What Is Public Relations? PR Functions, Types, & Examples (2022)

Public image makes up 63% of the value of most companies today. When there’s a mishap or when the company’s reputation breaks down, it affects the company’s entire corporate existence and its affiliates. It takes around 4 to 7 years to overcome a negative reputation. Hence it has become important for a company to invest in good public relations strategies to maintain a beneficial relationship with the public.

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What Is Public Relations?

Public relations is a strategic communication process companies, individuals, and organisations use to build mutually beneficial relationships with the public.

A public relations specialist drafts a specialised communication plan and uses media and other direct and indirect mediums to create and maintain a positive brand image and a strong relationship with the target audience.

In simple terms, public relations is a strategised process of managing the release and spread of organisation-related information to the public to maintain a favourable reputation of the organisation and its brands. This process focuses on –

  • What information should be released,
  • How it should be drafted,
  • How it should be released, and
  • What media should be used to release the information (usually earned or free media is used for the same).

What Is The Objective Of Public Relations?

The main objective of public relations is to maintain a positive reputation of the brand and maintain a strategic relationship with the public, prospective customers, partners, investors, employees and other stakeholders which leads to a positive image of the brand and makes it seem honest, successful, important, and relevant.

(Video) Public Relations: Meaning, Objectives, Types And Functions Of PR

Functions Of Public Relations

Public relations is different from advertising. Public relations agencies don’t buy ads, they don’t write stories for reporters, and they don’t focus on attractive paid promotions. The main role of public relations is to promote the brand by using editorial content appearing in magazines, newspapers, news channels, websites, blogs, and TV programs.

Using earned or free media for promotion has its own benefits as information on these mediums aren’t bought. It has a third-party validation and hence isn’t viewed with scepticism by the public.

The functions of public relations managers and public relations agencies include:

  1. Anticipating, analysing, and interpreting the public opinion and attitudes of the public towards the brand and drafting strategies which use free or earned media to influence them.
  2. Drafting strategies to support the brand’s every campaign and new move through editorial content.
  3. Writing and distributing press releases.
  4. Speechwriting.
  5. Planning and executing special public outreach and media relations events.
  6. Writing content for the web (internal and external websites).
  7. Developing a crisis public relations strategy.
  8. Handling the social media presence of the brand and responding to public reviews on social media websites.
  9. Counselling the employees of the organisation with regard to policies, course of action, organisation’s responsibility and their responsibility.
  10. Dealing with government and legislative agencies on behalf of the organisation.
  11. Dealing with public groups and other organisations with regard to social and other policies of the organisation and legislation of the government.
  12. Handling investor relations.

Types Of Public Relations

According to the functions of the public relations department/agencies, public relations can be divided into 7 types. These are:

  • Media Relations:Establishing a good relationship with the media organisations and acting as their content source.
  • Investor Relations:Handling investors events, releasing financial reports and regulatory filings, and handling investors, analysts and media queries and complaints.
  • Government Relations: Representing the brand to the government with regard to the fulfilment of policies like corporate social responsibility, fair competition, consumer protection, employee protection, etc.
  • Community Relations:Handling the social aspect of the brand and establishing a positive reputation in the social niche like environment protection, education, etc.
  • Internal Relations: Counselling the employees of the organisation with regard to policies, course of action, organisation’s responsibility and their responsibility. Cooperating with them during special product launches and events.
  • Customer Relations: Handling relationships with the target market and lead consumers. Conducting market research to know more about interests, attitudes, and priorities of the customers and crafting strategies to influence the same using earned media.
  • Marketing Communications: Supporting marketing efforts relating to product launch, special campaigns, brand awareness, image, and positioning.

Public Relations Examples

PR stunts or strategies range from donating to an affected community to running a brand activation stunt in a mall. Some of the examples of successful public relations campaigns are:

Google’s Fight Ebola Campaign

The outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014 was critical as it was spread among many countries and took many lives. Google, to help the people in need and to build up a positive brand image, started a donation campaign where it pledged to give $2 for every $1 donated to the cause through its website.

The public relations strategy attracted the media attention and resulted to be a huge success as Google raised $7.5 million.

What Is Public Relations? PR Functions, Types, & Examples (1)

Paramount Pictures The Ring Publicity Stunt

Paramount Pictures, to promote its new horror franchise, The Ring, and to get more user attention, took a step forward and planned a publicity stunt where the protagonist haunted the people in a real-life scenario.

The film’s most iconic scene of Samara crawling out of the TV set was recreated in a TV showroom where the protagonist came crawling out of the hidden compartment behind a TV screen and scared people.

(Video) Functions of Public Relations

The stunt went viral and the video received over 10 million views on Facebook.

Just Eat & A Sick Customer

Just Eat is an online food ordering application that lets users add comments to their orders to inform the delivery person about the right address or to leave the order to the neighbour etc.

One unwell customer tried her luck to see if she could get the delivery person to stop en-route and get her some medicines. She wrote:

Will you please stop in the Spar on the way and get me some Benylin cold and flu tablets and I’ll give you the money. Only ordering food so I can get the tablets. I’m sick xx.

The delivery person delivered both and this public relations stunt went viral over the media.

What Is Public Relations? PR Functions, Types, & Examples (2)

Facebook Paris Support Profile Pictures

In response to the tragic shooting in Paris in 2015 where at least 129 people died, Facebook added a France flag filter which the users could apply to their profile pictures to support France. Millions of people applied this filter and appreciated this effort by Facebook.

What Is Public Relations? PR Functions, Types, & Examples (3)
(Video) Functions and Types of Public Relations

Advantages Of Public Relations

  • Credibility: Public trusts the message coming from a trusted third party more than the advertised content.
  • Reach:A good public relations strategy can attract many news outlets, exposing the content to a large audience. Moreover, this medium can help the company utilise certain organic touchpoints that are hard to capitalise on otherwise.
  • Cost effectiveness: Public relations is a cost effective technique to reach large audience as compared to paid promotion.
  • Better Communication: Public relations help the company to communicate more information to the public than other forms of communication media.

Disadvantages Of Public Relations

  • No Direct Control:Unlike paid media, there isn’t a direct control over the content distributed through the earned media. This is the biggest risk of investing in public relations.
  • Hard To Measure Success: It is really hard to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of a PR campaign.
  • No Guaranteed Results:Publishing of a press release isn’t guaranteed as the brand doesn’t pay for it. The media outlet publishes it only if it feels that it’ll attract its target audience.

Importance Of Public Relations

With over 63% of the value of most companies dependent on their public image, public relations has become a very important topic today for numerous reasons:

Builds Up The Brand Image

The brand image gets a boost when the target customers get to know about it through a third-party media outlet. A good public relations strategy help the brand builds up its image in the way it wants to.

It’s Opportunistic

Public relations strategies make the brand capitalise on the opportunities. Google was in the news for donating to Ebola. Facebook promoted LGBTQ rights. Coca-Cola did a PR stunt against obesity.

These opportunities even attract many influencers to share the brand story to their followers.

Promote Brand Values

PR is used to send out positive messages which are in line with the brand’s value and its image. This builds up the brand’s reputation.

Strengthen Community Relations

PR strategies are used to convey that the brand is as much part of society as the target audience. This builds up a strong relationship of the brand with the public.

Public Relations vs Marketing vs Advertising

Public relations deals in communicating expertly drafted messages using non-paid/earned media to build mutually beneficial relationships with the public.

Advertising, on the other hand, is a paid communication message intended to inform people about something or to influence them to buy or try something.

Marketing is the umbrella under which all the divisions dealing with creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging dwells. That is, PR is the subset of marketing. Everything a PR department does is determined by the marketing goals set by the organisation.

(Video) What is Public Relations? Video by Sketch-22 Illustrated Media

Public Relations

Advertising

Marketing

Definition

Public relations is a marketing tool of communicating expertly drafted messages using non-paid/earned media to build mutually beneficial relationships with the public.

Advertising is the action of calling public attention to an idea, good, or service through paid announcements by an identified sponsor.

Marketingrefers to activities a company undertakes to create, communicate promote, deliver, and exchange the offerings that have value for the customers.

Driven by

Relationship driven

Communication driven

Company/Brand growth driven

Communication

Two-way

One-way

Two-way

Importance

To build a favourable relationship with the target audience.

To communicate to the target audience about a certain offering, action, work, or other brand-related information

Identify and cater to the customers’ needs to survive and thrive.

Go On, Tell Us What You Think!

Did we miss something? Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on public relations in the comments section.

What Is Public Relations? PR Functions, Types, & Examples (4)

Aashish Pahwa

A startup consultant, digital marketer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 20 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.

(Video) What is Public Relations?

FAQs

What is public relations PR functions and examples? ›

The main role of public relations is to promote the brand by using editorial content appearing in magazines, newspapers, news channels, websites, blogs, and TV programs. Using earned or free media for promotion has its own benefits as information on these mediums aren't bought.

What are the 4 types of public relations? ›

There are 7 different types of PR:
  • Strategic communications.
  • Media relations.
  • Community relations.
  • Internal communications.
  • Crisis communications.
  • Public Affairs.
  • Online and social media communications.
31 Oct 2019

What is PR Short answer? ›

What is PR? PR is short for "public relations" and refers to the strategic communication from an organization to the public to maintain or cultivate public image and/or respond to public discourse.

What is the function of a PR person? ›

planning publicity strategies and campaigns. writing and producing presentations and press releases. dealing with enquiries from the public, the press, and related organisations. organising and attending promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits.

What is public PR? ›

In public relations and communication theory, a public is distinct from a stakeholder or a market. A public is a subset of the set of stakeholders for an organization, that comprises those people concerned with a specific issue.

What is PR strategy example? ›

Some notable examples for PR strategies include:

Social Media Management and Posting. Customer Survey and Forums. Using digital tools to integrate with other platforms and online content. Influencer marketing.

What is PR process? ›

The R.A.C.E process encompasses the following 4 phases: Research, Action and planning, Communication and relationship building and Evaluation. Now, let's take a look at each step.

What are seven functions of public relations practice? ›

The seven functions of public relations practice are: 1) writing, 2) planning, 3) researching, 4) publicity, 5) media relations, 6) consumer relations, and 7) government relations.

What are the 7 types of public? ›

There are seven types of public in a marketing environment of a company:
  • Financial publics.
  • Media publics.
  • Government publics.
  • Citizen-action publics.
  • Local publics.
  • General publics.
  • Internal publics.

How many types of PR are there? ›

Public affairs communications also involves community relations and strategic communications. But for the purpose of this guide, there are essentially seven types of PR.

What are the three types of public relations? ›

The types of public relations, which we'll review shortly, fall into three main categories: owned, paid, and earned media. Each type works towards the same goal of building a positive brand reputation, but they use different strategies to get there.

What is PR full form? ›

What is public relations PDF? ›

As an interdisciplinary field, it seeks to influence the building, maintenance, and restoration of reputation through such methods as public affairs and issue management, risk and crisis communication, community building and corporate social responsibility, and rhetorical advocacy, thereby attempting to contribute to ...

What are the PR tools? ›

Top 9 Tools of Public Relations
  • Press Releases: The press release is the basic building block of a publicity programme concerned with story placement. ...
  • Fact Sheets: ...
  • Press Kits: ...
  • Video News Releases: ...
  • Employee/Member Relation Programme: ...
  • Community Relations Programme: ...
  • Financial Relations Programme: ...
  • Events:

Why is public relations important? ›

for your own website. In PR, media relations is an important tool to have as part of your communications kit. Not only can valuable media connections help build brand awareness, it also aids in increasing credibility and managing reputations. The media acts as the middleman between a company and its audience.

What is public relations and its importance? ›

Public relations builds relations with a multitude of audiences depending on your business' focus. From building relationships with the media, investors, government, community, customers, and/or internally (think employees and their morale), PR gets a targeted message to your preferred audiences in impactful ways.

What are examples of publicity? ›

Every day, news comes out with a new example of publicity – a brand holds a press conference, releases a new product, distributes a press release, does a social activity, or gets famous just because of that one tweet.

What is public and example? ›

The definition of public is something that is related to, available to or known by people. Joining the school board is an example of public service. A celebrity known by everyone is an example of a public figure. A park that is open to everyone is an example of a public park. adjective.

What is PR management? ›

'Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends.

What is public relations in media? ›

Public relations, however, encompasses many processes, including media relations, to tell a brand's story and build a positive image for public audiences. So companies use media relations to deliver important messages to public audiences whereas public relations is solely about promoting brand awareness and reputation.

What is a PR objective? ›

building awareness and a favorable image for a company or client within stories and articles found in relevant media outlets. closely monitoring numerous media channels for public comment about a company and its products. managing crises that threaten company or product image.

What are the elements of PR? ›

Stay relevant.
  • Know your target audience. Understanding the target audience is the most important part of any successful public relations strategy. ...
  • Set realistic goals. Think about what you hope to achieve with your brand, and when. ...
  • Develop a message. ...
  • Know your competition. ...
  • Stay relevant.

How do you use PR? ›

Public Relations Strategies
  1. Know Your Audiences. For your message to reach the impact that you want, you will need to first understand and segment your audiences. ...
  2. Get Organized. ...
  3. Think like a reporter. ...
  4. Do your Research. ...
  5. Work with a Team. ...
  6. Enhances Your Online Presence. ...
  7. Know your Competition. ...
  8. Create compelling content.
9 Mar 2020

What is the difference between immigration and PR? ›

Other immigrants are undocumented. That means they do not have a green card or other valid legal visa. A lawful permanent resident (someone with a “green card”) is an immigrant with legal permission to live in the U.S. for as long as s/he wants to. Permanent residents get special cards that they must carry.

What is PR in visa? ›

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.

How long does it take for PR application to be approved? ›

Permanent Resident Card

A new permanent resident (PR) card takes 56 days to process.

What is PR strategy example? ›

Some notable examples for PR strategies include:

Social Media Management and Posting. Customer Survey and Forums. Using digital tools to integrate with other platforms and online content. Influencer marketing.

What are seven functions of public relations practice? ›

The seven functions of public relations practice are: 1) writing, 2) planning, 3) researching, 4) publicity, 5) media relations, 6) consumer relations, and 7) government relations.

What are examples of publicity? ›

Every day, news comes out with a new example of publicity – a brand holds a press conference, releases a new product, distributes a press release, does a social activity, or gets famous just because of that one tweet.

Which ten functions of public relations would you say are the most critical and why? ›

The primary function of PR is to build a beneficial relationship with the public.
  • Media Representation. Representing a company or individual to the media is one of the more well-known functions of public relations. ...
  • Crisis Communication. ...
  • Content Development. ...
  • Stakeholder Relations. ...
  • Social Media Management.
27 Oct 2018

What are PR tools? ›

Some of the most commonly used PR tools include press releases, news conferences, and publicity. Sponsorships, product placements, and social media also generate a lot of positive PR.

What is PR process? ›

"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics." Public relations can also be defined as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics.

Why is public relations important? ›

Public relation is about sharing the right information to right places and people, to build the brand reputation. PR not only protects good reputation of organization but also creates very good media relations; handle both internal and external communications.

What is PR policy? ›

It outlines the rules and processes we follow in our interactions with the media for all interested external audiences.

What are PR stories? ›

A PR story is anything about your business, product orservice that you want the public to know, and is crucial inguaranteeing your business's time in the limelight.

What are the 4 types of publicity materials? ›

We have identified four main types of marketing materials:
  • Paper Marketing Materials. Examples: brochures, flyers, postcards, business cards, menus, sales sheets, etc.
  • Promotional Marketing Materials. Examples: t-shirts, mugs, calendars, pens, gift certificates, event tickets, keychains, etc.
  • Stationery. ...
  • Signs & Banners.

Which company uses public relations? ›

Public Relations (PR) has long been a powerful marketing tool for companies. Global giants like Nike, Amazon, Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds etc. all used PR to their advantage. In today's digital environment, PR has a greater impact than ever.

What is the most important part of public relations? ›

Understanding the target audience is the most important part of any successful public relations strategy.

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