Before discussing the principles of public relations, we must answer the question: “What is PR?” Among the variety of definitions that have risen over the years, we’ll take the liberty of quoting Edward Bernays: “The expression ‘public relations’ has three meanings: first, information that is presented to the public; second, the construction of strategy that we center and direct toward the public to change its attitudes and actions; and third, the sum of the efforts made to integrate an organization’s activities and actions with its audience(s), or those of the public with an organization, so that all are benefited.”
Breaking from this premise a bit and playing with the order suggested by the father of public relations, we can now dive into a few basic principles:
Apply the Formula: R + A
In order to project and assert yourself, you first have to research and analyze. You must get to know the person or business very well, as well as the audiences with whom they aim to connect. It’s also important to identify the effectiveness of their previous relationships, the receptiveness of their message, appropriateness of their mediums and tools, and the perception and influence of their image according to public opinion. If we don’t know what’s happened in the past, how will we know what will work tomorrow?
Define the Rhythm and Begin to Walk
Every action should be intentional and strategic. In order to assure this, it’s necessary to plan, establish objectives, identify execution mediums and tools, develop clear messages, create management and reactionary policies, design fulfillment times, locate resources to invest and determine evaluation methods. What’s left up in the air doesn’t exist, isn’t executed upon or is completed inadequately.
It’s a Matter of Reciprocity
It’s important to establish a connection that facilitates communication between both sides. When this happens, a two-way street is formed, ensuring that both giving and receiving occur. There’s an agreement, often times silent, in which something is sent and something else returns. When a message is deployed, a good opinion may come back.
It’s Important to Hold on to the Rope
It’s key to achieve stability once a relationship with your audience(s) has been established. This should be reinforced every day through actions, by offering valuable content, sustaining the conversation and continuing to cultivate nice gestures. In the end, the relationship will be so great that what was previously a plan will become the maintenance of a fluid friendship.
Sometimes, You’ve Got to Give It Another Chance
The process will be slower if you have a closed, rigid mind. Not only do new technologies drive us to think differently, but our own audiences give guidelines on how to adapt, be flexible and understand that what works today might not produce the same great results in a different setting tomorrow.