The Role of Public Relations
Importance of Public Relations
Managing Ones Reputation
* Jodi Gordon
* Pacific Brands
Reputation is a logical and rational process as opposed to the connection to a brand and its image, which is largely emotional. It is a concept that exists around is influenced by action and what companies do, not what they say. It is ever changing and requires constant management. PR is all about communication and relationships and as a PR expert it is important to identify the key stakeholders as they have the most influence on the reputation of a business or organisation. Managing an organisations reputation requires expertise. These expertises are carried out by a CEO of an organisation who encourages its stakeholders to perform strategically in order to maintain and build a successful reputation. The cases of both Jodi Gordon and Pacific Brands demonstrate the great need for PR and reputation management and how important the role of a PR expert is.
The concept of reputation is often confused with that of brand image, as there are great similarities between the two. The key difference though as suggested by Jim Macnamara ( 2005, pg 203) is that reputation is largely a perception of something based on rational and logic as apposed to an emotional connection that exists between a brand and its audience The Body Shop demonstrates this very well. The Body Shop’s skin care range, according to market research, does not rate as highly as other brands in its sector when it comes to quality yet it still manages to outsell them. This is due to their great reputation of providing products that are not only environmentally friendly, but are not tested on animals. This alone emphasises that reputation is an entity all on its own. (Macnamara, 2005. pg 204) Most importantly it is vital to understand that reputation is “more about what you do, than what you say” (Macnamara, 2005 pg 207) Regardless of wether it be businesses, organisations, government bodies or individuals, reputation consists of both perceptions and experiences that are ever changing and thus require a great deal of management. This responsibility falls into the hands of PR specialists and relies on their expert in the feild.
IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
PR is the management function concerned with communication (APM College, leaflet, 15/6/2009), therefore PR professionals are responsible for all communications between an organisation and its publics. This means that it is the role of public relations to allow a company to communicate with its stakeholders both internal and external. It is these on going relationships and communication channels that aid the reputation and overall image of a company. The importance of public relations when it comes to reputation is highlighted by Macnamara (2005 pg 206) he states that reputation is “whatever the groups that matter decide it is”. Customers and employees easily fit into this category. If employees are happy and can communicate freely with confidence, this attitude can filter across throughout other stakeholder groups and in turn will help build strong relationships. A good reputation comes from these two-core areas, clear communication channels and relationships. (2005 pg 216, 217) For this reason it is vital for PR professionals to not only recognise which groups of stakeholders matter and work hard to make them happy. But to maintain communication channels, as they establish the relationships that heavily influence the reputation of a company.
MANAGING ONES REPUTATION
Reputation management is a senior role in public relations which involves managers on superior/board level and is often carried out by the CEO of a company. The CEO is required to encourage the drivers of reputation, its stakeholders. These drivers may be shareholders,...