What is Public Relations?

Public relations (PR) is often confused with advertising. The two sectors both address the “P” for promotion in the four “Ps” of marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion): they both aim to communicate something. However, the content and type of communication employed is different.

PR focuses on establishing and developing relationships with the public. The aim is to establish a positive public image of a company, product, or person by the communication of factual (not promotional) information. The public can mean specific parts of the public, including target and interest groups. They include the media, customers, employees, business partners, investors, creditors, citizens, political actors and institutions. Among other things, PR has the following aims:

  • Increasing recognition

  • Image management

  • Establishing trust

  • Dialogue management

PR (also known as press relations) is primarily objective and factual. Loud, emotional promotional language is completely unsuitable. Good PR aims to convince, not to persuade.

The media play a particularly important role: they act as a multiplier of PR messages and reinforce their credibility. And the same rules apply to press relations: journalists are convinced by press releases that are relevant, timely and objective. Promotional materials quickly end up in editor’s bins. Effective press and media relations rely on authenticity: in the long term, “bought” stories are just as ineffective as attempts to manipulate journalists. Only those offering suitable, factual information with real news value, prepared accordingly, will convince journalists and readers.In the era of web 2.0, social media is an increasingly important part of PR. Facebook, YouTube, Xing, blogs, etc., can be used by companies to communicate directly with interest groups. In the world of social media, fans and followers are convinced by interesting content, dialogue, service and personality.

In addition to press relations (also known as media relations) and social media management, PR representatives are also responsible for internal company communications, including employee magazines, blogs, wikis and newsletters, which keep staff informed and increase their commitment to the company.