Corporate organizations constitute bulk of recognized Public relations activity involving numerous publics.
The most important “public” of Public Relations activity in a corporation is the employee. He is vital in a more crucial way than people imagine. The employee could be viewed as a decision-maker, someone who cannot merely be a target for communication but who would also be dictating the direction in which the company moves.
Which means that the Public Relations Practitioners cannot be mere purveyors of information, but have to ensure an involvement and participation of and direction from employees. Employee aspirations have soared as a result of which a PR expert has to remember some basic tenets. He has to ensure the least amount of secrecy and holding back of information. He has to cater to many strata of employees, he has to convey the company’s plans, ideas, projects and vision, and also ensuring better communications during a crisis. Effective Public Relations begins at home!
Like notice saying that there would be no Christmas holiday this year due to increased work load, so the employees can plan their schedules in advance.
A shareholder relation is a key aspect of corporate Public Relations. Shareholders, particularly those who have stayed with a company for many years because they value their investment in it, deserve more than just the statutory annual report, interim report or ‘not well’ shareholders visits to the company which turn out to be a mere picnic. A well-treated shareholder can do a lot for the company’s image in terms of his feedback to his peer group. For, armed with his detailed knowledge of the company’s financial status, twinned with the kind of “treatment” the company the metes out to him in terms of goodies like shareholders meets and gifts and information, he can be a better ambassador of the company than the organisation could ever imagine. Also now there are new investor associations, which are championing the rights of shareholders. This is an issue companies need to be aware of so that their interaction can extend beyond shareholders to these associations.
Dhirubhai Ambani considered that corporate duty towards society is not to donate money but to maximize share holder’s wealth.
The area, which occupies considerable amounts of time for any Public Relations department is the relationship with the media. To many people, this is probably the only function of a public relations person. To the Chief executive, this is the area, which is likely to create the greatest problems. To the public relations expert, this is what brings in the best opportunities to communicate the product-policy-plan conundrum of the company through well-mustered plans. To the journalist or the television producer, it is sometimes a reactive situation of reviving unsolicited plugs, but also one, which could provide material for analysis, projection of industrial progress and background for potentially explosive stories.The Cola –Pesticide and the Cadbury – worms controversy.
When public relations was in its infancy, the strongest focus, and perhaps the need of the day, was lobbying with the powers that be. Today, the needs of the company to interact with the policy makers, not just through their government liaison departments, but also through their public relations managers who are expected to be able to study the complete picture and present not just a case for license but a total image package.
They need to be informed of the strategies being pursued by the focus organization, if they are to be able to provide continuity & a quality service.
In addition to the shareholders, there are those individuals or organizations who are either potential investors or those who advice investors. These represent the wider financial community. Financial analysts need to be supplied with information in order that they be up to date with the activities & performance outcomes of organizations, but also need to be adviced of developments within the various markets that the organization operates.If a company has a bagged a big contract overseas, then it can be boasted of.
The local community is often the target of PR activities because of its proximity & the influence that the locals may have on an organization. By attempting to keep it informed & by trying to develop a goodwill & mutual understanding, the local community can be encouraged to identify more strongly with the focus organization.
When Colgate started their business they were not well received. Due to the general attitude of the people, it was considered as non-indian & an outsider. So it came up with a community service programme. It was a programme for the youth & involved dental health & sports at metro & mini-metro cities. It named it as Colgate Palmolive young India programme It was highly successful.
The power & influence held by local authorities cannot be underestimated. Eg: their willingness to grant licenses to a project reflect the attitudes & relationship between the 2 parties.
This group is often the target for PR activities, because although members of the public may not be current customers, the potential they represent is important. The attit udes & preferences towards the organization & its products may be unfavourable. By creating awareness & trust, it is possible to create goodwill interest, which may transform into purchase activity or favourable word-of-mouth communication.
During the dengue fever and malaria scare, Odomos, the mosquito repellent cream company, distributed free tubes of Odomos, in an effort to show that they care about their consumers.
International Public Relations
International PR counseling & services essentially involve assistance to the top management in matters involving people-to-people activities in more than 1 country. Basically, the discipline & techniques used are the same as in domestic PR, but the job is quite different & complex due to social, cultural & language difficulties that exist.
PR in crisis management
Crisis can strike any organization any time. They can be bad, & they are usually visible & a focus of everyone’s attention. In all crises generally a lot is at stake. Image, reputation & money- at the individual , organizational & individual level.