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What a Public Relations Firm Does Today

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Summary: From a seat-of-the-pants opportunistic function, today's public relations has grown into an organized professional discipline calling for extensive research into objectives, demographics, and potential tools of communications.

Do your PR firm have what it takes to tackle the objectives of your clients?

While the thrust for press attention is still at the core of most public relations campaigns, with publicity being the most powerful public relations tool, the modern-day public relations firm is organized along expanded lines, calling for specialists of all kinds. From a seat-of-the-pants opportunistic function, today's public relations field has grown into an organized professional discipline calling for extensive research into objectives, demographics, and potential tools of communications.

The following are the two main specialty areas commonly addressed by the modern-day public relations firm:
  1. Corporate Public Relations
Corporate performance is among the most critical areas in which public relations skills and strategies can make a positive contribution. A corporation is a financial structure that enables managers to perform needed functions in society; the stated goals of these managers give character and leadership to the corporation. It is within this dimension of corporate planning that a systematic and mature public relations team performs an invaluable service.
Corporate and financial public relations planning start with the definition of a company's purpose and its character. A thoughtful, well-organized program is then created to present the company's profile to investors, analysts, bankers, institutional portfolio managers, editors, civic and government officials, and other key audiences.
The public relations firms work for both large and small publicly owned companies. Areas of involvement include counseling on corporate strategic plans, mergers, and acquisitions; identity programs; and other significant events that affect corporate progress.
Staff members include specialists in all corporate relations activities. They write and design annual and quarterly reports; plan annual meetings; arrange presentations to analyst groups; schedule speaking engagements at business and financial forums; maintain relations with the business media; help establish liaison between federal and state legislators; and work with executives in preparing policy statements; position papers, articles; and other published materials.
  1. Marketing Public Relations
In public relations marketing, the goal is to reach segmented audiences and prompt purchasing decisions.
Aggressive, sales-generating campaigns stimulate brand-name awareness for many of the world's best-known consumer, industrial and professional products and services companies—from airlines, automobiles, beer, and cameras to pharmaceuticals, sunglasses, toys, and even X-ray equipment.
Marketing public relations campaigns are designed to complement other promotional activities. Generating test-market attention, extending the impact of advertising themes, and communicating sales messages to segmented audiences are examples of marketing public relations strategies.
As a results-oriented organization, a public relations firm develops promotional activities to support specific marketing objectives. These include new approaches to retail store and shopping mall promotions, dramatic demonstration projects for consumer and industrial products, promotional tie-ins with celebrities, and media relations programs to achieve extensive news coverage.
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