Public Relations was once used to be a simple operation of Corporate Publicity. It has now emerged as a broad based management function now popularly referred as Corporate Communication. It emcompasses activites in the realm of management of Public Affairs, Media Relations. Corporate Communication functions works towards maintaining a balanced public image and regularly communicating the News about the Organisation to the public, employees, Investors at large.
Besides being a simple operational tool for quite a lone period in corporate publicity, Public Relations today also is a key management functionary. It is known by the name Corporate Communication. Management of public affairs, management of media relations, critical analyses and research works are these days taken care of by the former. Corporate communication takes care of protection of organizational interests and maintenance of a sound image of the corporate house to the public regarding its performance.
The success, growth, and continued existence of any organization depend upon the success with which it handles its relation with the public in matters of the various policies and aims set by the company. Exactly this thing is taken care of by the PR professionals in field like banking institutes, business houses, media houses, academic institutions, governmental organizations, medical institutes, and the like. They maintain a positive relation of the concerned organization with the public. The organization is projected in front of the public in the best possible way. Their success naturally draws positive response of the public for the concerned organization.
Nature of Work
Broadly speaking, there can be two operational structures in which the PR professionals play such critical part:
- The In-house Corporate Communication Section, and
- The Specialized PR Agencies.
PR professionals in In-house Corporate Communication Sections
In running any kind of enterprise, problems and confusions in communications with the clients, the management and the employees is a very common affair. Such problems of the firm are analyzed by the Corporate Communication professionals. It is up to them to see to it that objectives specific to the end are set and plans chalked out in accordance with the end so the aims are met successfully and within the permitted budget.
The in-house functions involve chores like Press Releases, Report Editing, Brochures, Newsletters, Articles, Speeches, Leaflets, Film and Video scripts, and so on. Annual report preparation also comes under this category of functions. The PR department also successfully coordinate in matters like production of company newsletters, radio tapes, brochures, leaflets, etc. that is published with the aid of the Advertising Agencies.
The PR department also conducts Interviews, Presentations, Meetings, Conferences, Press Releases, Trade fairs, Exhibitions, etc. for the company. It is also up to them to carry on evaluation of the company through market surveys and their effective analysis.
This is a very specialized responsibility for the PR professionals. There are ideally specific teams that specialize in several forms of Accounting works, like the Consumer Accounting, or Corporate, Financial, Public Affairs, and the like. These activities become all the more important as the several legal bodies, governmental houses, shareholders, marketing agencies, wholesalers & distributors, etc. keep an intent eye upon such activities of the company.
The Specialized PR Agencies
PR professionals in this field are entrusted with the provision of counseling to the various concerned organizations with their varied range of dealings and issues. These PR agencies have separate sections for dealing with chores related to the Media, Client Servicing, and Research Departments. There are the account executives who handle dealings of the PR section with the different clients. They need to clearly realize the demands and objectives of the clients and set up strategies for the company accordingly. Press tours are organized by this section of the PRO They also look after the issuing of press briefs and press conferences. The briefings for the media coverage are also strategically designed by this client servicing outfit. Another responsibility that the PR section has to deal with utmost precision is crisis management.
Academics build the basics. That is true. But, when you are on the verge of making it into the professional world or even contemplating the idea, a strict adherence to your academic institutional learning will fall short of equipping you with the tools that you need to make it large in your career. The same holds for the profession of PR as well. There are a lot many tangible and intangible factors that you need to master. Often such techniques can be learnt only when you have actually walked in to the office. However, following are some of the essential points that any aspirant in this field should make a point to remember.
- Sociability: ability to gel well with people from different professions.
- Tactfulness and Diplomacy.
- Precision of Conduct.
- Analytical Mind.
- Natural flair for innovative ideas, especially for crisis management.
- Clarity of speech and thought process.
- Brevity of writing.
- Organizational abilities.
- Oration power.
- Attitude to welcome pressure situations and take them up as challenge. I. Basic numerical skills.
- Self motivational spirit.
A good thing about PR is that it can be taken up as a post graduate course of study after completion of graduation in any discipline. Generally courses of PR do not extend beyond one year. One has to sit for written tests (occasionally followed by personality tests) in order to study in this particular discipline. Students often need to spend some time with a PR firm as part of the curriculum.
One can pursue a degree in Mass Communication with specialization in Public Relations.
Colleges, Institutions and Universities
There are several colleges and universities besides other academic institutes all across India that have come up with proper courses on PRO. To name a few premium institutes amongst them that offer degree courses are :
- South Gujarat University, Surat.
- University of Mumbai.
- Makhanlal Chaturvedi University, Bhopal.
Some of the universities that offer diploma courses in PR are :
- Gujarat University, Navrangapura, Ahmedabad.
- IIMC, JNU Campus, New Delhi.
- Aligarh Muslim University.
- St. Xaviers College of Communications.
- Symbiosis Institute of Journalism & Communication, Pune.
- YMCA Institute of Media Studies, Delhi.
- BR Ambedkar University, Hyderabad (Distance Education facility).
The upcoming years are going to be extremely bright for those who want to make a career in Public Relations. Recent surveys have shown that jobs in the PR field are to see an increase at a rate that will be higher than the rate of the average of all other kinds of jobs combined together. And where is actually the need to wait and watch the statistics to arrive at such a decision? The direction in which jobs are heading these days; I mean, the trends that are getting customary with the corporate houses and the like, unanimously reflects the indispensability of this post of Public Relations executive. This holds true more so for aspirants who hold proficiency in the fields of science and technology, medicine, finance, international affairs, and other such specialized fields.
Business enterprises are increasingly spreading world wide, cutting the boundaries of nations. Development of cross-cultural relations is also the order of the day. This is creating new horizons in the field of PRo 'International public relations' is consequently gaining in proportion. Once you have the right kind of education, complemented by sound aptitude, opportunities for a career in PR is no difficult proposition.
These days the departments of corporate communication play such a key role in matters of policy planning. They also take initiatives in maintaining healthy understanding relation among the various sections within the organization itself as well.
As has already been stated earlier, the Job Prospects as PR professionals are ever on an increase. Listed below are some of the premier organizations which provide good opportunity scope to the PR professionals:
- Public sector organizations.
- Corporate organizations.
- Hotels and resorts.
- Banking institutes and other financial organizations.
- Tourism industry (departments of guest relations).
- Assistant and consultants to several political leaders and political parties.
- Private consultancies.
- Professionals in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, like the Doordarshan, AIR, Film Division, Publication Division, NFDC, Press Information Bureau, Registrar of the News papers in India, Audio & Visual Publicity, etc.
As discussed at the very outset, the job of PR is increasing in leaps and bounds in terms of market demand. Naturally there is an ever increasing number of aspirants in the field, adding to the competition to get a job that will be highly remunerative. But, once you are through with a certificate from one of the premium institutes, chances are quite high that you will be absorbed by some top ranking company which will naturally have an attractive salary package. Often, there are on-campus interviews where leading companies come over to the institutes to absorb the students into their companies. Else, even if you didn't have the chance of getting hold of a certificate from a leading institute, you can expect a reasonably good remuneration package. The only thing that you will need in that case is to get yourself some professional experience, prove your abilities, and keep searching for the right opportunity. Registration with some of the job sites (online) prove so effective most of the time. With the demands so high, it won't be a thing that ungettable. One of the basic reasons why any PR professional can expect a good salary is the simple fact that companies that need to recruit separate PR professional to handle their affairs of public relation are, by nature, of bigger proportion. Naturally their remuneration packages too are quite attractive