Ever since modern Public Relations was developed in the 1920s, PR has become an inherent part of all businesses, big or small. Unlike advertising or marketing, PR is multi-dimensional and reaches out to various stakeholders with its innovative ways of sending across the right message. The advent of social media has only made PR stronger, as it can reach out to huge numbers to push through the appropriate messages

PR or public relations is a crucial sector in business and industries today. A concept that started in the 1920s, it caught on the businesses around the globe. Today, you cannot expect an industry without PR activity.

The primary function of a PR agency or PR unit is to promote the industry or business and present their best image to clients and other stakeholders. It involves arduous work as PR mars or builds the reputation of companies. The PR personnel have to be quick with numbers, ready with minute details regarding the firm they represent and have an extensive media network. It is their primary job to provide visibility and do damage control if things get out of hand on rare occasions.

According to Jean-Louis Grasse, “while advertising is saying you are good, PR is getting someone else to say you are good.
And the head of tech giant Microsoft, Bill Gates says, “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget, I will spend it on PR.”
This clearly shows the power of PR in today’s market where there are a plethora of companies vying to compete in world markets. Every firm wants to put up its best image and leave a mark in the minds of potential clients and consumers.

PR is not a one-off campaign. It is a consistent activity, where each and every move of the firm is shared among stakeholders, consumers and clients. Richard Branson, the guru of PR, and founder of Virgin group says, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”

Given its prominent place in businesses today, astro strategist, corporate business development guru, business consultant, maintains that firms must invest in PR and ensure that they get their money’s worth.

Let’s check out some FAQs regarding the PR industry…

1) When did PR first begin?

PR activists entered the private sector in the 1920s. Public relations became established first in the US by Ivy Lee or Edward Bernays and then spread internationally.

2) What is the oldest form of PR as known through history?

The first public-relation like activities, often called proto-PR go back in history. It has been found that ancient Babylonians and Sumerians in what is now called Iraq were held up as instigators due to some messages scrawled on mud brick walls around 3,000 years ago.

3) Who created public relations?

Edward Louis Bernays, who lived between November 22, 1891 and March 9, 1995 was an Austrian-American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda. His obituary refers to him as the ‘father of public relations’. Bernays was named as one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century. Incidentally, Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud.

4) Who coined the term public relations?

Edward L Bernays coined the term public relations.

5) What exactly encompasses PR today?

Public Relations today is a collection of the leading industry thought leadership in the form of blogs, webinars, downloadable resources, or one convenient website.

6) What does PR consist of?

A career in public relations (PR) involves using all forms of media and communication to build, maintain and manage the reputation of one’s clients. These range from public bodies or services, to businesses and voluntary organisations.

■ Main strategy — Key messages are the core messages you want your target audience to hear and remember. They are an important part of a PR strategy because they can shape your content and communicate a unified message. The best key messages are believable, easy to understand, distinctive, credible, succinct and drive your agenda.

7) Did you know there is a mother of public relations? Check out who it is…

At a time when women were not allowed to vote, Doris Fleischman made strides not only for women in the public relations industry, but in society as well. Doris was the wife of Edward Bernays.

8) Why PR in the first place?

● For starters, public relations if for free. It helps build credibility and trust without the brand spending much. When people talk, it influences prospects more than advertising. Getting your story mentioned in the news, it will generate leads.
● PR is any day more effective than paid advertising. PR is said to be 90% more effective than advertising. Word of mouth, customer testimonials and editorial media have a great impact on all stakeholders.
● Businesses vie for attention. PR provides and delivers value. A talented PR person shares useful, educational, inspiring or compelling content. He also knows how to convey a brand’s higher purpose. Instead of PR competing, it can support initiatives in a way advertising or marketing can’t.
● Businesses can lose their market credibility with word of mouth or upset customers. This is where PR comes in. They handle employee-related scandals, defective products and potential lawsuits. Effective PR is about keeping an eye on one’s brand reputation and image.
● PR increases brand visibility. News articles have a long shelf life. You can link blog posts, reviews, etc, to your articles. Thus, one can share positive, timely, relevant stories across earned, owned and shared channels. This will up the customer base and help drive business growth.
● It’s ideal to commit 30-60 minutes to PR each week, to gain visibility. But it is equally important to say something noteworthy. And it helps to be creative when the going gets tough. Always remember, everyone has a good story to tell.
● Advertising will tell people how great you are. With publicity others sing praises. So you know which one is more effective.

9) What are the four stages in the development of the PR industry?

RACE is an effective process to follow when developing a strategic PR plan if you want to have a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with your publics. The R.A.C.E process encompasses the following 4 phases: Research, Action and planning, Communication and relationship building and Evaluation.

10) What are the six steps in the public relations process?

This guide will take you through six steps that are easy to follow and will assist you in delivering a creative public relations campaign or marketing plan.

Step 1: Objectives
Step 2: Goals
Step 3: Target audience
Step 4: Create a timeline
Step 5: Plan of action
Step 6: The campaign.

11) How has PR evolved over time?

It’s evident that over the last 25 years, PR has evolved in many different ways, across a variety of platforms. Communicators have learnt that whilst traditional aspects of PR are still used today – eg press releases, by-lines and whitepapers – a large percentage of PR is now driven by going digital.

12) How did the advent of social media change public relations?

Social media has had a profound effect on public relations, creating new opportunities and challenges for brands. It allows brands and consumers to engage across a variety of channels in real-time, which has led to an increased demand for brands to address consumer inquiries quickly and effectively.

13) How is the global PR industry expected to grow globally?

Public Relations market is forecast to reach $130.5 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 10.50% during 2020-2025.
It was calculated that the global PR market was worth 63.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. By the end of 2022 the industry is expected to surpass a value of 93 billion dollars, at a CAGR of 9.9 per cent.

14) What is the PR industry’s growth in India?

According to PRCAI (Public relations consultants association of India) report, India’s PR business reached Rs 1600 crore in 2019 and also predicts that 2020 will witness a growth of 12.5 per cent, reaching Rs 1800 crore, indicating a half percentage point growth over 2019.

15) Why is PR important in the year 2021?

The year is essential for PR to improve a brand’s reputation and in order to get one’s clients’ trust. The main reason this is relevant is due to the fact that many people no longer trust PR agents as they used to in the past.

16) Which industries use PR most?

The consumer products industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Enveloping most products people use in their homes, this industry spends billions of dollars on public relationships.

Final word

PR is a sure-shot tool to reach out to various stakeholders” says Business Strategist Hirav Shah.