How Public Relations helps an organisation

how public relations differs from advertising and how public relations and marketing work together and how public relations helps a business
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Dr.AldenCutts,United Kingdom,Teacher
Published Date:23-07-2017
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PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF JLS 610 PUBLIC RELATIONSJLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE Module 1 Meaning and Scope of Public Relations…… 1 Unit 1 Definitions and components of public Relations……………………………………… 1-7 Unit 2 Functions and Careers of Public Relations …... 8-10 Unit 3 Public Relations and Related Concepts………. 11-19 Unit 4 Public Relations Publics……………………… 20-26 Module 2 Evolution and Process of Public Relations… 27 Unit 1 Origins and Pioneers of Public Relations…….. 27-32 Unit 2 History and Development of Public Relations in Nigeria……………………………………... 33-38 Unit 3 Models of Public Relations…………………… 39-44 Unit 4 Models of Public Relations (The Melvin Sharpe’s Model)……………………………… 45-49 Unit 5 Research in Public Relations…………………. 50-60 Module 3 Writing and Speaking In Public Relations… 61 Unit 1 The Challenge of Writing and Speaking in Public Relations………………………………. 61-67 Unit 2 Editing and Proofreading……………………... 68-75 Unit 3 The Press Release…………………………….. 76-83 Unit 4 Speaking in Public Relations…………………. 84-87 Unit 5 The Process of Successful Public Relations Speeches……………………………………… 88-94 Module 4 Public Relations in Action…………………... 95 Unit 1 Public Relations Planning…………………….. 95-101 Unit 2 The Public Relations Plan……………………. 102-109 Unit 3 Public Relations for Non-profit Organisations…………………………………. 110-116 Unit 4 Crisis Communication Management…………. 117-124 Unit 5 Steps in Crisis Communication………………. 125-131 Module 5 Public Relations and Society……………….. 132 Unit 1 The Role of Public Relations in Society……… 132-137 Unit 2 Public Opinion and Propaganda……………… 138-148 Unit 3 Public Relations and the Law………………… 149-153 Unit 4 Ethics in Public Relations…………………….. 154-161 Unit 5 Cases in Public Relations…………………….. 162-167 ivJLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS MODULE 1 MEANING AND SCOPE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Unit 1 Definitions and components of public relations Unit 2 Functions and Careers of Public Relations Unit 3 Public Relations and Related Concepts Unit 4 Public Relations Publics UNIT 1 DEFINITIONS AND COMPONENTS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Objectives 3.0 Main Content 3.1 Defining Public Relations 3.2 Components of Public Relations 3.3 What public relations is not 4.0 Conclusion 5.0 Summary 6.0 Tutor-Marked Assignment 7.0 References/Further Readings 1.0 INTRODUCTION Like most subjects or disciplines, public relations has as many definitions as there are authors and practitioners in the field. These authors and practitioners offer varying definitions based on their knowledge, experience and practices perspectives. However, as we examine these definitions, you will observe points of similarities and unanimity in them. 2.0 OBJECTIVES At the end of this unit, you should be able to: • Accurately restate at least two definitions of public relations. • Explain the terms or ideas that are common in these definitions. • Offer your own definition. 3.0 MAIN CONTENT 1JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 3.1 Defining Public Relations The British Institute of Public relations (BIPR) defines public relations as ‘the deliberate planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.” This definition suggests that public relations is the creation or establishment of mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. It also suggests that public relations is not a haphazard process. It must be consciously designed. Planning calls for attention, deliberation, research, anticipation, analysis and consequences. Public relations efforts must ensure that not only does the organisation understand its publics, the publics must equally understand the organisation. It must understand its reasons for whatever actions it takes. As a public relations officer or manager of your firm, for instance, it is your duty to ensure that mutual understanding is achieved between your firm and its several publics. More often than not, the publics are passive at performing this role. Therefore, your organisation must take proactive steps towards achieving it. ‘Sustained effort’ means that it is not enough to start the plan; it must be carried through to a logical end. This is not usually very easy in the face of a precarious economy, political instability and other factors. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) says “public relations is concerned with or devoted to creating mutual understanding among groups and institutions.” The PRSA recognises the place of groups and institutions in the public relations process. It admits that these entities have interests that must be protected. It also presupposes a streamlining of these benefits for mutual good. The concept of mutuality in this definition makes you as a public relations man or woman an intermediary between your organisation and its publics. This implies that you should be able to align the interests of these two parties for their mutual advantage. You do this by convincing your organisation that public relations attempts to put the broad interest of the public first before the special interest of the organisation. By doing this, the organisation is indirectly serving its own interest; hence PR has what is called “enlightened self interest”. Another definition is that given Cutlip, Center and Broom, in their book Effective Public Relations which is considered the bible of public relations in America. According to them, public relations is the “management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and its publics upon whom its success depends.” Now, take note of the last part of the definition, ‘upon whom its success depends,’ because this is one fact 2JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS that very many organisations have not realised. A company’s success or failure depends considerably on its relationship with its various publics. We shall see these publics in another module. Let us take two more definitions. Frank Jefkins, a British author, in his book Public Relation, says “public relations consists of all forms of planned communication both inward and outward between an organisation and its publics for the purpose of achieving objectives concerning mutual understanding.” Jefkins’ definition includes a term common to many other definitions of PR: mutual understanding. Mutual understanding is a very broad concept which every organisation must seek to establish. ‘Inward and outward communication’ implies a two-way communication involving both the organisation and its various publics. Our last definition is the one often referred to as the Mexican statement. This definition was adopted at the first World Congress of National Public Relations Associations, held in Mexico in 1978. It states “ Public Relations is the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counselling organisational leaders as well as planning and implementing a programme of action that will serve the interest of not only the organisation but also that of its publics.” You will agree that this definition is broad, multidisciplinary and all- embracing. It suggests that public relations borrows knowledge and expertise from other fields, like psychology, politics, sociology, languages, etc. Public relations is an art because it involves artistic skills, fine arts, language, writing, public speaking, etc. It is a social science because it uses social scientific instruments to understand and predict human behaviour. It attempts to understand its environment and relates with it mutually. Public relations monitors, surveys and researches issues and happenings in the environment. It advises the organisation so that the policies of the organisation are in line with the expectations of its publics. It implements programmes that will favour both the organisation and the publics in a win-win outcome. SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Write down three points common to the definitions of PR presented in this unit. Ask two or more of your colleagues to do the same; then, discuss your points in terms of their similarities and differences. 3JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 3.2 Components of Public Relations Public relations has divergent parts. According to the Public Relations Society of America, the components of public relations include the following: Counselling: Providing advice to management concerning policies, relationships, and communication with its various publics. Research: Determining attitudes and behaviours of publics through research in order to plan public relations strategies. Such research can be used to (1) generate mutual understanding or (2) influence and persuade publics. Media Relations: Working with the mass media in seeking publicity or responding to their interest in the organisation. EMBED CorelDRAW.Graphic.12 Figure 1: Components of Public Relations Publicity: Disseminating planned messages through selected media to further the organisation's interest. Employee/Member Relations: Responding to concerns, informing, and motivating and organisation's employees or association or club members. 4JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Community Relations: Planned activity with a community to maintain an environment that benefits both the organisation and the community. Public Affairs: Developing effective involvement in public policy and helping an organization adapt to public expectations. The term is also used by government agencies to describe their public relations activities and by many corporations as an umbrella term to describe multiple public relations activities. Governmental Affairs: Relating directly with legislature and regulatory agencies on behalf of the organisation. Lobbying can be part of the government affairs programme. Issues management: Identifying and addressing issues of public concern that affect the organisation. Financial Relations: Also known as Investor Relations or Shareholder Relations. It involves creating and maintaining investor confidence and building good relationships with the financial community. Industry Relations: Relating with other firms in the industry of an organization and with trade associations. Development/Fund-Raising: Demonstrating the need for and encouraging the public to support an organisation, primarily through financial contributions. Multicultural Relations/ Workplace Diversity: Relating with individuals and groups in various cultural settings. Special Events: Stimulating an interest in a person, product, or organisation by means of a focused "happening". They are activities designed to interact with publics and listen to them. Marketing Communications: Combination of activities designed to sell a product, service, or idea. These activities may include advertising, collateral materials, publicity, promotion, direct mail, trade shows, and special events. SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1. Distinguish the assertion: “public relations is a very complex activity.” 2. Distinguish ‘media relations’ from ‘publicity’ and ‘public affairs’ from ‘community relations.’ 5JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 3.3 What Public Relations Is Not One of the greatest problems which public relations practitioners in Nigeria have had to grapple with over the year has been that of credibility stemming from society’s wrong perception of what a public relations person actually does. Worse still is the fact that lots of practitioners themselves do not have a clear idea of what public relations actually is. For this reason, many come into the profession with the wrong motives, intentions and perceptions. Ikechukwu Nwosu (1997) identified some of these misconceptions, thus: 1. Public relations is not about lying and selling falsehood about your product and organisation. It is not about denying every statement that does not favour your organisation. It is not about prevarication. Public relations is about telling the truth all the time. 2. Public relations is not about bribery. This wrong idea about public relations came to the fore recently when a Nigerian minister of education excused his action of bribing the executive arm of government to increase his ministries budget allocation as public relations. According to him, the bribe was ‘PR’. The truth is that public relations is not bribe giving. 3. Public relations is based on moral principles and as such it is not ‘arranging’ pretty ladies for international visitors to government houses or to chief executives of companies, clients, board members, etc. If there is any profession where morality should be held in high regards, it is in public relations because it enhances public confidence in the profession. 4. Public relations is not magic, enchantment or paranormal. For this reason all its activities are based on scientifically provable and empirical methods. Public relations is based on high performance, quality performance, quality and credibility in terms of products, service, policies and practice. 5. Public relations is not about organising parties and other social events. No doubt, public relations does activities of this nature, but not in the sense of making it its only preoccupation. 6. Public relations is not about employing pretty ladies lacking in morals and principles to woo men into acting against their wishes. 7. Public relations is not about being a yes-boy or a bag carrier for your boss’ madam or relations. Rather it is a dignified and noble 6JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS profession that attracts self confident, intelligent and self- respecting men and women. 4.0 CONCLUSION Public relations is a discipline that has attracted many definitions, but the numerous definitions have a lot in common. A major point of agreement is that public relations involves creating mutual understanding between organisations and their publics. As an activity, PR is very complex, indeed it has many components. 5.0 SUMMARY What have we learnt in this unit? We have learnt that public relations has as many definitions as there are practitioners and academics in the field. But they all agree in their definitions that public relations aims at creating mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. Public relations has various components which include counselling, research, media relations, publicity, government affairs, financial relations, community relations, etc. 6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT Explain four terms or concepts that are common to two or more of the four definitions of PR in this unit. 7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS Baskin, O., and Aronoff, C.E. (1992). Public Relations: The profession and the practice. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown. Bayles, M.D. (1981). Professional Ethics. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. Berkman, D. (1992). The rush to PR. Quill, 80(3), 31-33. Cutlip, S.M. (1994). The Unseen Power: Public Relations: a History. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Grunig, J.E., and Hunt, T. (1984). Managing Public Relations. Fort Worth: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Martinson, D.L. (1995-96). “Client partiality and third parties: An ethical dilemma for public relations practitioners?" Public Relations Quarterly, 40(4), 41-44. 7JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT 2 FUNCTIONS AND CAREERS OF PUBLIC RELATIONS CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Objectives 3.0 Main Content 3.1 Areas of Work of Public Relations Practitioners 4.0 Conclusion 5.0 Summary 6.0 Tutor Marked Assignment 7.0 References/Further Readings 1.0 INTRODUCTION Public relations involves a diversity of functions. The people who do the work of public relations, that is PR practitioners, do different kinds of work, and they are a multitude indeed. Nevertheless, these functions are interrelated and are directed towards the achievement of a singular goal: the creation of mutual understanding between organisations and their publics. 2.0 OBJECTIVES At the end of this unit, you should be able to: • List and explain the functions of a public relations practitioners • State the knowledge, abilities and skills required to perform the functions. 3.0 MAIN CONTENT 3.1 Areas of Work of Public Relations Practitioners The work of public relations may be divided into many areas or functions. Fundamentally, public relations practitioners perform the following functions: Writing and editing: Writing is a very vital skill in public relations. Therefore you must learn not only to appreciate good writing but must also be able to write well. The beauty about writing is that it is a skill that can be learned. Good writers are in high demand in most agencies. Mass Production: Practitioners of public relations engage in the writing of various messages for the purpose of communicating with both 8JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS internal and external publics. This is why the skill of writing is vital to public relations. Some of the messages that PR practitioners write are packaged as magazines and other forms of publications, which require editing and production. Media relations: The mass media in both print and electronic are the channels through which public relations practitioners communicate with the public. This is why PR practitioners need to need to cultivate and maintain good relations with mass media organisations and other personnel, especially editors, reporters and columnists. Research: Public relations problems are not solved by guess work. PR practitioners carry out formal research h to obtain information that is vital to planning. Strategic planning: Public relations practitioners who operate at the top level participate in the formulation of organisational missions, policies and goals. . Management and administration: Public relations practitioners engage in management work. Public relations is a distinct management function which helps to maintain mutual lines of communication between an organisation and its publics. PR practitioners manage people, businesses, and events. Corporate counselling: Public relations practitioners advise management on matters concerning their organisations’ relationships with their various publics. Organising special events: The organisation of events, such as trade fairs, trade exhibitions, `press conferences, fashion shows, factory tours, special observances (e.g. mothers’ day) AGMs, etc is part of work public relations practitioners do. Speaking: To represent their organisations, PR practitioners do engage in speaking assignments of different kinds for different publics. For example, your organisation may be invited by students who are studying a subject that underlies the work of your organisation to give a public lecture during their career day. Coaching: PR practitioners also engage in training and coaching top management staff on public speaking and press interviews. Crisis Communication: A very special type of work that PR practitioners do is helping their organisations to resolve crises whenever they occur. They do this essentially by managing the flow of 9JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS information between the organisation and the public, via the mass media, and by advising management on what to do and how to do it, so that the crisis is not aggravated. To practice preventive public relations, it’s necessary to plan extensively to avoid crisis, but since crisis must occur, it is your duty to counsel management in crisis situations. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE: Which five functions of public relations would you say are the most critical, and why? 4.0 CONCLUSION When you see how much the field of public relations has been bastardized by charlatans in recent times, you will agree with me that the subjects of this unit are quite necessary in order for you at this early stage to appreciate the fact that public relations is practiced by persons with high and lofty ideals. 5.0 SUMMARY In this unit, we saw that public relations involves commitment to some key areas of corporate work which include ensuring that the corporation acts in the interest of its publics. That it protects and enhances the company’s reputation, maintains openness and integrity. We also saw the knowledge, skills, and abilities you are expected to have to do well on your job as a public relations person. Lastly, we saw that public relations is not about pulling the wool over people’s eyes or being a yes- man in the name of ensuring a good name. 6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT Discuss the job demands of a public relations practitioner. 7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READINGS Brehm, S. (1992) Intimate Relations, 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Cherniss, C. (1980). Professional burnout in human service organizations. New York: Praeger. Cutlip, S., Center, A., & Broom, G. (1985). Effective public relations (6th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Johnston J & Zawawi, C: Public relations: Theory and Practic e , Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1st Edition 2000. 10JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT 3 PUBLIC RELATIONS AND RELATED CONCEPTS CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Objectives 3.0 Main Content 3.1 Public Relations and Related Concepts 3.2 Jobs in Public Relations 4.0 Conclusion 5.0 Summary 6.0 Tutor Marked Assignment 7.0 References/Further Readings 1.0 INTRODUCTION PR goes with a lot of related concepts. Some of which are often misused and confused by the audience, even those in communication. A discussion of these related concepts will give you a good insight into what public relations entails. It is necessary to mention that your thorough knowledge of these concepts will assist you greatly in understanding the functions the PR practitioners perform. 2.0 OBJECTIVES By the end of this unit, you should be able to: • Define related concepts in public relations, such as publicity, press agency, lobbying, merchandizing etc. • Differentiate between these related concepts • Outline the types of functions involved in public relations e.g. informative service, product publicity, investor relations etc. 3.0 MAIN CONTENT 3.1 Public Relations and Related Concepts So far, we have succeeded in defining public relations, but we must go a little further by explaining the relationships that subsist between public relations and similar or related concepts. The nature of public relations is quite broad and as such it includes a wide range of activities which are sometimes confused as public relations rather than elements of public relations. We shall take a look at some of these concepts and attempt an explanation of the differences and similarities between them and public relations. 11JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Publicity: This refers to any attempt designed to expose an organisation, its services or product to the public through any public media. It includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, etc. However in a technical sense, it is more limited and defined, so that it means free publicity which is provided essentially by the press. It is the practice of placing newsworthy and factual information written in a journalistic and editorial format published in the news media at no cost. An example of publicity is a situation where a company issues a news release about a new product or new functions of an existing product. Should Nigeria produce its first air plane for instance, it will be given wide, free publicity. Press Agency: Unlike a news agency, a press agency deals with staging newsworthy events that are designed to attract the attention of the public by publicising them in the media. Such events include press conferences, trade exhibitions, fashion shows, etc. These must be distinguished from events that happen daily. They are rather pseudo- events because they are stage-managed for the purpose of being reported by the media. Lobbying: This is one of the most abused expressions in common usage. In a technical sense, lobbying is a professional attempt designed to influence the government or any authority to change a public programme or policy in favour of an organisation, a cause, a group, an event e.g. organising a petition drive against a cause, e.g. open letters in daily newspapers or magazines. Dry cell manufacturers in Nigeria did this a few years ago to draw government attention to the unbridled importation of dry cell batteries. Lobbying is a legal thing when it has points, information and logical reasons. Merchandising: This deals with blending an acceptable appearance. It is part of promotion. You blend the product or person with the real it or him, so as to win acceptance and patronage from public for a group, a product, service, cause or an idea e.g. the grooming of a positive image by a politician who acts, dresses and speaks like a real native even though he is from somewhere else, e.g. during political campaigns when politicians dress like the native people he is going to speak to. In commercial merchandising, most products are designed to convey messages by their packs. You know that normally people do not patronize badly packaged products. Promotion: This involves moulding or mobilising opinion favourably to an organization to get it to support a worthy cause, e.g. the mounting of events or fund raising programmes for motherless babies’ homes. 12JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Personal Selling: This talks about a personal effort involving a person who is attempting to woo other people on behalf of a product, a group, an idea, etc, e.g. religious crusaders who go from door to door. There are two types of personal sellers namely: order-takers and order-getters. Human Relations: Human relations deals with an individual’s ability to develop and maintain a personality type as well as image that is capable of successful and spontaneous interpersonal relationship with other people. Human relations is relating well with others. It talks about manners and character. Good human relations is the basis of good public relations. Persuasion: It is a fundamental assumption in public relations that effective public relations is persuasive, not intimidating or forcing. Persuasion is any mass communication effort designed to change public opinion, believe, attitudes as well as action. Communication: This is a process of sharing ideas with other people. In a professional sense, it is a means of sending information from one person to another. Public relations in all its forms embraces communication in one form or the other. SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE List three other concepts which we have not discussed above and discuss them with your colleagues. 3.2 Jobs in Public Relations If you have chosen to take public relations as a career, you probably know what I know: that it is a field with great job prospects, especially in the world of today. Today’s corporate world has become very competitive in every sense. Every organisation goes the extra mile to keep its various publics by creating and maintaining mutually cordial relationships with them. Since public relations has equally become scientific and technology-based, it is hazardous for any firm not to hire appropriately qualified personnel to man its public relations office. Aside from working for a firm however, there are other options of employment for a good public relations person. The Public Relations Society of America outlined the following as the activities an average public relations personnel does. Information Service Part of building a company's reputation is the role of supplying information to a variety of publics. Companies send news releases to the 13JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS media in order to inform the public about earnings, acquisitions, new products and the like (media relations). Companies must respond to inquiries from customers, distributors, government officials and community residents. Product Publicity Introduction of new products, and campaigns to put fresh life into the sale of established products, are important functions in what is broadly called marketing communications. PR practitioners work closely with the marketing department to develop product publicity that reinforces advertising and promotion campaigns. Product recall is the negative side of product publicity. Investor Relations Also referred to as stockholder communications, investor relations is a means for providing information to individuals who own stock or have a special interest in the corporation. Elaborate annual reports, quarterly reports mailed with dividend checks and other printed materials are sent to stockholders on a regular basis. Staff members may have to convince stockholders that an acquisition or merger is in their best interest. Financial Relations A parallel function to investor relations is to provide extensive information to the financial community including security analysts at brokerage houses, large banks and similar institutions, and to weigh the information and make judgments on a company's financial strength and prospects. On the basis of their recommendations, institutional investors and brokerage firms buy or sell a company's stock. A thorough knowledge of finance, as well as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, is essential for a public relations person specializing in financial relations. Community Relations A company is a vital part of a community and as such has obligations to that community through various kinds of support including encouraging employees to do volunteer work, providing a grant to the local orchestra or art museum, donating needed equipment to local schools or hospitals and so on. Good community relations include efforts to improve the quality of life in the community. Employee Relations 14JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS In any organisation, there must be a good communication "flow" between management and employees and employees and management. The public relations department often works closely with personnel or human resources to achieve good employee relations through publication of an employee newsletter, magazine, newspaper, or video news magazine, the writing of brochures to explain company policies and benefits, preparation of audio-visual materials for training and policy-transmission purposes, the scheduling of staff meetings and seminars, the training of speakers among managers and supervisors who serve as communicators to employees, and coordination of employee productivity or energy conservation campaigns. Special Events Management Public relations personnel are responsible for the planning and implementation of special events including sponsorship of the games, of civic or cultural events and festivals. Public Affairs The actions of government on the local, state, and national level have major effects on how companies conduct their affairs. Thus, a number of PR people work in an area often referred to as governmental relations. In this role, public affairs executives seek to influence legislation through contact with legislators and governmental regulatory agencies. A public affairs manager must be "concerned with the management function covering the relationship between the organisation and its external environment and involving key tasks of intelligence gathering and analysis, external action programmes directed at government, communities and the general public as well as strategic issue management and internal communications." A lobbyist has a narrower function "concerned with direct or indirect means of exercising influence on passage or defeat of legislative bills or regulatory actions, and to influence their outcomes." Issues Management Issues management is the management process of determining how various public issues will affect a company. The manager must identify the issue, analyse it, ascertain options open to the company, initiate a plan of action and evaluate the results (e.g., How would a company handle investments in the Republic of South Africa? How would a company handle environmental legislation impacting specific manufacturing processes?). Trade Associations 15JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Trade associations are generally comprised of member companies that produce the same type of product or provide similar services. The association works to promote or oppose legislation, informs the public about the industry, and undertakes statistical and other types of research for the benefit of its members. Examples include: Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, National, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria. Labour Unions Labour unions must use public relations extensively to inform members about pension plans, insurance programs, and contract negotiations to name a few tasks. In addition, labour unions participate actively in politics from the federal to the local level by endorsing and financing candidates and taking positions on political issues. Professional Societies Like the Nigerian Medical Association, the Nigerian Dental Association, the Nigerian Bar Association, work as professional societies to support legislative campaigns, advocate professional standards, publish information at both the skilled professional and general readership levels, recruit membership, and generally work to strengthen the profession's stature in the public mind. Government or Military Relations Government or military offices personnel work as public relations practitioners although they are most commonly referred to as public information officers (specialists) or public affairs officers (specialists). Sports Information and Entertainment Publicists These work basically as press agents to promote the personalities and careers of movie stars, musicians, rock bands, athletes, politicians, authors and so on. Professional sports teams have a public relations specialist. Many university sports teams or athletic departments have public relations specialists in most developed countries. Generally, professionals in the sports industry are referred to as promotions directors or managers. 16JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Educational Public Relations Public relations plays a vital part in almost every educational institution. Fund raising is an important part of educational public relations. In urban areas, elementary and high school districts frequently employ public relations officers to assist the news media and to work with parents and school groups. Collegiate public relations practitioners may distribute news releases containing information about campus events and personalities, prepare periodicals, brochures and catalogues, maintain ties with alumni, maintain relations with local, state and federal government officials, recruit students, maintain internal relations with faculty, staff and students, solicit donations from foundations, alumni, federal and state governments and special interest groups (a serious task in private institutions). Generally, however there are five major areas where public relations experts usually work which are: 1. Corporations 2. Non profit organizations and Trade Associations 3. Governments- State, Federal, Local 4. Public Relations Agencies 5. Independent Consulting Firms It is important to note that working in any of these public relations job areas entails same general skills but there are very wide differences in terms of job demands, challenges and complexities. Corporations: Corporations refer to organizations that produce goods and services with a strong motive for profit. In today’s world, corporations do not only offer most of the jobs in public relations, but they equally offer the greatest variety of jobs. Can you think of the reasons for this? Some common corporations in Nigeria include: Nigeria Bottling Company (NBL), Unilever Nigeria, NICON Insurance, First Bank, etc. In most corporations, public relations jobs focus on specific publics. Indeed, several big corporations create different sub departments for their various publics, thus you have employee relations, media relations, government relations, community relations consumer relations, etc. If the corporation is a public limited liability company, it could have a financial relations department otherwise known as investor relations department. Each of these departments is usually headed by a public relations personnel who is an expert in a given sub-field. Their duties would include research as well as advising the organisation’s management. They also plan, execute and evaluate communication programmes. It is important to look at specific job demands in each of these areas. 17JLS 610 PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS Governments: Government Departments at Federal, state, and local levels also employ public relations personnel. If you get a job in any of these places, you would be called by such titles as press secretary, public information officer, public affairs officer, etc. Your job would involve writing news releases and position papers, speaking with reporters, speech writing and press briefing. You may equally ply your trade with political parties. Your duties will include all the above and voter relations and media relations. Public Relations Agencies: There are lots of challenges and opportunities for growth and development if you work in a public relations agency. The work is enormous because companies that have in-house public relations departments and those who do not would at one time or the other require the services of an independent public relations organisation. Thus, agencies handle public relations activities of other organisations, corporations, non-profit set ups, governments and even individuals. For instance, some corporations may hire your agency to handle its annual report to stockbrokers or its overseas investors. You could be hired to partner with other agencies or bodies or even the public relations department of a corporation to do research, planning, communication and evaluation.. Just as it is in advertising agencies, staff of public relations agencies are often assigned to accounts. Usually, an account would include all the public relations activities planned for one particular client. Accounts are managed by account executives. It would be their job to research into the public relations problems, write messages, and decide on media and placement. They equally do evaluation of such campaigns. It is now very common to have public relations staff specialising in various areas of an account. Some are experts in message designing, media planning and placement, while others focus on research. In some cases, a staff could take up more responsibilities than one. Public relations agencies vary in size. There are some that work as a small part of big advertising agencies while others are full-fledged, full- blown agencies, yet others are one room agencies. Known public relations agencies in Nigeria are Progan Promotions, Lagos, Trucontact, Lagos. Independent Public relations Consultants: You may equally which to ply you trade as a one man public relations consultant. Successful public relations consultants are often persons with broad experience having worked in a few agencies and handled several successful accounts. They are a one-man agency. Very often they specialise in small areas of public relations like crisis communication, speech writing, international public relations, etc. In the words of Guth and Marsh (2000) ‘The main 18

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