PR… Public Relations! Before continuing with what I am about to write, I would like to emphasize that this article is written in a local context, i.e. for our little Mauritius Island lying in the midst of the vast Indian Ocean!
PR…Public Relations, what is it? As all PR and Marketing students tend to learn in university or just from gaining work experience, Public Relations “is the way organisations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. A PR specialist communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the audience.” (Quoting IPR.org.uk)
However, I have sadly noticed that in local arena, Public Relations often gets misinterpreted.
The key words that should be retained here are image, audience and positive. I have recently encountered Sales people wondering “so hey how will this boost our Sales figures?” not to mention the utter confusion of always associating Marketing to Sales as well and confusing both terms. All and all, a WHOLE lot of confusion.
Essentially, Public Relations is sometimes what I like to call the “cost-effective” way to gain credibility, build a reputation as it almost can be done “free”. Being able to appreciate this is well… sometimes challenging. Unlike advertising, PR Pros draft articles, disseminate them to the media and gain coverage for your organisation in the press without you having to spend a cent. For that, a media pitch needs originality, dynamism and to be catchy! And that my friend, requires talent.
A bit like love I would say. While sales pitches and advertisements require a push attitude where one spends money and gains the goods, Public Relations on the other hand, has the power to just quietly swoop in, and subtly conquer hearts.
All and all, Public Relations has a long term focus and will not only increase your sales figures but can actually forge you into a legend. It is the one who works in the background and watches your back when you get yourself in some deep troubles as PR is a relationship kind of “character”.
Therefore, local companies should think twice before rejecting Public Relations in their business plans as a waste of time and energy as Public Relations is the one who will be there for you; dependable in all situations, moving your company in the right direction and with the right tools.
With PR, once you pop, you really can’t stop!