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ADVERTISING AND PR

Public relations (PR) is a field concerned with maintaining a public image for businesses, non-profit organizations or high-profile people, such as celebrities and politicians.

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.[2] 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[3] and do not direct payment.[4] Common activities include speaking at conferences, working with the media, crisis communications, social media engagement,[5] 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 [6][7] 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.[4] 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

The practice of public relations is spread widely. On the professional level, there is an organization called Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the world's largest public relations organization. PRSA is a community of more than 21,000 professionals that works to advance the skill set of public relations. PRSA also fosters a national student organization called Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

In the USA, public relations professionals earn an average annual salary of $49,800 which compares with £40,000 for a practitioner with a similar job in the UK [1]. Top earners bring home around $89,220 annually, while entry-level public relations specialists earn around $28,080. Corporate, or in-house communications is generally more profitable, and communications executives can earn salaries in the mid six-figures, though this only applies to a fraction of the sector's workforce.

The role of public relations professionals is changing because of the shift from traditional to online media. Many PR professionals are finding it necessary to learn new skills and to examine how social media can impact a brand's reputation

Aside from personal ads and classifieds, mass advertising did not take off until the penny press era of the early to mid-1800s, when high-circulation newspapers allowed widespread access to consumers. This chapter surveys some of the agencies, their philosophies and approaches, and their tactics and use of imagery. It also surveys the history of public relations as a response to muckraking and as a way to speak for corporations in the marketplace of ideas.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Philosophy of Advertising: How did Horace Greeley’s philosophy of advertising influence advertising agencies in the late 1800s and early 1900s?
Countering muckrakers: How successful were large corporations in countering the influence of muckrakers in the early 1900s?
PR ethics: According to James Grunig, one of the main functions of an ethical public relations practitioner is to ensure a two-way symmetrical flow of communication. In other words, public opinion needs to be understood inside the board rooms of corporations. Can you think of instances where a corporation that listened to opinion weathered a storm of criticism, and instances where one that didn’t listen ended up losing shareholder value?

 
 
 
 
 
 
             
 
             
 
             
 
 
 
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