Today, we live in a globalized society. By this I mean that very few things private or localized anymore. The internet has served as a tool to close the synapses of physical distance between two parties, and this concept holds true between businesses and their consumers. Most businesses have effectively extended their presences to the internet through social media and their own websites. Due to this type of presence, the level of interactivity between businesses and their consumers has reached an unprecedented level.
In accordance with this heightened level of interactive communication, public relations have reached a new level of importance. With this being the case, it’s surprising to me the amount of people who have little or no idea what public relations are. Public relations are oftentimes confused with advertising but there is a simple phrase that makes it easy to differentiate the two, “Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”
Essentially this means that while both advertising and public relations aim to draw an audience’s attention towards an organization or product, advertising is paying for media attention and public relations is convincing a third party, such as a newspaper or blog, to relay a message for them.
A key thing that I have taken away from my Principles of Public Relations class is how delicate public relations can be. It is incredibly important to thoroughly examine and contemplate the possible effects of a campaign before going through with its execution. This became clear by examining ample examples of both successful and failed campaigns in class. Lack of foresight has led to plenty of public relations blunders, but honesty, accuracy and careful planning has birthed myriad successful campaigns. Sparking controversy can definitely be a good thing, especially if you’re dealing with caffeine fiends who hate red cups, but can also be absolutely disastrous if not executed properly. Ultimately, public relations shouldn’t be seen as an avenue for profit or be used to feign interest in internet fads to falsely relate to an audience, but should be viewed as a valuable and powerful tool to connect and communicate openly and earnestly with an audience.