Understanding What PR is Not
In this article, I will be showing you the popular misconceptions about public relations and the implication of its practices. It could be incorrect to say the practice of PR is only limited to the dealings of politics and government – it spread across all human endeavours.
In communication, there are unique genres that attend to some needs in human society. Each of these genres works for the purpose of achieving good communication in society. In organization communication; PR, marketing, advertising, mass media, etc. are very essential for the growth of the organizational business. No organization, regardless of the nature of dealings, would succeed in their business without the aforementioned areas of communication. Our attention in this article will be strictly on Public Relations. I would make it easy for comprehension.
Public Relations relate to the public because it functions for both personalities and brands. Every personality and brand live in human society and they relate with people – the public. For a brand, you know there are people working within the organization for the business. In the same way, their activities within the organization are for a particular category of people – the public. Therefore, there are two kinds of the public; one is internal publics while the other is external publics. Having understood the publics PR is relating with will give us a soft landing for easy comprehension. So, PR serves as a middleman between your brand and the public, ensuring a good relationship.
What PR is not
PR is not Advertising
Public Relations does not advertise your brand. Advertising is a sponsored form of communication through the mass media that tells the public about your brand. PR is an unsponsored and earned effort. It is popularly said that; “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.” In advertising, you pay the media to inform the public about you while in PR, you earn what the media say about you. PR doesn’t pay to see a good thing in the media about the brand, it deliberately makes the effort of good public relationship by projecting the good image and reputation of the organization to both the public and/through the media. Also, Advertising builds exposure while PR builds trust through sustained efforts.
For professional purposes, advertising often serves as a tool for PR practices.
PR is not Marketing
Marketing executives see PR as a tool for marketing activities while PR professionals believe marketing is a PR tool. Regardless of the school of thought, PR and marketing are not the same, though, they both have a meeting point in the field of brand awareness. To draw the line of difference between both, let’s consider the final goals. Marketing’s goal is sales-driven – to sell the brand while PR’s goal is to build long-term mutual relationships with the public. This is the meeting point – they both work to create awareness about the brand. In marketing activities, PR creates an environment that would enhance all marketing activities.
PR is not propaganda
Propaganda is also referred to as spinning. It is popularly known in politics, against oppositions. It is simply the act of issuing biased information in order to persuade the public towards a belief or an idea. Politicians use this tool to frame (spin) the mind of the public about their oppositions. PR only share unbiased information about a story and their publics. PR delivers accurate messages devoid of ambiguity to the public for effective communication.
PR is not Journalism
There is a very effective relationship between journalism and the practice of PR. Public Relations works with the media to reach its publics. Don’t forget I had earlier stated in simple terms that PR is like the middleman between the organization and its publics. PR makes use of the media as a channel of communication to its publics. The mass media disseminate messages to the dispersed audience. Journalists write editorial content for the traditional media. In information-gathering for publication (in print) and broadcasting, journalists tend to fetch editorial items from PR professionals through their press releases and other viable PR tools. This is a special aspect in PR called media relations; understanding the relationship that exists between the journalist and Professionals. Unfortunately, most PR practitioners are journalists, that is why we have quack PR professionals.
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