Your Organization: What Role PR?

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Your Organization: What Role PR?

By: Robert A. Kelly

As a manager, does your current business, non-profit or association public relations effort concern itself primarily with radio and newspaper publicity? Or does it concentrate on a specialty area like financial communications or trade relations? Or, possibly, it deals each day with sales support or government affairs?

Actually, maybe your PR effort should concentrate on delivering what you really need?

For example, PR that really does something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that most affect your organization?

PR that uses its fundamental premise to deliver external stakeholder behavior change - the kind that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives?

And PR that persuades those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then moves them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed?

What fundamental PR premise are we suggesting as your new action blueprint? People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

The results can be very satisfying: membership applications on the rise; customers starting to make repeat purchases; fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; community leaders beginning to seek you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; prospects starting to do business with you; higher employee retention rates, capital givers or specifying sources beginning to look your way, and even politicians and legislators starting to view you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association communities.

The first step, obviously, is involving the public relations people assigned to your unit and getting them on board the new approach. Be sure everyone buys into why it's so important to know how your outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Be especially certain they accept the reality that negative perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can damage your organization.

Plan carefully how you will monitor and gather perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Your PR people, who are already in the perception and behavior business, can be of real use for this opinion monitoring project. Yes, you can always use professional survey firms, but that can turn out to cost real money . However, whether it's your people or a survey firm who handles the questioning, the objective is to identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

Your next chore is identifying which of the above problems becomes your corrective public relations goal -- clarify the misconception, spike that rumor, correct the false assumption or fix certain other inaccuracies?

You achieve that goal only when you select the right strategy from the three choices available to you. Change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. Picking the wrong strategy is only slightly worse that forgetting to serve horseradish mustard with the corned beef. And please be certain the new strategy fits comfortably with your new public relations goal. You wouldn't want to select "change" when the facts dictate a "reinforce" strategy.

Here we have the question of what to say when you sit down to create a persuasive message aimed at members of your target audience. Always a challenge to put together action-forcing language that will help persuade any audience to your way of thinking.

Be certain you have your best writer on this assignment because s/he must create some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to shift perception/opinion towards your point of view and lead to the behaviors you have in mind.

Now, an easy step - pick the communications tactics to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. Insuring that the tactics you select have a record of reaching folks like your audience members, you can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others.

With, as always, the credibility of the message at stake, you may wish to deliver it in small getogethers like meetings and presentations rather than through a higher-profile media announcement.

Inevitably, you'll soon hear from your colleagues re: signs of progress. What that signals for you and your PR team is a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. You'll want to use many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session. More to the point, you will now be watching very carefully for signs that the bad news perception is being altered in your direction.

We're lucky in this business that these matters usually can be accelerated by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

This workable public relations blueprint will help you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary.

So, while you did not ask for this public relations advice, I hope you will agree that the people you deal with do, in fact, behave like everyone else - they act upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operation. Leaving you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move your key external audiences to actions you desire.


Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at Word count is 1165 including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly Copyright 2004.)

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations. Visit:


Kat 22.05.2008. 22:56

What roles does a receptionist at a tattooo shop do? I have an inteview at a Tattoo Shop on Monday i'm really excited and this is a job interview i don't want to stumble through.
So does anyone know what sorts of roles that i would be doing?
When they ask me what i want and what i think i will be doing i want to be as accurate as possibly.
Please only answer if you know not just guessing, if your working at a tattoo shop or know someone who is please help.

Thank you


Admin 22.05.2008. 22:56

I've gotten to know the guys who man the front desk where I go moderately well, plus been there often enough (duh...) to watch their tasks. What I've seen:

Scheduling appointments, sometimes with minimal commentary from artists. "Put him on for me next Friday, you know what times I like".

Initial customer contact. You get to talk to the problem makers, folks looking for a deal, drunks... plus walk-ins who want a tattoo "nownownownow!". On the lighter side, you will answer basic tattoo questions, things like aftercare recommendations, questions about a design ("you probably can't have lines that thin, but you can ask ..."). Oh, and newbie panic calls from people who just had their first tattoo and think the ink is falling off.

Coordination with the rest of the clientèle. There's generally paperwork, not just check/cash/credit card transactions, that someone needs to deal with. And if the artist is running late you might need to play PR with a touchy customer.

Phones. People calling in for an appointment, cancelations, talking to vendors, ordering shipments of supplies (later taking them).

Other "duties as assigned". This could mean sweeping up, running out to get lunch for an artist fully booked, or who knows. There's a lot of face to face stuff, so be good with people and organization.

I'd say the best thing is to appear genial, flexible, easy-going, calm and creative.

It probably helps a lot if you're into tattoos & piercing, but that probably goes without saying.

Addendum: Almost forgot... smacking idiots like me when I crack lame jokes while "stoned" on endorphins. :)


eventsgirl25 16.07.2007. 18:22

How do I go about getting my name out about being an event consultant? I am currently employed full-time as an events specialist at a new york based PR Firm. However, I would like to eventually be self-employed and work as an event's consultant- primarily for corportate events. My goal is to be able to create my own schedule and work from home, while doing what I love to do-events! Any ideas how to get the word out besides a cold call?
I am currently employed full-time as an events specialist at a new york based PR Firm. However, I would like to eventually be self-employed and work as an event's consultant- primarily for corportate events. Being in NYC, it's not as easy as putting my flyer in a local businesses or on a telephone pole. My goal is to be able to create my own schedule and work from home, while doing what I love to do-events! Any ideas how to get the word out besides a cold call?


Admin 16.07.2007. 18:22

NETWORK! Find out what kind of special events organizations are around and take active roles in them (your current job may actually pay the membership fees!). Join groups likeInternational Special Events Society, Meeting Planners International, and or your local Convention Bureau. The events business is cliquish, you have to know people. And, you have to be aroud a while because lots of people get in and out of the events business thinking its all glamourous and thus the players keep their distance until they know you are gonna be around for a while. Check out those groups...


Angela L 03.04.2007. 20:01

What is the proper role of PR within an organization? Should PR specialists try to put a good face on bad news?

Angela L

Admin 03.04.2007. 20:01

that's thier main job, crisis management, also advertising. Not that you put a good face on it, #1 rule you can't lie, (or shouldn't) you'll get caught and look even worse. You accept responsibility and take immediate steps to do all you can to fix it. The PR guy comes out and says, we're on top of it, we're concerned, we don't like it any more than you do and we're in this with you to make things right. You can say we learned or better it happened in a small scale, but don't make light of death or atrocities.

On something very minor you could spin it positive, strawberry and grape jelly got mixed up in the factory and is now swirled or mixed, oops, sorry if you bought the grape jelly, but on the plus side we just discovered a new flavor, strawberry and grape swirl. enjoy.


Josh M 21.08.2011. 12:10

What is the best career transition from public relations? I've been working in public relations for years and have great references and strong experience. However, PR is one of the most impacted industry in our current recession. I'm looking for a career change where I can use those communication skills in a more stable industry.

Josh M

Admin 21.08.2011. 12:10

Marketing Communications. The scope of responsibilities is wider in this position (and pay tends to be higher from experience). Employment tends to be more steady and more opportunities exist within a broad array of organisations. Also your skills are likely to be transferrable due to some overlap with the PR role.


solstice 30.11.2010. 22:26

Where can i find help to get a medicine? My 4 yr old nice has a rare clotting condition that requires the medication Amicar 1.6 g .We cant afford it, is there any organization, or program that may help us? A month supply is over $1,000, and she lives in Puerto Rico. PLEASE HELP US?


Admin 30.11.2010. 22:26

I am sorry I cannot tell you about this medication.

However, Fish oil helps with thinning the blood naturally and is very capable of helping with clotting. I would surely be giving her fish oil capsules along with chia seeds, Coq10, ginger and garlic.

Google fish oil for clotting and you will find many articles on the subject. You can purchase at a great price at and they do ship to PR! Also this one has no fishy aftertaste!

Here are a few:

CHIA seeds are very healthy and have MORE of the EFA's than flax seed! Very easy to include in diet or eat on their own.

I hope you at least start getting her these natural things that will have NO side effects like the medication will. The chia seeds are so easy to eat too. They pretty much taste like nothing and are smaller than a sesame seed. You can also make the chia gel which is so easy to take!

Please do some research on the natural products. The information is invaluable and you will learn how to not rely so much on medicine that can cause further harm by side effects and then they put people on other medications for the side effects.

So sorry about your niece. Please start her on the chia seeds at the very least!

Here is an article on Ginger and blood thinning. There are many many out there!


Chris D 02.07.2008. 18:27

Can a convicted felon be on the board of directors in a California non-profit organization? Where can I find California non-profit law regarding convicted felons?

Chris D

Admin 02.07.2008. 18:27

Yes, a convicted felon may be on the board of directors of a nonprofit. If the nonprofit is focused on serving the needs of people who have been incarcerated and are trying to reform, this might actually be considered an appropriate role -- a board of directors should always consider having someone from the population they serve among their membership. Otherwise, the nonprofit should consider whether or not its appropriate, from a PR standpoint, to have a convicted felon among the membership of the group that is fiscally responsible for the organization.

You might consider posting your question to this blog focused on Nonprofit law in California

You might also call the nonprofit center nearest you in California for more info. If you are near San Francisco, call CompassPoint.


Tanya 15.04.2012. 12:35

Is it only the PR department responsible for the reputation of an organization? Is it only the PR department which is responsible for how the organization is seen by its various public's or does every employee have a role to play?


Admin 15.04.2012. 12:35

Every employee. This has always been true, but thanks to social media, it's even more true.


LadieLincoln 23.12.2006. 05:35

What is the difference between marketing, advertising, and public relations? I'm getting a B.S. in Communication Studies which is a very broad major. I'm trying to decide what career path I want to take, but I'm not sure about the difference between marketing, advertising and public relations. Could someone give me a brief break down of each?


Admin 23.12.2006. 05:35

Marketing is a social and managerial function that attempts to create, expand and maintain a collection of customers. It attempts to deliver demand satisfying output through profitable exchanges.

Advertising is paid communication through a non-personal medium in which the sponsor is identified and the message is controlled. Variations include publicity, public relations, product placement, sponsorship, underwriting, and sales promotion. Every medium is used to deliver these messages: television, radio, movies, magazines, newspapers, the internet, and billboards.

Advertising plays a critical role in capitalist economies in creating demand for industrial output. Thus, advertising clients are predominantly profit-seeking corporations. In 1997, in the U.S. alone, over $175 billion USD was spent on advertising. Non-profits are not typical advertising clients, and rely upon free channels, such as public service announcements.

While advertising can be seen as necessary for economic growth, it is not without social costs. Unsolicited Commercial Email and other forms of spam have become so prevalent as to have become a major nuisance of users of these services, as well as being a financial burden on internet service providers.Advertising is increasingly invading public spaces, such as schools, which some critics argue is a form of child exploitation. One scholar has argued that advertising is a toxic by-product of industrial society which may bring about the end of life on earth.

Public relations (PR) is the art of managing communication between an organization and its key publics to build, manage and sustain a positive image.


Tony 12.03.2012. 01:00

Public relations career is it on the rise or decline? Well I think the headline up top pretty much gives you the premise of this question. But I want to know if by any chance any of you may know if the salary of an entry level position in Public Relations is average or below average with a bachelors degree. Also if you know anyone who happens to have worked in PR or if you yourself have worked in PR I would love it if you could give a small overview of what the career entails. Thank you in advance for your time.


Admin 12.03.2012. 01:00

If you are seriously considering this career you should read the whole article from the the US Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook

The section relevant to your question is posted below:

Job Outlook

Employment is projected to grow much faster than average; however, keen competition is expected for entry-level jobs.

Employment change. Employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The need for good public relations in an increasingly competitive and global business environment should spur demand for these workers, especially those with specialized knowledge or international experience. Employees who possess additional language capabilities also are in great demand.

The recent emergence of social media in the public relations is expected to increase job growth as well. Many public relations firms are expanding their use of these tools, and specialists with skills in them will be needed.

Employment in public relations firms is expected to grow as firms hire contractors to provide public relations services, rather than support more full-time staff when additional work is needed.

Among detailed industries, the largest job growth will continue to be in advertising and related services.

Job prospects. Keen competition likely will continue for entry-level public relations jobs, as the number of qualified applicants is expected to exceed the number of job openings. Many people are attracted to this profession because of the high-profile nature of the work. Opportunities should be best for college graduates who combine a degree in journalism, public relations, or another communications-related field with a public relations internship or other related work experience. Applicants who do not have the appropriate educational background or work experience will face the toughest obstacles.

Additional job opportunities should result from the need to replace public relations specialists who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

Nature of the Work

Public relations specialists handle organizational functions, such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. Public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. Sometimes, the subject of a press release is an organization and its policies toward employees or its role in the community. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does to advance that issue.

Public relations specialists also arrange and conduct programs to maintain contact between organization representatives and the public. For example, public relations specialists set up speaking engagements and prepare speeches for officials. These media specialists represent employers at community projects; make film, slide, and other visual presentations for meetings and school assemblies; and plan conventions.


Median annual wages for salaried public relations specialists were $51,280 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,400 and $71,670; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,140, and the top 10 percent earned more than $97,910.


Kristina4uxox 25.06.2006. 11:40

What are some tips when going for a job interview? for example type of clothing or things to say and what not to say please help.


Admin 25.06.2006. 11:40

Like many career advice experts, Steve Fogarty, staffing partner at Waggener Edstrom, says candidates should research a company thoroughly before an interview. And if the company is a private firm, that's not an excuse to skip doing your homework.

Where there's a will, there's a way, and finding a way to gather information on a company "distinguishes the great candidates from the good candidates," says Fogarty.

Consider Fogarty's company, a large independent public relations agency. He says that if someone were trying to find out about Waggener Edstrom, the candidate could take a number of steps. In addition to simply visiting the company's Web site, joining a trade organization like the Public Relations Society of America would almost certainly give someone interested in his company exposure to people who work there.

Fogarty offers a less conventional method as well: "People might be able to find a press release that one of our PR people has written and contact that person and say, ?I saw your press release. It looks really good. Would you be open to me asking a few questions? I'm doing research on your company.' That's a way to get information."

What else can you do to improve your chances at the interview? Try these tips from Fogarty:

Be Concise

Interviewees rambling on is one of the most common blunders Fogarty sees. "You really have to listen to the question, and answer the question, and answer it concisely," he says. "So many people can't get this basic thing down. You ask them a question, and they go off on a tangent. They might think you want to hear what they're saying, but they didn't answer your question."

Provide Examples

It's one thing to say you can do something; it's another to give examples of things you have done. "Come with a toolbox of examples of the work you've done," advises Fogarty. "You should come and anticipate the questions a recruiter's going to ask based on the requirement of the role. Think of recent strong strategic examples of work you've done, then when the question is asked, answer with specifics, not in generalities. You should say, ?Yes, I've done that before. Here's an example of a time I did that?,' and then come back and ask the recruiter, ?Did that answer your question?'"

Be Honest

Somehow, candidates get the impression that it's best to try to dance around difficult questions. "If you don't have a skill, just state it. Don't try to cover it up by talking and giving examples that aren't relevant. You're much better off saying you don't have that skill but perhaps you do have some related skills, and you're happy to tell them about that if they like."

Keep Your Guard Up

According to Fogarty, you can split recruiters into two schools. There are those who are very straight-laced and serious, and candidates better take the process seriously as well when dealing with them.

"Then you have recruiters like me," he says, chuckling. "I'm going to be that candidate's best friend when they call me. My technique is to put them at ease, because I want them to tell me everything, and a lot of candidates mess up in this area. They start to think, ?Oh, this guy is cool. I can tell him anything.' And then they cross the line." And that can take a candidate out of contention. Remember: Always maintain your professionalism.

Ask Great Questions

Fogarty says nothing impresses him more than a really good question that not only shows you've researched the company in general, but the specific job you're hoping to land as well. "That makes me go, ?Wow, this person has really done their homework. They not only know the company, but they know the role.'"


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