What is Public Relations?
Apparently, it was Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American circus owner, who coined the phrase “There's no such thing as bad publicity” and countless examples since have proved what a silly idea that was.
The long-established craft of PR is about managing perception through effective planned communication. It should not be about achieving publicity at any cost. Well-devised and well-executed public relations is essential in preserving and enhancing the reputations of organisations, interest groups and individuals across the entire public and private sector. PR professionals have a vital part to play in disseminating high quality information in the rapidly moving and often febrile world of modern communications.
PR is flourishing in the online environment and has a critical part to play in social media activity as well as in its traditional role of communicating with journalists and broadcasters. Businesses can now reach and engage with target audiences directly through the social networks and with the precise messages free from editing by third parties.
However, this should not detract from the importance of the testimonial value that established media can defer through carrying a story. Also, experienced and sympathetic journalists can sometimes lift a narrative to new levels. So, all communications channels can be relevant and benefit positive target audience awareness.
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Within our team of online communications and marketing specialists, public relations is a core competence, particularly in the B2B environment. We have a long experience of implementing PR programmes for clients in business, industry and professional fields, frequently in tandem with web and social media services. We also pride ourselves on having a strong focus, an ability to plan strategically and to act tactically.
We use our PR expertise in many ways, ensuring that PR objectives are prioritised in online content we produce, including for the social networks. With the public increasingly looking to new sources for their news and information, it is important to have a complete view and knowledge of the communication channels available and which ones are best suited for a given story and a specific client.
It is also essential to be able to recognise the invaluable PR spin-offs that can be created from high quality web content and online marketing material such as newsletters. We frequently find that clients are unaware that some activities they undertake are highly newsworthy and of public interest. Case studies are a prime example, often having implications which extend beyond the client’s specific industry sector. Opportunities for gaining wider recognition, say from decision makers and influencers in important vertical or niche markets, can frequently be missed.
At BBI Brandboost, we have the experience to create the right angles and narratives to appeal to the audiences of the news, consumer, business, professional or technical media being approached. We have the contact building capabilities to open up opportunities for your spokespeople to share their expertise and opinions with your target audiences.
While the beginnings of planned public relations can be traced back to the foundation of the Publicity Bureau in the USA in 1900, a glance through history shows that PR in one form or another goes back a very long way. Apparently, an ancient clay tablet that was found in Iraq recommending new agricultural techniques has been considered the earliest example of public relations.
The word propaganda first came to prominence In 1622, when Pope Gregory XV produced Congregatio de Propaganda ("congregation for propagating the faith"), which was to be used to train missionaries to spread Christianity. The word propaganda has had very negative connotations from World War II onwards and PR professionals would not normally be flattered if they were called “propagandists.”
Our supreme award for crude historic propaganda must go to the explorer Captain Arthur Barlowe, when in 1598 he tried to encourage settlers to venture to the New World by describing a desolate swampy area of Virginia as follows: "The soil is the most plentiful, sweet, fruitful and wholesome of all the world.”
Fortunately, the public today has a huge range of information sources at its disposal and is able to develop a healthy cynicism when faced with ridiculous claims. PR has come a long way since those early days.