Dr Fakira Mohan Nahak
Public relations (PR) plays a vital role in today’s interconnected world, shaping perceptions, building relationships, and managing reputations. To recognize the importance of this profession, World Public Relations Day is celebrated annually on the 16th of July.
This global event highlights the significant contributions made by PR practitioners in fostering effective communication between organizations, individuals, and society at large. Here we explore the role of PR in modern society, and discuss the impact of this profession on various sectors.
World Public Relations Day was established by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA). The IPRA is a worldwide organization that promotes professionalism and ethical conduct within the field of public relations. The decision to designate a specific day to celebrate public relations was made to recognize the crucial role it plays in shaping public opinion, enhancing brand reputation, and facilitating open dialogue between organizations and their stakeholders. The date of July 16 was chosen as a tribute to Ivy Lee, who is recognized as one of the founders of the field of public relations. American public relations specialist Lee was born on July 16, 1877, and he passed away on November 9, 1934.
The Role of Public Relations in Modern Society
In our fast-paced and interconnected world, effective communication has become more important than ever. Public relations professionals act as the bridge between organizations and their target audiences, ensuring that key messages are delivered accurately and meaningfully. Here are some key roles played by public relations in modern society:
Reputation Management: Public relations practitioners are responsible for managing and safeguarding the reputation of organizations and individuals. They monitor public opinion, identify potential risks, and develop strategies to mitigate negative impacts. By fostering trust and maintaining a positive image, PR professionals help organizations build credibility and long-term relationships with stakeholders.
Crisis Communication: In times of crisis, public relations professionals are instrumental in managing and minimizing reputational damage. They develop crisis communication plans, coordinate responses, and provide accurate and timely information to the media and the public. By effectively communicating during challenging times, PR experts help organizations navigate turbulent waters and maintain public trust.
Media Relations: Public relations practitioners serve as liaisons between organizations and the media. They build relationships with journalists, pitch stories, and facilitate media coverage. By securing positive media exposure, PR professionals help organizations raise awareness, shape narratives, and maintain a positive public image.
Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging with stakeholders is essential for organizations to thrive. PR professionals identify and analyze key stakeholders, develop tailored communication strategies, and foster meaningful relationships. By facilitating two-way communication, PR experts ensure that organizations understand stakeholder needs and concerns, and in turn, stakeholders feel heard and valued.
Social Media and Digital Communication: With the rise of social media platforms and digital communication channels, public relations has adapted to the changing landscape. PR professionals utilize these platforms to engage with audiences, share information, and manage online reputations. They leverage social media analytics to gain insights and refine communication strategies, ensuring maximum impact and reach.
Impact of Public Relations Across Sectors
Public relations have a profound impact on various sectors, including government, business, non-profit organizations, and individuals. Let’s explore some examples:
Government: Public relations is crucial for governments to effectively communicate policies, initiatives, and public services. PR professionals help bridge the gap between citizens and government bodies, ensuring transparency, trust, and participation. They also play a vital role in crisis communication during emergencies or times of political unrest. That is the reason why all governments have their own information and public relations departments.
Business: In the corporate world, public relations is essential for building strong relationships with customers, investors, and employees. PR experts shape corporate messaging, handle media relations, and enhance brand reputation. They also support product launches, manage public events, and conduct market research to understand consumer perceptions and preferences.
Non-profit Organizations: Public relations plays a pivotal role in the non-profit sector, where organizations rely heavily on public support and donations. PR professionals raise awareness about social issues, mobilize public opinion, and foster connections with donors and volunteers. They help non-profits share their mission and impact effectively, inspiring others to contribute to meaningful causes.
Individuals: Public relations is not limited to organizations; it also extends to personal branding and reputation management. PR professionals work with individuals, such as celebrities, politicians, and public figures, to craft their public image, handle media relations, and navigate public opinion. By strategically managing personal brands, PR experts help individuals build credibility and influence.
Celebrating World Public Relations Day
World Public Relations Day is an occasion to celebrate and appreciate the work of PR professionals worldwide. Here are some ways to commemorate this day. Attend PR conferences, workshops, or webinars to expand your knowledge and skills within the field. Engage in networking opportunities to connect with fellow PR practitioners and learn from their experiences for professional development. Recognize PR Achievements. Acknowledge the contributions of PR professionals within your organization or community.
Highlight their successful campaigns, crisis management efforts, and reputation-building initiatives. Share PR Success Stories on various platforms with public. Use social media platforms to share stories of effective public relations campaigns that have had a positive impact. Highlight how PR has played a role in addressing social issues, fostering dialogue, or promoting organizational values. At the same time Support Ethical PR Practices. Promote and advocate for ethical conduct within the PR industry. Emphasize the importance of transparency, honesty, and integrity in all communication efforts.
World Public Relations Day serves as a reminder of the critical role that public relations professionals play in building and maintaining relationships between organizations, individuals, and society. From reputation management to crisis communication, PR practitioners shape public opinion and foster understanding. As we celebrate this day, let us recognize and appreciate the efforts of PR professionals worldwide, whose work enhances communication, promotes transparency, and strengthens our global community.
(Dr. Fakira Mohan Nahak is a writer and former media professional. He is currently working as the Head of the Department of ‘University Institute of Media Studies’, Chandigarh University, at Mohali, Punjab. Views are Personal)