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Companies utilize a public relations team to create mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and stakeholders. In this lesson, you will learn about public relations management, skills, activities, and the departmental structure.

Public Relations

How does a company create an effective public relations management team? In this lesson, we will discuss who is responsible for managing public issues and the skills required to do so effectively. In addition, we will explain the structure and the activities of a public relations department.What is public relations? It is a communication process that creates mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and various stakeholders.

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The process is ongoing and is critical to creating a positive corporate image and handling business crises. N&N Chocolates has had their share of public relations disasters, including one with mouse droppings found in their chocolate drop bags. Lately, most of their public relations efforts are focused on improving corporate image. Let’s take a look at how they have organized their public relations department.

Public Relations Department

Most public issues are dealt with by a boundary-spanning department called external affairs or public relations. At N;N, this department is made up of savvy individuals who are experienced at dealing with top management, media, the public, consumers, and other stakeholders to ensure continuing communications. There are specific skills that are needed for a public relations employee to be successful. They are:1.

Time ManagementWhen N;N had their mouse dropping crisis, it created multiple public issues for the public relations department to also handle. A public relations professional needs to have excellent time management skills in order to balance multiple tasks at once. N;N’s team had to handle media and consumer inquiries about the mouse droppings, while also planning a crisis response to stockholders upset over the stock price dropping. Finally, due to the crisis, the public relations team was put in charge of additional announcements detailing plant closures and layoffs due to the public relations nightmare.2. OrganizationAnother skill that is needed to handle the pressures of dealing with the public is the ability to organize and be detail-oriented. If a public relations employee is not able to keep track of tasks, respond quickly, and stay focused, the result will be catastrophic for the company.

N&N could not have a public relations executive forget to respond to media requests or consumer needs, as it would tarnish the company’s image even more.3. Computer ; WritingComputer and writing skills are vital for every public relations employee to master. N;N’s workers spend each day writing and typing press releases, emails, and proposals to improve their corporate image after the chocolate issue.

Experience in Photoshop and Quark can also benefit a worker with design projects. For example, one public relations employee is designing a media kit, or prepackaged press pack of company information to highlight N&N’s new focus on charity work with local children’s hospitals.

Public Relations Office Structure

The establishment of the public relations organizational structure depends on how many stakeholders are part of the company.

For example, N&N Chocolates’ Vice President of Public Relations reports directly to the CEO. Under the VP, there are separate managers who have executives and assistants for areas of stakeholders, such as government, media relations, community/corporate image, creative services, and crisis management. When N;N had to deal with the mouse dropping issue, the crisis management team was tasked with the project. Currently, the community/corporate image and the creative services department are working on rebuilding the positive corporate image by focusing on the company’s charity work.

Public Relations Activities

N&N Chocolates’ public relations department has numerous activities that they are responsible for within their scope. The department handles:1.

Advertising ; promotion of the corporation’s image and philanthropy, or charity work, by creating executed messages via the media to build a positive image for organizations.This is the current project of N&N Chocolates’ team through their focus on charity work. They just completed a public service announcement, which shows how 5% of all profits are being used to build playrooms in children’s hospitals across the country.2. Corporate SponsorshipN&N’s public relations department also provides services to any events that will also create a positive image and help sales. For example, N;N helps to sponsor corporate events, such as the local extreme games in various areas across the country to showcase their chocolate nutrition bars.

3. External CommunicationsN;N’s team uses external communications, such as pamphlets, brochures, videos, social media sites, and websites that project corporate messages and information to help the company with sales and image development. Their latest addition was a brand new website that launched featuring their charity work and upcoming extreme game sponsorships.

4. Internal CommunicationsN&N’s public relations team also provides internal communication, which consists of company posters, newsletters, and internal blogs to communicate to their employee stakeholders. Recently, the team launched a newsletter, which featured new employee benefits, such as reimbursable gym memberships and daycare discounts.5. PublicityN;N’s public relations group also provides publicity, or free media coverage or a news story that provides a positive image or sales for the company.

The latest publicity from N&N’s team consists of the product development team giving interviews on morning news shows about how chocolate can improve heart health in hopes of increasing product sales.

Lesson Summary

Public relations plays a central role in creating an effective communication strategy for a company. Public relations is a communication process that creates mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and various stakeholders. The establishment of the public relations organizational structure depends on how many stakeholders are part of the company. A public relations department has many activities to handle, including:

  • Advertising/promotion of the corporation’s image.

  • Corporate sponsorship – N&N’s public relations department also provides services to any events that will also create a positive image and help sales. For example, N;N helps to sponsor corporate events.
  • External communications – N;N’s team uses external communications, such as pamphlets, brochures, videos, social media sites, and websites that project corporate messages and information to help the company with sales and image development.
  • Internal communication consists of company posters, newsletters, and internal blogs to communicate to their employee stakeholders.
  • Publicity, or free media coverage or a news story that provides a positive image or sales for the company.

Learning Outcomes

After you’ve completed this lesson, you should have the ability to:

  • Define public relations and identify its importance
  • List and describe the skills that public relations employees should possess
  • Explain five activities that a public relations department can handle

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