopt the appropriate strategy, by choosing the appropriate message, appropriate media for the information in a most effective manner so that the desired image can be creative and that will contribute to the organization's success and growth.
Public Opinion Research:
Public Opinion Research ascertains what people think about an organization its policy, service, etc. and why they think so as well as their attitudes toward the organization, etc.
Image Study: The image study seeks to understand how an organization is known, its reputation and also what people think about its service, policies, etc.
Motivation research ascertains why the public attaches favor or disfavor and why they are showing a positive attitude or negative attitude and also the underlying emotional factor.
Effectiveness Surveys helps to measure the impact of Public Relations activities on public opinion. Before initiating Public Relations activities, a survey is conducted to ascertain the attitude of the people and another survey is conducted after the campaign to check the impact and whether the public opinion is tilted in favor of the Public Relations objectives. Public Relations plays an important vital role in enhancing the image of the organization in the eyes of the public. Public Relations is not projecting the negative as positive. Public Relations is the process of communication with the group for whom the organization is existing and for whom the organization functions.
Communication program consists of message, media, and budget. The word communication is derived from the Latin communis, meaning "common." The purpose of communication is to establish a common ground. The basic elements in communication are the source or sender, the message, and the destination or receiver. Effective communication requires efficiency on the part of all three. The communicator must use a channel that will carry the message to the receiver. The message must be within the receiver's capacity for comprehension. The message must motivate the receiver's self-interest and cause him or her to respond. Communicators need to bear in mind that communication is no substitute for policy and action. A sender can encode a message and a receiver decode it only in terms of their own experience and knowledge. When there has been no common experience, then communication becomes virtually impossible. Commonness in communication is essential to link people and purpose together in any cooperative system. The Communication program includes:
- Developing the message
- Selection of media
- Appropriate budget for implementing the program
For achieving the desired result, the message should be developed properly and clearly. The appropriate message should have the following attributes:
3) Concise Clear
Clear: The message should be free of ambiguity and it is necessary to ensure that slang phrases/usage are avoided and also the message should be free from perceptional distortions. As far as possible, one should use simple language, simple style, appropriate words, and the right tone.
Correct: The credibility of the message is based on the credibility of the source and also the correctness of the content. It is essential to ensure that the information provided (message) is true, without bias and verifiable. It is essential to avoid content based on rumors, hearsay as well as a source of no origin.
Concise: Since message dissemination involves time and effort for transmitting as well as receiving or absorbing, hence it should be crisp enough to give information and at the same time not occupying more time than is necessary. The content should revolve around the core element of the message; frills and verbose/ornamental language needs to be avoided.
The effectiveness of the message depends upon the above three attributes and if even one component is missing or negative, the result will also be negative or not as per the expectations.
Some Specific Guidelines
Practitioners and executives alike can benefit by following the following guidelines:
1. Talk from the viewpoint of the public's interest, not the organization's.
2. Speak in personal terms whenever possible. When many people have worked on developing a new product or adopting a new policy, it becomes difficult for the executive to say "I."
3. If you do not want some statement quoted, do not make it. Spokespersons should avoid talking "off the record," because such statements may well wind up being published without the source.
4. State the most important fact at the beginning. The executive's format may first list the facts that led to the final conclusion, but such an organization will fail when talking with the news media.
5. Do not argue with the reporter or lose your cool. Understand that the journalist seeks an interesting story and will use whatever techniques necessary to obtain it.
6. If a question contains offensive language or simply words you do not like, do not repeat them even to deny them. Reporters often use the gambit of putting words into the subject's mouth.
7. If the reporter asks a direct question, give an equally direct answer. Not giving one is common error executive are prone to make.
8. If a spokesperson does not know the answer to a question, one should simply say, " I don't know, but I'll find out for you." With this, the spokesperson assumes the responsibility of following through.
9. Tell the truth, even if it hurts. In this era of skepticism and hostility, the most difficult task is often simply telling the truth.
10. Do not exaggerate the facts. Crying wolf makes it harder to be heard next time out. These guidelines simply add up to the rule that profitable press relations require adherence to the " Five Fs": fast, factual, frank, fair and friendly.
Essentials of Good Copy
Essentials of good publicity copy are essentials of good news writing. Good news copy must be curt, clear, concise. Squeeze all the news value you can into your story, but don't exaggerate.
Print Media: Here are some fundamental principles for print advertising:
1. Use simple Layouts
2. The illustration is usually more important than Headline
3. Look for story appeal in illustration
4. Photographs work better than artwork
5. Offer a benefit in the Headline
6. Don’t be afraid of long copy
7. Make it easy to read
8. Every advertisement should be a complete sale
9. Break out of the mold
10. Design the advertisement for the medium
HINTS FOR WRITING PRESS RELEASE
• Choose positive rather than passive headline
• the First paragraph should be sharp and crisp.
• Prepare small paragraphs.
• Avoid superfluous expressions.
• Avoid uncommon words.
• Avoid jargon and the use of initials.
• Check the spelling of people and place names.
• Type on one side in double spacing and leave a good margin.
• Better give, one page 25 lines write up.
• Check the appearance of the information and make it attractive.
• Put the date & time and mention contact person and telephone number for clarifications if needed. WHILE HANDLING PRESS QUESTIONS
• Ability to think and react to questions instantly
• Crisis management skill
TEN PRINCIPLES FOR TV MEDIA
1. The picture should tell the story. Forget every other point and remember this one, and you will be ahead of the game.
2. Look for a visual symbol.
3. Grab the viewer’s attention.
4. Be single-minded.
5. Register the name of your product.
6. People are interested in people.
7. Show a payoff.
8. Reflect your brand personality.
9. Less is more.
10. Build campaigns.
A commercial is presented in the form of a “storyboard” that pictures the main action of the commercial and describes what the viewer will see (the video) and hear (the audio). It will generally include some technical terms, only a few of which you must know. Casting and special effects are particularly hard to visualize. It helps to show clips from television shows or movies to suggest the kind of actors or actresses wanted or to demonstrate unusual production techniques.