The Importance of Public Relations

The Importance of Public Relations

Public relations professionals do more than draft press releases and build relationships with key media representatives. They must also be familiar with the attitudes and concerns of consumers, employees, public interest groups, and the community in order to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships.

In addition to fulfilling their traditional role of getting a company’s message out to its audience, those who have completed their studies in communications and public relations may also be responsible for developing and running programs designed to keep the lines of communication open between company and organization representatives and their various audiences. This might include such activities as scheduling speaking engagements for key company staff and speech writing.

Public Relations

Why is Public Relations Important?

At its core, public relations revolves around this universal truth: people act based upon their perception of facts. By managing, controlling, or influencing people’s perceptions, public relations professionals hope to initiate a sequence of behaviors that will lead to the achievement of an organization’s objectives. When those in public relations successfully create, change, or reinforce opinion through persuasion, their primary objective is accomplished.

How Does Public Relations Work?

Public relations professionals follow a set of principles in order to achieve success. Most campaigns begin with the identification of the problem or challenge, then move on to setting the public relations’ goal. In order to achieve the goal, the public relations specialist crafts persuasive messages and implements key communication tactics while monitoring progress and fine tuning as necessary.

Career Opportunities in Public Relations

Those who have either earned their degree from an accredited communications and public relations educational program, or obtained a public relations graduate certificate, have a wide variety of career options. Jobs range from being employed by an individual, such as celebrity publicists, to large firms, such as corporate public relations managers and executives.

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Learn more about public relations degree programs offered at these universities:
Walden University & Ashford University

Public Relations for the Stars: Publicists

Publicists can turn a little known actor into a household word. In essence, they are responsible for nurturing and shaping a star’s career by creating an image though various public relations activities. Sometimes known as publicity agents, publicists work to get their clients the right kind of press coverage and help them to restore or “reinvent” their public image if it’s been damaged. One of the best known publicists is Lois Smith. Over the course of her career she has worked with stars and film directors including Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, Rosie O’Donnell, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Martin Scorsese, Robert Redford, and Steven Soderbergh.

Working For Companies: Public Relations Firms

While some companies keep the function of public relations entirely in house, others opt to outsource all public relations functions. Others strike a balance in which in-house public relations efforts are complemented by the work of an outside agency. A good example of an agency campaign that has increased product sales while raising awareness and establishing a company as a concerned corporate citizen is Yoplait’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign. This unique breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign has Yoplait making a donation for every pink yogurt container lid mailed back into the company. The campaign has not only raised awareness and funds (Yoplait has donated over $10 million for breast cancer research), it has also given the brand added visibility and resulted in increased sales.

Considering a Public Relations Career?

It’s no secret that communication skills are important for those considering a career in the public relations field. Pairing an English or Journalism degree with courses in marketing, sales, public relations, and business can be an effective way to prepare for a career in this industry. There are also many excellent online communications and public relations degree programs and public relations graduate certificate programs to choose from which can make learning about this exciting industry convenient and rewarding.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Why You Need PR

Why You Need PR
Getting the word out about your product or service should always be a priority.
Q: Why is public relations important for my company?

A: According to Public Relations News, “Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

PRWhile the public part implies inclusion of things like public affairs, community relations, investor relations, public press conferences, media events, internal communications and crisis communications, it also involves a lot of behind-the-scenes, non-public activity. It could involve simply the writing of a press release, but it could also involve coordinating media contacts for an event or conference, securing credentials, lobbying for article placement and the like.

Sometimes public relations is an effort to influence the public. This is especially true for political action groups, associations and other groups. Sometimes public relations is community relations. Just look around your own community to see how many companies and organizations have a community affairs initiative or a person in charge with a related title. In larger, publicly held firms, this person is sometimes the director of investor relations. Investors are a public entity, so in this case public relations is appropriate.

What the public wants to hear is a good story. Good PR is the telling of a good story. The better the story, the better the acceptance by the public and the better the public relations. Of course if the story is especially appealing to those that could be your clients, then you could have a PR homerun. In this case, it is communication with your target market that may or may not be very public.

PR’s importance is changing, according to The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR (HarperBusiness). American marketing strategists Al and Laura Ries argue that public relations has become the most effective way to build a brand. Well-known brands like The Body Shop, PlayStation and Harry Potter spend little on brand-name advertising. The same is true for many entrepreneurial companies like yours. Business owners become known in their respective fields of concentration many times through public relations and the associated media generated.

PR is communication in many ways with your target market. Maybe instead of public relations we ought to call it target market relations or TMR. You may be communicating about a new product, spreading news about your company or making a major announcement. You want to communicate publicly, but the only people you care about are potential prospects, customers or investors, in the case of a partnership or a public company. One exception may be communication to a group that you are trying to influence for the best interest of your company and target market. An example of this is lobbying government.

Define what your public or target is in your public relations effort. This is best done by defining your target market and then any sub-segment. Lining up publications and broadcasts with the market and the segments will define what the public is for your public relations.

The bottom line is to get word out about you, your company, your products and services to those who could potentially buy from you. Public relations is just one part of marketing, as marketing is made up of many things. The good news about PR is the cost and the effectiveness when it’s in front of your target market.

Alfred J. Lautenslager is an award-winning marketing and PR consultant, direct-mail promotion specialist, principle of marketing consulting firm Marketing Now, and president and owner of The Ink Well, a commercial printing and mailing company in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit his Web sites at, or e-mail him at

MWV’s Packaging Matters™: Enhancing Reputation With Thought Leadership

MWV’s Packaging Matters™: Enhancing Reputation With Thought Leadership


Historically known as a materials supplier and forestry company, MWV, in partnership with Edelman, developed a thought leadership platform to help redefine itself as a packaging solutions company for industries such as health care, food services, consumer packaged goods and more. MWV wanted to study why packaging matters — or should matter — to brand owners, retailers and consumers alike.

The aptly named annual research, Packaging Matters™, examines the impact packaging has on shopping behavior, how it influences product satisfaction and how it motivates consumers in global markets to behave in different ways. Packaging Matters™ illustrates MWV’s longstanding commitment toward consumer insights-driven packaging development in the industry.

Now in its third year, MWV uses Packaging Matters™ data to help brand owners better understand consumers’ relationship with packaging. This helps brands improve their product packaging, which increases consumer satisfaction and builds brand loyalty.

MWV’s Packaging Matters™: Enhancing Reputation With Thought Leadership


Helping Find One’s Executive Presence

Helping Find One’s Executive Presence



Helping Find One’s Executive Presence

executive-presence-feat-image-423x198The old adage “image is everything,” is especially important for today’s CEOs.  The way a corporate leader presents themselves has a profound impact on how a company is viewed. A CEO with confidence and the ability to command a room is seen as a leader. A chief executive lacking confidence, and the skills to communicate effectively, is often on shaky ground.

The key for a successful executive is to develop the right combination of confidence, credibility and conviction. Together these characteristics make up one’s “executive presence.”

A leader with executive presence speaks clearly and articulately, communicating with passion and energy. They stand tall, make eye contact and exude confidence with an authoritative voice.

One-on-one coaching is the most effective way to develop executive presence. Through a series of coaching sessions, Edelman’s Corporate Affairs team has helped numerous CEOs build their assertiveness and executive presence. It often comes down to mastering three components:

  • Act the Part: Through a series of exercises, an executive can learn how to take control of a room, carry themselves on stage and project poise under pressure. Lessons also focus on eye contact, body language and posture. A key component is instruction on the “power pose,” an open expansive pose that projects confidence and leadership.
  • Sound the Part: It is essential to instill confidence in an individual. Through a series of exercises, an executive coach can strengthen the way a CEO delivers his or her life narrative and the story of the company, ensuring they are delivered with clarity and confidence. Through a series of workshops, presentation skills are strengthened and refined. A “podium presence” is instilled, where the podium becomes a presenter’s island but he or she is able to freely walk the stage with confidence. The executive is also taught how to interact with an audience and is prepared to answer questions and get a message across using techniques such as bridging, flagging and repetition.
  • Look the Part: An executive’s professional appearance makes a powerful and lasting impression on clients, business partners, stakeholders and employees. Appearances say something about who a person is and the company they represent. Mismatched, ill fitted clothing and a bad haircut can send a message of a poor work ethic.  If an executive wants to be seen as a CEO, he or she has to dress the part. For men, conservative, well-tailored suits, a crisp white shirt, a solid “power tie” and a simple pair of wing tips.  For women, the executive look can include dressy slacks a perfectly cut jacket and pumps. The key is to always focus on the fit. A too-big garment looks sloppy, while too-tight pieces are inappropriate for the workplace.

Through a combination of personal consultations and professional workshops, C-suite leaders can learn the art of “executive presence” and project an image of confidence and power.

Sean Neary is an executive vice president, Corporate Affairs, in Edelman D.C.