Value of public relations in modern business world
Communicating to influence actions can be traced from the earliest
civilizations. The giant tanks constructed by our forefathers, massive
structures - dagabas and palaces and some of the ancient constructions
clearly show the peaceful existence of the people and state authorities.
These clearly indicate rudimentary elements of public relations, they
maintained and friendly atmosphere.
A farm bulletin in Iraq had farmers of 1800-BC, how to sow their
crop, irrigate and how to deal with field mice, how to harvest their
crop. Even Greeks and Romans believe in public opinion. Romans used a
popular expression “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” which means - “The Voice of the
People is the Voice of God.” This clearly express the value of the
“Public”. The 17th century word “Propaganda”, was born, when the
Catholic Church established its “Congregation de Propaganda Fide” -
Congregation for the propagating of the faith”.
When tracing the American history, the beginning of Public Relation's
began with a struggle for power between Patrician – Patriots and
Commercial Propertied Tories. In the years 1875-1900, America doubled
its population and it laid the foundation for mighty Industrial
Development. This was the trend all over the world at the time. With
industrialization, public relations activities developed rapidly.
Among the early Public Relation personalities included Princeton
Graduate Ivy Ledbetter Lee, George F Parker, Rex F Harlow, Henry Ford,
Samuel Insull, Therdore N Vail. They were considered as pioneers of
public relations discipline in the world. They were responsible in
giving a scientific approach to Public Relation Science.
Public Relations is the management function that establishes and
maintains mutual beneficial relationships between an organization and
the public on whom its success or failure depend.
Some of the Great Public Relations and Management experts like
Charles Plackard, Herbert M Baus and Robert Heilbroner expressed and
defined Public Relations as Human Decency, Combination of Philosophy,
Sociology, Economy, Language, Psychology, Journalism, Commerce, other
knowledges into a system of human understanding and winning friends and
influencing people, respectively.
Like charity, public relations begins at home. The modern public
relations includes press relations, propaganda and marketing. There is
no good scientific public relations without research. Thats the reason
that many top organizations recruit educated, qualified men to handle
their Public Relations Departments and they lay special emphasis on
To be a successful PR man, one should always maintain the highest
courtesy, etiquette and mannerism. One should maintain a pleasant
personality and speak to people nicely to attract them. He should be a
man of highest honesty and integrity. Public Relations man must be an
exemplary person, with a wide all-round knowledge and leadership
qualities. He must be able to win the hearts of his clients, customers
Another great quality that Public Relation Personality should
possess, Be cool – Never lose your temper. When you are a public figure
in an organization, one may face many problems with the public. PR man
acts as a “Buffer” between organization and the public.
Once when I was the Public Relations Head at the Bank of Ceylon,
about three decades back, a disgusted customer who was not allowed to
enter the Bank from the main entrance till the Chairman arrives near the
lift, was directed to enter the Bank premises from the back door
entrance. He was a customer who maintained an account at York Street for
20 years. He was so annoyed, met me, and took me to task using
I maintained my cool. I knew the golden rule not to fight with a
“wounded animal”. I spoke to him politely with the highest respect.
After a few minutes, he apologized. In a situation like this you
should handle the problem very diplomatically.
Public Relations exercise should be directed towards improving
communication between people and organization.
The good Public Relations Manager is sensitive. He is sensitive to
atmosphere, environment, to other people's feelings, to situations
appreciating what is happening and what is likely to happen.
This sensitivity might be called the “Sixth Sense”. This is something
most PR men acquire as they grow old through experience.
The Public Relation's Personnel must be level headed and intelligent.
Then, he will be able to understand, tackle and solve human problems
The Public Relations Personality needs honesty, integrity, character,
intelligence, imagination, ability to write, to speak to public
pleasantly, administrative capacity, wide general knowledge, high
ethical standard, sympathy, understanding leadership, sound judgement,
ideas and courage.
In modern day business environment, Public Relations involves,
keeping the media informed of new products or changes to existing
products, providing press releases, stories, facts, photos etc on behalf
of the client to the media.
Organizing functions, community relations to raise customer
awareness, to create and enhance the image of the respective
organization are all the work of a Public Relations Department.
A variety of programmes designed to promote or protect a company's
image or its individual products can be totalled as Public Relations.
There are many definitions relating to Public Relations. The
Institute of Public Relations defines PR as the deliberate, planned,
sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between
an organization and its public.
In short, it is merely human decency which flows from a good heart.
Mrs Indira Gandhi the former late Prime Minister of India once defined
public relations as the “Lubricant of Democracy.”
An Interpersonal Relationship is an accepted norm by every civilized
man and woman. One's relations must be founded on honesty.
This is a cardinal principle in public relations. It is the golden
thread that binds a friendly society.
Communicating is the first link in a chain of social system.
Democracy relies on consent of the governed.
Public relations, undoubtedly becomes a key ingredient in the
Webster's Dictionary defines public relations as the art and science
of developing reciprocal understanding and goodwill between the person,
firm, organization, institution and the public.
Enjoy the pleasures bestowed on you. Bear the post inflicted on you –
wait patiently what time brings as does the farmer with the fruit.
(From Indian Epic Mahabaratha).