Functions of Public Relation
According to Bernays (1999), public relations is and art, science and management function which articulates public attitude, policy definition, interest and procedures of an organization to earn public understanding, respect and acceptance. Public relations is a strategic process of connecting ones story to those people who matter most i.e. the key constituents, direct audiences, thought leaders and other decision makers. The primary functions of public relations are:
Public relations may take many forms and normally come under various range of titles which include; public affairs, investor relations, marketing communications and customer relations. There are two broad ranges of public relation functions. One is the organizational and the other societal function. Several groups of individuals use public relations in the following ways;
Corporations and companies use public relations to pass information on the kind of products they produce or the services they offer to their potential customers so as to improve and support its sales efforts. Every company markets and advertises their products and services but those that are successful understand that with a solid public relations office and policy then there is a difference between them and the others. With a strong, on-going and competitive market there is need to burnish the companies brand to rise profits.
Public relations can also be used by organizations as a vehicle to meet prominent personalities who include politicians and other legislators when seeking for favorable taxes, regulatory procedures and other preferential treatment. They may also use it to portray themselves as potentially enlightened employers who are in the frontline in supporting human resource recruiting programs
Many of the Non-profit making organizations such as social service agencies, schools and universities and hospitals use public relations during their awareness programs, organizing project fund raising staff recruitment and increasing the patronage of most of some of their services.
Politicians use public relations as a tool to garner and attract votes and money from their supporters so that they may become successful at the ballot box.
Celebrities use to reach their fans worldwide. They normally adopt the popular mode theory of ‘any publicity is good publicity’ at all costs to reach their targets.
Governments and various non govermental organizations use public relations to pass and communicate policies to the public and its citizens. The introduction of laws and new legislations say from parliament need to reach the people as soon as it is possible.
Mirth’s Healthcare International
Mirth’s healthcare international is a Non-profit making organization assisting poor families and children get proper medical attention. To such organizations, public relation is very important to ensure that their sponsors and the public trust them and continue to fund them. An issue such as corruption within such an organization touches both societal and organizational concerns hence requires skills and strategies while addressing them. To address corruption in the organization the public relations officer need to take into considerations the following;
The nature of the corruption allegation
Who are the persons involved
How the law and investigators can deal with such allegations.
What consequences does it have in the organization
What does the company policies and regulations address corruption
The implications of such serious concerns are usually harsh and the organization may have its license withdrawn from operation. In addition to that, individuals who are found guilty of the offence face dare consequences and dismissal from service. From the gravity of this matter, the office of the public relations manager of Mirth’s healthcare International would approach groups such as the anti-corruption crusaders and investigators to conduct a thorough investigation into the whole issue. Meanwhile, the public relations officer would call a briefing of the administrators of Mirth’s healthcare international so that everybody understands what is happening. The public relations officer would use his office to talk to the press about the issue and try to put forward a certain point of view on behalf of Mirth’s healthcare International. One could also gather the necessary facts about the issue and present it to the investigators. This can be done by forming a special committee to look into the matter and come up with primary investigations relating the whole issue.
For positive image creation, the organization would try to use all its resources in the public relations office to defend itself in the face of the public so that the matter is only between the administrators of Mirth’s healthcare International and the law enforcers. This will ensure that other organizations which partner in their duties with Mirth’s healthcare International remain committed to the organization and continue to work just as it has been the case before. Public addresses and campaign on other relevant issues would help the organization keep its image intact on a shorter term. Seminars are normally used to clear any unnecessary misconception. The organization can also conduct civic education on some preventable diseases, their causes and how to control them. And in such education venues caution the public to be weary of any propaganda being spread concerning massive corruption in the Mirth’s healthcare International.
There are many goals to be achieved with proper public relations policies which include the building and improvement of an image, correcting a mistruth and promoting education on a specific issue (Kelly, 2003). Public relations is therefore a planned effort to influence opinions through good character and responsible performances based upon mutual and satisfactory two-way communications among business people and their customers, politicians and their constituents e.t.c.
Bernays, E. (1995): Public Relations: Boston; M.A. Bellman Publishing Company
Crifas, S.C. (2001): ‘Everything’s coming Up Rosie’: Public Relations Tactics,
September, 2001, vol.7 public relations society of America
Kelly, K.S. (2003): Effective fundraising management. New York, Lawrence Erlbaum