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Understanding Public Relations

We hear about Public Relations all the time but most times, it is used in ways that does not reflect the real functions and intentions of the profession.

To understand PR, you have to know what it means. At Mediacraft, we say ‘Public Relations’ is the aggregation of the (deliberate, planned and sustained) communications/engagements between a Brand and its Publics, towards the ends of creating mutual understanding, projecting a desired image, evoking a favourable perception and building a good Reputation.

At the core of PR is the Brand. A brand could be corporate, product, personality, celebrity, issues and events. Each of these brands have stakeholders. In PR, these stakeholders are referred to as ‘publics’.

Of Image, Perception and Reputation

In PR, there are three key concepts that are usually misunderstood. These are image, perception and reputation.

Image is who you say you are, how you behave, how you present yourself and most importantly, your brand.

Perception, on the other hand, is how others see you and this is driven by brand image, information, personal attitudes and preferences, personal experiences about a brand. Remember, a man’s perception is his reality.

Reputation is what people are saying about you (the Brand). It is an externalisation of their opinions or perceptions of your Brand.

In all of this, the end game of PR is to achieve an alignment of Image, perception and reputation.

The Power of PR

PR is a very powerful IMC tool and here is why:

  • PR is ‘Earned’ media
  • There is newsworthiness of messaging.
  • There is credibility Factor.
  • PR messaging is ‘Subliminal Seduction’.
  • PR is cost-effective.

Journalism vs PR

There is a general misunderstanding that Journalism and PR is the same but this is not true.

Journalism PR
Tactical Strategic
Communication Engagement
Focus on ‘Outputs’ Focus on ‘Outcomes’
Message ‘Push’ Audience ‘Pull’
News is the ‘End’ News is the ‘Means’
Manage news Manage the media
PR is a ‘Supplier’ Media is a ‘Distributor’

PR and Social Media

We cannot deny the fact that the internet has changed the rules in almost everything we do. PR recognises this especially the power of storytelling on social media. With this in mind, the ultimate goal for PR on social media is to achieve virality of content online among her publics.

How to Become a Successful PR Practitioner

For those aspiring to pursue a career in PR, these are the skills and attitudes you need.

  • Excellent communication skills (Oral and written)
  • Knowledge of Digital especially social media
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Networking skills.
  • Analytical skills

You also have to develop these attitudes.

  • Learning attitude
  • Social and emotional intelligence
  • An eye for details
  • Be a team player

In conclusion, PR is an indispensable part of modern business. It builds reputation, it is inherently cost-effective and it creates top of mind awareness of the brand thus influencing customer choice.

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