Public Relations

Topics: Public relations, Propaganda, Communication Pages: 16 (3730 words) Published: July 30, 2013
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.

Internal and External Publics Internal publics exist within your organization while external publics are outside.

Domestic and International publics Domestic publics are those within your country. International public exist beyond your country’s borders.

Origins of public relations

The phrase “public relations” was invented in the twentieth century, the practice of public relations had been since the dawn of recorded history.

Edward Bernays, ‘the three main elements of public relations are practically as old as society: informing people, persuading people, or integrating people with people.

Vox Populi, Vox Dei - the voice of the people is the voice of God

Ves Publicae - public affairs

Congregalio Propaganda Fide - In the 17th century, the Catholic Church established this w/c means the congregation for the propagation of faith. This was the origin of propaganda, a means at this time for spreading church doctrine.

Trends Leading To the Development of Modern Public Relations

Five social trends that have aided the development of modern public relations as outlined by Guth and Marsh

The Growth of Institutions
Expansion of Democracy
Technological Improvements in Communication
The Growth of Advocacy
The Search for Consensus

Pioneers of Public Relations

Ivy Ledbetter Lee (1877-1934) - the most famous of the early public relations practitioners. Lee’s major clients were John D. Rockefeller and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Ivy Lee was however not a saint. Some authors believe that he did always apply the standards of truth and accuracy to his work. He was also believed to have secretly worked for Hitler.

Edward L. Bernays (1891-1995) - He coined the famous public relations term ‘public relations counsel’ in his first book by the title ‘Crystallizing Public Opinion’ published in 1923. Bernays later published two other public relations books propaganda in 1928 and Public Relations in 1952. A year later, Doris {Bernays’ wife} and I...
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