We should probably start at the beginning. What exactly is public relations? The term “public relations” encompasses a lot of different activities, so it is hard to find one perfect definition; many different definitions have been used over the years. However, the Public Relations Society of America, or PRSA, defines it as: “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” This is different from the functions of marketing and advertising. While marketing and advertising promote a product or service, public relations promotes an entire organization. It involves using communications to manage relationships, convey information, and solve organizational problems.
A big component of public relations is managing and influencing public opinion. This can happen in many forms; it can be opinion about a specific event or product, or it can be an opinion about the organization as a whole. Let’s look at an example. On February 22, 2017, Apple released a press release about the progress of its new project, Apple Park. Press releases are a common way for organizations to communicate information with the public.
In the press release, Apple announced that construction is underway on Apple Park, the company’s new 175-acre campus in Cupertino, California. It will be ready for employees to begin occupying in April. The press release also supplied details about the project’s progress and what the final Apple Park facility will look like.
The message is a crucial part of the public relations process. Framing key messages in a way that is clear and motivating is essential to accomplishing the organization’s communication goals. In addition, by issuing this press release, Apple kept their publics informed on what the company is doing. One of the goals of communication is to inform or educate a particular public. Public relations activities provide many different functions. One of these is to maintain the company’s image through public image strategy. This press release showed the Apple Park project in a positive light, which reflected positively on the Apple company as a whole. Not only would this press release get the general public exited about this new project, but it also would be reassuring to Apple’s various other stakeholders who have interest in the project. It shows that the project is a success and allows Apple to maintain its perception of being an innovative company.