Public Relations Notes

Public Relations Presentation

An effective public relations effort involves numerous activities, It includes:

1) Shaping the public image of a product, person or an organization,

2)establishing or restoring communication between consumers and companies and

3) promoting particular individuals or organizations.

The book defines PUBLIC RELATIONS as the total communication strategy conducted by a person, a government, or an organization attempting to reach an audience and persuade it to adopt a point of view.

Public Relations may sound the same as Advertising but in actuality its different.

Advertising uses discrete, simple, and fixed messages (“Our appliance is the most efficient and affordable”), transmitted directly to the public through the purchase of ads for specific products or services. Advertising focuses on generation sales.

Public Relations develops or reshapes an image for a person, an organization, a product, a service, or an issue to make it more marketable, popular, important, compelling, or accessible, among other desired outcomes. PR creates more complex messages that may evolve over time (for example, a political campaign, or a long-term strategy to get rid of l unfavorable reports about “fatty processed foods”). PR may be transmitted to the public indirectly, often through articles and reports in the news media. Finally, public relations messages often reflect larger trends and ideas that are percolating through society—such as the notion that it is good to recycle, or that smoking is bad for you.

Public Relations has a huge influence on American culture. the Industrial Revolution, when people began purchasing (rather than making) many of the goods they needed, manufacturers used PR to emphasize how various industries benefited consumers.

Politicians and organizations also hire PR to shape their image in the media.

More than 2900 PR firms worldwide – 1900 in Us alone

Early History of PR

The first PR practitioners were press agents, people who conveyed favorable messages to the public about their clients, often by staging stunts that reporters described in newspapers. Early press agents were very successful at publicity—which is a type of PR communication that uses various media messages to spread information and interest (or buzz) about a person, a corporation, an issue, or a policy.

P.T. Barnum who used gross exaggeration, fraudulent stories, and staged events to secure newspaper coverage for his clients, for his circus which he promoted as “the greatest show on earth”

William F Cody was another early person who used Press Agents to promote himself and his traveling show: “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World.” were led by John Burke, one of the first to use an array of media channels to generate publicity. Burke promoted Cody’s show through a heady mix of newspaper stories, magazine articles and ads, dime novels, theater marquees, poster art, and early films.

Press Agentry became important to generating profit. Some of the tactics were deceptive. Railroad companies started to pay press agents to help with funding by bringing on journalist to solely write about the positive perspective of the railroad where they engaged in deadheading. giving journalists free rail passes with the tacit understanding that they would write glowing reports about traveling by rail.

by 1900 some journalists started to catch on and began taking a closer look at the business practices that was taking place. They’d report and inform the public of their findings in which it motivated the citizens to question what they were being pitched.

Two PR pioneers who realized that public relations needed to be more professional was Ivy Ledbetter Lee and Edward Barneys. Their approaches emphasized on honesty and directness.

Ivy Ledbetter Lee opened one of the first PR firms with George Parker. One of his first clients was the railroad company, in which there was a huge accident and they hired Lee to downplay the situation. Lee pressed to them about how honesty and directness was far more effective at this point. He was called “Poison Ivy” by his competitors because of his ability to successfully reshape negative images into a positive one.

Edward BArneys,is often considered the “father of public relations.”, opened his own PR office and was the first to apply psychology and physiology to the PR profession. He described the shaping of public opinion as the “engineering of consent”. He developed propaganda that assisted in the US entry into war while shaping Woodrow Wilsons image as a PEACE MAKER. His partner and wife Doris was one of the first women to enter the field. Today women outnumber meant by more than three to one in PR Profession.

The Evolution PR

As the PR profession evolved, two major types of public relations organizations took shape: PR agencies and in-house PR services. Practitioners in this field began excelling at specific functions, such as researching target audiences and formulating messages conveyed to them.

two of the largest PR agencies—BursonMarsteller and Hill & Knowlton and have generated over a half of billion together.

Other PR firms are independent are smaller than the bigger owned ones and have just local or regional operations.

Another service PR Agents craft are called propaganda – This is a biased communication that is presented as advertising or publicity and is intended to gain (or undermine) public support for a special issue, program, or policy—such as a nation’s war effort

First they Research and develop the message. Then they communicate and convey the message.

Press releases, or news releases, are announcements written in the style of news reports that provide new information about an individual, a company, or an organization, now typically issued via e-mail.

video news releases (VNRs)—thirty- to ninety-second visual press releases designed to mimic the style of a broadcast news report.

public service announcements (PSAs): usually fifteen- to sixty-second audio or video reports that promote government programs, educational projects, volunteer agencies, or social reform.


-the Internet, with its instant accessibility, offers public relations professionals a number of new routes for communicating with the public.

-The Web also enables PR professionals to have their clients interact with audiences on a more personal, direct basis through social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, and blogs.

-Unethical Practices were of course taken place in the business. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission instituted new rules requiring online product endorsers to disclose their connections to companies.

Crisis Management is another form of public relations were companies facing a major issue like exxon turns to their PR for help to shape or maintain a positive image. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spilled eleven million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound. The accident contaminated fifteen hundred miles of Alaskan coastline and killed countless birds, otters, seals, and fish. Their PR recommended they had a quick response to the situation and instead they took their time to respond and changed their name. Since they didn’t listen the public still viewed them in a negative light.

Another company who needed Crisis Management was Tylenol in which 7 people died after consuming that someone laced with poison. They recalled tylenol from store shelves in which costed an estimant of $100 million. With much research surveying, campaigns and conferences followed they were able to relaunch Tylenol 3 months later with a tamper-resistant in which other drug manufacturers copied. the public thought Johnson & Johnson had responded admirably to the situation and did not hold Tylenol responsible for the deaths.

Another public relations practice involves coordinating special events to raise the profile of corporate, organizational, or government clients.

A pseudo-event is a different kind of special event… its created for the sole purpose of gaining coverage in the media. Pseudo-events may take the form of press conferences, TV and radio talk-show appearances, or any other staged activity aimed at drawing public attention and media coverage. In which their success is strongly determined by how much media attention the event attracts.

Another responsibility go PR practitioners are to maintain a good will with the public and the company.

They must also Cultivate Government relations. Through such connections, these groups can monitor the regulatory environment and determine new laws’ potential implications for the organizations they represent. government relations has developed into lobbying: the process of trying to influence lawmakers to support legislation that would serve an organization’s or industry’s best interests.

Another unethical practice is astroturf lobbying, which consists of phony grassroots public affairs campaigns engineered by unscrupulous public relations firms. Through this type of lobbying, PR firms deploy blogs, social media campaigns, massive phone banks, and computerized mailing lists to drum up support and create the impression that millions of citizens back their client’s side of an issue—even if the number is much lower.


Do you think the practice of Public Relations is a threat to democracy?

Now that you have a slight knowledge of Public Relations, will you look at the companies you purchase from differently? Will you be a little more skeptical about what you consume and by who?

Do you think Public Relations is unethical no matter the approach they may take?

What are some media coverages you can name that was controlled by Public Relations?


One thought on “Public Relations Notes

  1. What are some media coverages you can name that was controlled by Public Relations?

    One PR disaster that I can think of is one that happened a few years ago to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, an organization that is supposedly committed to women’s health and the fight against breast cancer. The Komen Foundation has received a lot of criticism in the past for having sponsors and messages that stand in direct opposition to women’s health, both mental and physical. For example, why are companies like KFC and Ford sponsoring the Komen Foundation when we know that environmental pollutants like car exhaust and fat and artery clogging fried foods both may very well be risk factors for developing cancer? And what kinds of message does this send to the public? A documentary came out in 2011 called Pink Ribbons Inc, which I encourage everyone to watch before donating to the foundation. It outlines the tricky marketing techniques that Komen has used to develop its brand and image.

    In 2012 however, Komen pulled its $650,000 in funding from Planned Parenthood, an organization that offers reproductive health services to women and more often than not, to minors and uninsured women who do not have access to private insurance and thus medical centers and practitioners. The Komen Foundation took a huge hit. Their PR team tried to recover, stating that the reason they pulled their funding was because of a recent policy that prohibitted funding of organizations under investigation. However, Komen did not pull its $7.5 million in funding from Penn State University, which is under investigation for claims of covering up reports of child sexual abuse by a now-former assistant football coach. It was a disaster for the organization, which has built its brand on honesty and integrity. Social media played a particularly important role in this disaster. I find that the more information that gets passed along via social media, the harder it is for PR firms to control the presentation of a situation. I linked the article below found on the Public Relations Society of America’s webpage. Still, it certainly seems like Komen has recovered since 2012, which just goes to show the power of PR.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s