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An Introduction
Public Relations or PR is a field concerned with
maintaining a public image for high-profile people,
commercial businesses and organizations, non-profit
associations or programs.
PR is used primarily as an image building, reputation
management, and persuasion tool.
The practice of managing communication between an
organization and its publics (Grunig & Hunt, 1984).
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire was a pioneer of public
relations in 18th Century England.
However Edward Bernays, a nephew and student of
Sigmund Freud, is generally regarded today as the
profession's founder.
Bernays wanted to use ‘propaganda’ used for negatively
purposes in the World War for a good cause. Hence the
term Public Relations was derived as a euphuism for the
word Propaganda.
"The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and
opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society,“
Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an
invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.“
(Bernays, Propaganda)
PR Agenda
◦ To manipulate Public Opinion in order to
serve the interest of its client.
Definition of Public
◦ “Public” is the general body of mankind, a group of individuals,
or of a nation, state, or community; the people, indefinitely;
also, a particular body or aggregation of people.
◦ “Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing
can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” (Abraham Lincoln)
◦ This ‘public sphere’ according to Curran is the “space between
governments and society in which private individuals exercise
formal and informal control over the state.”
Public Opinion
When attitudes start turning into verbal or behavioral
actions, an opinion is formed.
According to Herbert Blumer, “public opinion should be
viewed as a collective product. It is not a unanimous opinion
with which all groups in the public agree upon nor is it the
majority opinion (1946).”
Lipmann’s Theory of Public Opinion
◦ Walter Lippmann and the “picture inside our heads”. According
to him ‘the ‘pictures in our heads’, make up the understanding
of the world around us.
The Function of Mass Media in Influencing
Public Opinion
◦ Media plays a vital role in forming Public opinion.
◦ According to Walter Lippmann the media, at their best, give us
representations and pictures of an outside world we do not directly see
or experience.
◦ This is one of the foremost reasons why Public Relations practitioners
use Communication and Mass Media channels to sell their clients
services to the public.
The Use of Mass Media in PR Activity
Good Media relations are absolutely essential for PR practitioners.
Therefore, PR can be defined as “managing strategic
relationships” or “fostering vital relationships”.
Public relations is a Marketing tool just like Advertising.
Its aim is to establish a Two-Way Communication
between the buyer and seller.
Public Information
Cause Related
Image–Reputation Management
Relationship Management
Why is PR Necessary?
Public relations has promised two benefits to business:
Increased sales and
protection from unpopularity
which could lead to detrimental governmental or regulatory
agency activity. …It is not as a sales device, however, but is a
method for protection against the political consequences of a
hostile public opinion that corporate public relations has been
most influential. (Tedlow, 1979)
PR is used to build rapport with:
employees ,
voters, or the
general public.
PR Activity Arena’s:
speaking at conferences,
working with the media,
crisis communications
social media engagement and
employee communication.
There are a number of possible futures for public relations. In
the first scenario, it becomes largely a technical practice, using
communication techniques to support marketing activities and is
involved in work on product and corporate branding, corporate
reputation, market penetration and development.
In the second, public relations will increasingly become a social
practice, helping organizations fit into their social environments,
and working on relationships between groups to help bring
about social and economic development, and to help in
completing social tasks.
In the US and throughout the world, there has been an intense
debate over whether public relations, advertising and sales
promotion should be integrated into a program called ‘integrated
marketing communication’ (IMC) .
A Global Culture
Public Relation practitioners should be able to cater to the
needs of a more multi-cultural society catering to global
settings. Thus a better understanding of inter-cultural
communication will be required.