It is rare when I tell someone that you work as a public relations consultant that people instantly know what you are talking about, which is ironic for an industry that centres around communication.
Communication is one of the most basic elements that makes up the social fabric of our world. The ability of humans to be able to tell, listen, inform, explain, persuade, read, write, draw and watch is what allows us to organise towards a common purpose.
As a public relations and communications consultant, my role is to look at the way that organisations are communicating and ensuring that their communication is the most effective for its audience and its purpose. It may be looking at how an organisation communications as a whole (communication strategy), how it communicates to meet a specific objective (a public relations campaign), how it deals with potential threats (issues management), how it engages with the community (community engagement) or how it deals with specific audiences (internal, stakeholders, media).
How does it differ from marketing?
Marketing’s purpose is the create and bring to market a product that meets the needs or adds value to the target audience.
The purpose of public relations is much broader and deals with all of the groups that an organisation must deal with to make sure it has a positive environment from which to conduct its business.
Think of these groups and how important it may be to communicate with them:
- Your employees who are the face of your product, service and organisation
- Government authorities who create the regulatory environment for you to operate in
- Media who can give third-party endorsement to your products, company and brand
- Unions, professional bodies and your industry (including your competitors) who may have an impact on your operations or on the standing of your industry
- The local community in which you operate
While public relations can be used to directly support marketing, think about how difficult it may be for an organisation to conduct its business, if it loses the relationship with any of the groups above?