Public Relations

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Public Relations Publics

This tells us that we cannot talk about public relations without reference to publics. A public is any group whose members have a common interest or common values in a particular situation.

According to Wragg (1993), public relations publics or audiences can be divided into four categories which include:

1. Functional Publics: They are those publics which enable the organization to perform its chosen tasks.

2. Enabling Publics: These are publics which permit the organization to function within the framework of the society to which it belongs.

3. Diffused Publics: Within this group are media organizations, pressure groups and local residents.

4. Normative Publics: This term refers to trade associations and professional bodies, but it could also include political parties.

Among the four categorizations, the functional publics are usually closest to the organization and may exhibit the highest level of interaction.

Guth and Marsh (2000) categorized public relations publics as follows:

Traditional publics refer to groups with which your organization has ongoing, long term relationships.

Non-traditional publics these are groups that usually are not familiar with your organization; that is your organization has not had an ongoing, long term relationship with them. Non-traditional publics immerges either due to changes in your organization, the society or those publics themselves.

Latent, aware, and active publics A latent public is one which, by evolving developments, common grounds of relationship is opening up between it and your organization, but whose members are yet to realize or explore it.

Intervening publics Any public that helps you to send a message to another public is known as intervening public.

Primary and secondary publics You could also divide public relations publics into primary and secondary publics depending on the extent to which they affect your organization’s pursuit of its goals.

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