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Public Relations possesses, as one of its intrinsic characteristics, the practice of influencing people through the use of communication. One could cite the story of Moses and the 10 Commandments as the first public relations act in history, In this account, explicit instructions were handed down from God to Moses with the specific objective to influence the Jewish people and guide them to modify their behavior.
A more recent, and perhaps more widely accepted instance of the use of public relations in ancient history, is found in the Babylonian civilization of 1800 BC, where the most up-to-date harvesting techniques of the day wwere promoted by carving out the instructions in stone tablets for farmers to look at and use.
But it was not until 1903 that a former Wall Street reportedm Ivy L. Lee, introduced the idea that would slowly developed into what is known today as RP. Mr. Lee proclaimed that the public deserved to be informed, and that business should address its critics by presenting its side “honestly, accurately, and forcefully.” (Sietel, pp. 30)
This idea of Mr. Lee’s that business has a responsibility to maintain the public properly informed grew stronger in the American society during the 20th Century, and came of age with the advent of the growth of corporations, the turmoil for sociological survival of the many different interest groups represented in society, the increase in the sophisticated knowledge of people, and finally by the blossoming of world democracy. What does a PR manager do?
In the same way as any other business function manager, a PR manager is most concerned with setting strategies to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization for which he/she works; while at the same time, keeping the efforts of the department to achieve those goals under tight budgetary control. However, there are no two managers who can define exactly what must be done in accomplishing these goals. Perhaps, the best way to approach the question of what the PR manager does is by looking at what the Public Relations function has been defined as. According to the Task Force on the Stature and Role of Public Relations of the Public Relations Society of America, this PR function can be defined as, “an organization’s efforts to win the cooperation of groups of people.” (Seitel, pp. 45) The PR professional manages all communications between a firm and its publics, which directly or indirectly affects the organization’s goals and objectives.
How does PR affect the organization and its functions? One of the major functions of an organization affected by public relations is marketing. In fact, a number of organizations still consider public relations a part of the marketing department, even if often times when positioned in this way, public relations as an entity of its own is neglected. Nonetheless, a properly run public relations department is an integral part of the overall success of an organization.
PR defines the different publics to be considered and targeted in the sales efforts of the marketing department. These efforts clearly point to the effect PR has on the Human Resources Department, Production Department, and the sales portion of the Marketing Department.
Through this identification of the target audience, the marketing efforts are focused and made more efficient; thus, lowering both financial and human requirements, in order to achieve a firm’s goals.
The results of a more focused view of what type of employee must be hired to accomplish these goals has a direct effect on the Human Resources Department, which is now directed to search and hire a specific type of individual to produce, promote, and sell the wanted goods of the identified public.
Qualifications of a PR professional When asked, what does a public relations agent look like?, some individuals may think of the1930s and 1940s imagine Hollywood has left us with of fast talking, fast moving, busy men carrying two telephone conversations at the same time, all while speaking with a client in his office. Others may have the more contemporary imager, which includes the executive sitting in a glass-wall office high above the city skyline.
Our text: however, present a more realistic view of what these men and women working in public relations should be like. The world has changed very much, placing very specific qualifications for the public relations position. According to Harold Buson, chairman of Burston-Marsteller, while it is difficult to make a blanket statement about what all PR agents should be like, there are four major qualifying characteristics of people in this position: 1. They are bright people, who are able to ask just the right question at the right time. 2. They have excellent people’s skills. 3. They’re motivated. Self starters with no need for anyone to guide them as to what the next step to take should be. 4. They are good, persuasive writers. They are not afraid of the “blank piece of paper.” Interview with RP professional at GBOPHB
Whether for-profit or non-for-profit, public relations is an integral part of daily business. The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBOPHB) is no exception. Appendix A is a short questionnaire completed by one of the public relations agents in this organization.
Conclusion The importance of public relations is monumental to the financial health of any business enterprise. Without these dedicated, hard-working professionals’ expertise some of the public would never get to experience the full benefit of an organization’s offerings of goods and services. We have seen the growth of this function in the life of the human race, and how its influence and importance came of age during the cross over from an agricultural to an industrial society during this 20th Century. Public relation’s individuality makes its position in the general scheme of an organization’s objectives one of the most valued and important stepping stones in the 21st century. As the technical revolution marches on, public relations is bound to gain more and more strength in the business structure, and eventually will become a major function of all industry globally.
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