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Public Relations Departments and Firms

Posted on: March 10, 2009

Chapter 4 in Public Relations Strategies and Tactics discusses PR departments and firms.

  •  PR departments go by many different names. Most of the time, “Public Relations” is not even in that title. “Corporate Communications” and “Communications” outnumber “PR” by almost four to one. Other names could include, Corporate Relations, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Investor Relations, Public Affairs, Marketing Communications, or External Affairs.
  • PR firms provide many different services:
  1. Marketing Communications- Involves promotion of products and services through such tools as news releases, feature stories, special events, brochures, and media tours.
  2. Executuve Speech Training- Top executives are coached on public affairs activities, including personal appearances.
  3. Research and Evaluation- Scientific surveys are conducted to measure public attitudes and perceptions.
  4. Crisis Communication- Management is counseled on what to say and do in an emergency such as an oil spill or a recall of an unsafe product.
  5. Media Analysis- Appropriate media are examined for targeting specific messages to key audiences.
  6. Community Relations- Management is counseled on ways to achieve official and public support for such projects for such projects as building or expanding a factory.
  7. Events Management- News conferences, anniversary celelbrations, rallies, symposiums, and national conferences are planned and conducted.
  8. Public Affairs- Materials and testimony are prepared for government hearings and regulatory bodies, and background briefingsnare prepared.
  9. Branding and corporate reputation- Advice is given on programs that establish a company brand and its reputation for quality.
  10. Financial Relations- Management is counseled on ways to avoid takeover by another firm and effectively communicate with stockholders, security analysts, and institutional investors.
  • Advantages of PR firms:
  1. Objectivity
  2. A variety of skills and expertise
  3. Extensive resources
  4. International jobs
  5. Offices throughout the country
  6. Special problem-solving skills
  7. Credibility
  • Disadvantages of PR firms:
  1. Superficial grasp of a client’s unique problems
  2. Lack of full-time commitment
  3. Need for prolonged briefing period
  4. Resentment by internal staff
  5. Need for strong direction by top management
  6. Need for full information and confidence
  7. Costs
  • How they charge:
  1. Basic hourly fee, plus out-of-pocket expenses
  2. Retainer fee
  3. Fixed project fee

Public Relations – Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition

Wilcox and Cameron-


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