Team Wizikey

Written by Team Wizikey

November 25, 2019

What is Public Relations? PR Definition in 2020

Your guide to understanding the power of Public Relations (PR) and how you can use it in 2020 I. What is Public Relations? Public relations is communication to convince the target (customers, investors, media) to promote your idea, buy your product or recognize your achievements. The ultimate goal of PR is to bring about a […]

What is Public Relations? PR Definition in 2020

Your guide to understanding the power of Public Relations (PR) and how you can use it in 2020

I. What is Public Relations?

Public relations is communication to convince the target (customers, investors, media) to promote your idea, buy your product or recognize your achievements. The ultimate goal of PR is to bring about a change in the behavior of your target audience to help you achieve your business goals. Public relations entail a range of activities from getting coverage in the newspaper to create awareness about your product to asking people to pour a bucket of ice on their heads and post it on social media- The ice bucket challenge. FYI, the ice bucket challenge raised  $115 million for ALS disorder. Its success speaks volumes for the power of PR.

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations,”

– Bill Gates, the iconic founder of Microsoft.

That is more than enough reason for anyone to pay attention to the power of PR. We know it got your attention too. And that is why this blog is for YOU – whether you are an entrepreneur looking to multiply his/her results, a working professional reading to upgrade his skills or a PR expert looking to refresh his knowledge. So let’s dive in.

In this Post you will learn the following 4 aspects.

What is PR?

Why does your business need PR?

How can PR help your business?

What are the different types of PR?


What is PR as per PRCA- The largest PR professional body representing 30,000 Public Relations professionals in UK defines PR as

‘PR’, is all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image.

The way an organisation is represented in the media has a huge impact on how people perceive it. PR professionals try to influence the media to represent their organisation positively and communicate key messages.

“PR includes various things – from getting coverage in a newspaper to asking people to dump a bucket of ice on their heads and post it on social media.


II. Why does your business need PR?

 For Startups – For SME – For Conglomerate

PR is critically important for success. Why? Well for starters, PR can get people to buy from you, invest in you and work for you. For any business(or person) to succeed, it is not enough to do groundbreaking work. The world must recognize you, credit you and reward you for it. PR is your way to get that reward, use it to fuel your growth and reach the pinnacle of success. The American business tycoon John D. Rockefeller said, “ Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.

A good PR strategy can help you accomplish various goals depending on the size and stage of your company.

1. PR For Startups

“But startups don’t need PR” is one of the biggest myths in the ecosystem. Startups are like aspiring stars looking to get their break in Hollywood.

Initially, no one knows you. Making people aware of who you are and what you do is your first and most important need. You need PR to introduce yourself to the world. Secondly, startups need recognition and validation because they are venturing into unknown territory trying to prove that they can build a scalable business from their idea. PR can help you get that recognition from credible sources so that the world knows that what you are doing is legit. Thirdly, startups need credibility. They need to inspire trust in employees, clients, customers, and investors.

PR can help you build credibility by consistently updating the world of your milestones and become a source of testimonials.  

2. PR for Small & Medium Enterprises

Small and Medium Enterprises live in a different world from the glamorous world of startups.
SMEs sell known products to known customers. Startups thrive on novel ground-breaking ideas. Thus, getting the right attention for SMEs can become a challenge. For instance, imagine running a shoe-making factory in a country where thousands like yours exist. How do you distinguish yourself from the competition? PR can help you draw attention and set you apart from the rest by helping you define your brand identity. SMEs also require cost-effective promotions. They do not have the financial strength of big companies nor do they have the funding of startups. Thus, PR can help them achieve cost-effective promotions. In addition, SMEs thrive on relations with the community. Going back to the shoe-factory example, setting up a factor in a village would require support from the local people.

This is where PR can help by getting your business’s message across to the community.

3. PR for Conglomerate

Conglomerates are huge companies with multiple offices, numerous employees and a massive scale of operations. They already have an established customer base and a reputation that needs to be maintained and protected. People should continue to love to associate with their brand. In the words of Seth Godin, “people do not buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories, and magic.” PR can help big companies to protect their reputation from rumors in the market and maintain a positive perception.


III. How can PR help your business?

By now you have figured out that your business most probably needs PR but how will PR actually fulfill those needs? Let’s get into the specifics of what PR can do for you :

1. Generate Business leads

If they don’t know you, they won’t buy from you or partner with you. Effective public relations can improve your business results by generating awareness and new leads. For instance, just imagine the amount of visibility you could generate if your company’s product was covered by a leading news publication such as Times of India. When your company is covered in targeted media outlets, it becomes more visible to prospects.

2. Raise investments

Think of Public Relations as the pitch before the pitch. If you have already attracted the attention of the Venture Capitalists through the right placements, then your chances of raising funding go up significantly. Imagine stepping into a board meeting with an investor who says he has already read an article about your company. With the right messaging and strategy, PR increases your credibility as a stable and potentially lucrative investment target.

3. Hire talented employees

The top professionals do their own research before joining any company and therefore it is imperative for every company to project itself as a great employer for prospective talent. With PR, you can gradually cultivate a reputation as one of your industry’s most sought after employers and use the talent to accelerate your growth. For example, getting featured in a listicle in such as one titled “Top Companies to work for in 2019” can do wonders for attracting potential talent.

4. Protect your reputation

It’s a no-brainer that a company is as good as its reputation. Misformation in the market can severely damage your sales. A proactive PR strategy can help every business survive and control crisis. Remember the news about worms in Cadbury chocolates or the presence of lead in Maggi. It was only by virtue of a solid PR strategy these companies were able to deal with such enormous threats and keep their reputations and consequently, their business intact.

5. Build Trust

Public Relations can help you build trust through the voice of third parties.
Think about it. Who would you trust more? A salesman who calls you in the middle of the day talking about his amazing offer meant exclusively for you or a friend who recommends a product that he has used himself. A recommendation coming from an unbiased third party is always more effective than the one coming from the company because customers know that the company has a selfish motive to push their products. Similarly, a post about your product coming from the blogger is always more credible than an advertisement coming from the company’s social media page.

6. Tell your own story

The way you carry yourself, your behaviour and the way you talk tells your story to other people. Similarly, it is imperative for a company to tell its story to its audience: What products does it make? What values does it stand for? Who are the people behind the business? All of this goes a long way in establishing solid relationships with customers, investors, and employees. PR allows you to tell your own story in a manner that presents you in a favourable light.


IV. What are the different types of PR?

Alright. You get it. PR is great for your business. It can deliver amazing results. But what does it actually involve? What are the different types of PR activities? Is it just about getting that great article with a beautiful picture in the newspaper or something more? Let us find out.

1. Media Relations

The goal of media relations is to generate positive news about your company and your product. Basically, you want the media to promote you for free. But the journalists won’t give you coverage just like that. You have to figure out the hook in your story to get the journalists to write about you or feature you on televisions/digital media broadcasts. The process involves writing press releases, scheduling interviews and organizing press events. All of this will help you not just in getting your business the necessary exposure but will also encourage the media to market your brand.

2. Crisis Management

You need crisis management when all hell breaks loose. For instance, a top leader in a company gets publicly accused of indecent behaviour as happened in the case of the #MeToo movement or your product malfunctions resulting in an accident. It involves acknowledging, managing, and working to reverse negative communication and perception surrounding a business crisis. The process entails pro-actively having a crisis plan in place, monitoring conversations in the traditional as well as social media for any signs of negative news and promptly clearing the air about any rumors going about the company. 

3. Community Relations

You cannot expect to run a successful business without the support of the community. For instance, your startup may come up with a product that brings about a radical improvement in the lives of people but they may be resistant to your company for the simple reason that they do not know you.The goal of community relations is to create and maintain positive relations with the community. It may entail community events such as grand openings, customer loyalty celebrations or taking up a charitable cause that is relevant to the community.

4. Business Events

Business events are great opportunities to market your products or services and gain exposure for your brand. For instance, if you are a founder of an automobile company, getting yourself a speaker slot in an event that brings together the big names in the automobile sector can get you stellar visibility for your company’s products while building relationships with the key stakeholders. Business events can also turn into important sales opportunities and also give you the opportunity to talk about your unique innovation.

5. Employee Relations

Your employees are your best brand ambassadors. For any business, it is important that its external audience such as investors, customers, and community think highly of the company. It is equally important that the internal audience which is the employees also regard the company in a favourable light. After all, you don’t just pitch your brand to your customers, you also pitch to your employees. Employee relations, also known as internal PR, are done to ensure employees remain loyal, happy and motivated. This process may include dedicated employee newsletters or communications, employee perks and benefits, free training and skill-boosting opportunities, employee appreciation events, and working with unions or employee groups.

6. Corporate and Social Responsibility

Just like you wouldn’t want to associate with an unethical person, your customers also wouldn’t want to buy from a company that has a bad reputation for unethical practices. Thus, social responsibility is a critical area of Public Relations that focuses on improving a company’s reputation for ethics, environmental responsibility, and community and charity works. It could involve taking up cause-related campaigns, sometimes even taking stands on political issues and ensuring compliance with the laws. All in all, it requires that the company comes across as a socially responsible entity.

7. Social Media

Customers have started using social media to get companies to pay attention to their problems. It is not uncommon to find a person’s social media profile littered with complaints against different companies. Thus, it is important that as part of your PR, you pay close attention to what customers are talking about your company online and address those issues instantly. Social media also allows you to monitor the negative conversations about your brand and address them promptly.  Moreover,  when you post anything on social media, you get instant reactions Unlike traditional mediums such as TV and print, social media allows you to engage far more frequently with your audience and also gauge their reactions instantly. In addition, social media also gives you platforms to distribute your message. Videos, creatives, and messages can go viral on social media in a matter of minutes.

8. Public Affairs

You can’t make money selling alcohol in a country where the ruling Government is against it. For any business to succeed, it is important to have laws that make it easy to do that particular type of business. Public affairs involve building and developing relations with politicians, governments, and policy-makers to put forward your company’s best interests and influence these key stakeholders to pass favorable laws.

If you have read this far

Congratulations! You are now armed with the right knowledge to kickstart your PR journey (If you haven’t already) We will be covering more aspects of Public Relations in our upcoming blogs. Tell us what other topics you would like us to cover in the comments.

And if you want help in multiplying your PR results, then shoot us a mail at [email protected] or click here.

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