Persuasion, Its Components, Principles and Techniques

Persuasion, Its Components, Principles and Techniques

What do you know about Persuasion? Explain its components, principles and techniques in detail.

Persuasion :

Persuasion refers to the process by which a person’s attitudes or behaviour are, without duress, influenced by communication. Persuasion pervades over almost all human activities and it is geared to information transmission in such a way as to get people to revise old pictures (Predisposition) in their minds, or form new ones, and thus change their behaviour. To some others persuasion is seen as “Communication to influence choices”. Still to others it is “a process that changes attitude, belief, opinion or behaviour”.

Actually, we try to sell ideas, concepts, products etc. through the art of persuasion. Persuasion may be carried out in offices, workplaces, homes, etc. by fellow workers or neighbours.

Persuasion has been treated as an art, a craft and a science since ancient times and classical thinkers like Aristotle and Cicero devoted whole treatises.to the topic. In the middle ages, it was one of the basic liberal arts which was mastered practically by all the educated men. Even the religious preachers used the spoken word to move the men to virtue. In the form of advertising, persuasion is supporting a major industry these days.

Components and Steps in Persuasion:

The components or factors involved in the communication process are source, message, channel, receiver and destination. Source factors include the perceived sender of the communication. The “message” refers to what he says and includes style, content and organization, while “Channel” designates the medium (e.g. press, radio, television) through which the message is communicated. As regards the “receiver” factors, it refers to the persons (e.g. age, sex, etc.) to whom the communication is directed and the “destination” indicates the behaviour (e.g. voting) the communication is designed to influence.

The process of persuasion involves a series of successive steps: The communication is presented; the person pays attention to it; he comprehends the contents of the message and also the basic conclusion being urged. However, for persuasion to be effected the individual must agree with or yield to the point being urged and then finally act on it or in other words carry out the behaviour implied due to the new change in his attitude. For example, he enlists in the army, starts contributing to a charity etc.

Functions and Uses of Persuasion

The Public Relations practitioner uses the techniques of persuasion to:

i)    Change hostile opinions/attitudes;

ii)   Neutralize hostile opinions and indifferent attitudes;

iii)  Crystalize “unformed” or latent opinions and positive and negative attitudes; and

iv)  Conserve or reinforce positive or favourable opinions.

Altering unfavourable or hostile opinions into favourable opinions is a difficult job, however, if the message is compatible with a person’s general disposition About a subject, the task of persuasion becomes easier.

To neutralize unfavourable opinions is also not an easy task. If complete change of opinion or attitude is not achievable the second most desired goal would be to render the hostile opinion harmless or indifferent. It is also imperative for an organization to know where the silent group stands.

The easiest job of a persuader is to conserve favourable opinions through their reinforcement. The public relations practioners, however, should be very cautious and should not commit the mistake of neglecting people already in his fold. He should keep in mind that people rarely like to be taken for granted.

Principles and Techniques of Persuasion:

1.   Audience Analysis

For a successful persuasive communication the knowledge of audience—their social, economic, religious and political structures and values, is of paramount importance. The process of determining the attitudes of groups and then suggesting a specific mode of behavior or appropriate communication medium is called “Channelling”. Evoking concen for quality of life, I need for deflating price spiral and patriotism are some of the Channelling tactics that are commonly used in persuasion.

Equipped with such basic knowledge about the target group or audience of persuasion, the message can be tailored more appropriately and effectively.

2.   Source Credibility or Principle of Familiarity and Trust

Persuasion is more complete and successful if the source of persuasive communication is credible and trustworthy. We buy ideas, beliefs, opinions or point of views of those persons whom we believe to be more knowledgeable or expert in the concerned fields, sincere towards our interest and cause and who have impressive and charismatic qualities.

Sometimes visual symbols surrounding the person engaged in persuasive communication may profoundly enhance his credibility. A man without beard would seldom be able to impress the audience if he talks as a religious expert, while an appropriately dressed ” maulana”, wearing beard and a cap, speaking in favour of family planning would easily be accepted as a credible source and his utterances would have more persuasive impact.

The attractiveness of the source to the audience generally adds to the persuasive impact. For example, if the source is a greatly admired person, people tend to pursue gratification from identifying with him or from gaining social esteem by appearing to be like him. The similarity of the source to the receiver also enhances his attractiveness and in turn the persuasive impact.

3.   Appeal to Self-interest or Identification Principle

The message must be stated in terms of the interest of the audience. If your message does not address to the psychic or economic needs of your audience it would hardly attract their attention.

The appeal to self-interest may involve a sense of self-esteem, contribution to society at large, and a sense of belonging and ego-gratification or a deduction in tax.

4    Clarity of Message

The message should be self-explanatory and clear. The audience should be able to comprehend what you want them to do, say or believe. If the message is meant for internalization and the audience are intelligent and rational, the drawing conclusion of the message is left to them. If there is any danger that the audience may draw a wrong conclusion then it should not be left to them.

5    Timings and Context

Selection of appropriate conditions, climate and timings is of vital importance for the acceptance and adoption of a message. Many charity drives occur during Ramazan in the Islamic world.

A good public relations practioner should sense the public’s mood and try to capitalize on it. He should keep himself abreast of what media gate-keepers consider newsworthy to achieve proper publicity for his organization in the news media.

 

 

6    Audience Participation or Involvement

Persuasion is enhanced by the active involvement or participation of the audience. For better quality and more production the suggestions should also emanate from the audience. Decisions or suggestions formulated after consulting the audience are adopted more readily and employees are also more committed to prove the efficacy of those solutions.

7    Action Principles or Hints for Action

Action-oriented ideas and suggestions hinting at practical guidelines have greater chances of acceptance than those devoid of action and merely relying on empty appeals.

8    Contents and Structure of Message

Content and structure of messages can also enhance considerably the rate of their acceptance and in turn attitudinal change. Both rational and emotional appeals, comprised of statistics, budget figures, civic pride of the audience, gratitude To their Alma Mater, drama, examples, testimonials and mass media endorsement are used in devouring persuasive messages. In some situations two-sided arguments, humour, the factors of Primacy (arguments presented first in the speech) and Recency (strong arguments presented near the end of a speech and conclusion—summarizing and reinforcing the speaker’s point of view—can produce greater persuasive effect.

9    Persuasive Speaking

Delivering persuasive messages through spoken words require a great deal of proficiency and professionalism. God Almighty exhorts His Prophet (peace be upon him) in Quran while engaged in persuasive dialogues, he should lay stress first on the points which are undisputable and common between him and his audience.

Psychologists suggest that persuasive impact can be enhanced through different devices like structured choice, partial commitment and asking for more but being content with less. In structured choice the audience are asked to make their choice from two alternatives , — usually positive and negative. In partial commitment device, the speaker gets commitment from the receivers of the message for some action, leaving the other parts of the proposal for some later stage. When personnel are doubtful about the willingness of the management to accept the actual financial plan, they ask for a larger amount than required.

10  Roadblocks to Persuasion

Persuasion in its real sense is not a science. None of the techniques and devices can claim to get sure-fire results of persuasion. It deals with complicated and unpredictable human nature. The failure to achieve the desired results of persuasion, some experts think, may be attributed to ineptness or false assumptions.

The writers of the book “Public Relations- Strategies and Tactics” have mentioned four factors, which may create roadblocks to a persuasive message. These are:

i)    Lack of message penetration,

ii)   Competing messages,

iii)  Self-selection, and

iv)  Self-perception

Lack of message penetration results from the fact that the carrier of your persuasive message is not being attended by many of your audience. Moreover, the gate-keeping process may also damage the true spirit of your message. In the face of huge communication media and their constantly bombarding the audience with competing messages, the audience has been forced to sift messages suiting to their conditions.

Picking up or consumption of only those messages which suit to the taste, conviction or cause of the audience and ignoring information coming from other side, poses a big problem for a persuasive communicator. Potential audience of a Friday sermon are seldom found in the mosque. People perceive and interpret the messages in the light of their own predispositions. Because of this habit of self-perception the same message is differently understood by different people.

There also exist techniques to make people more resistant to persuasion. One effective way of making a person more resistant to subsequent persuasive attacks is to commit him in advance to his initial belief by encouraging him to make a public announcement about it; Commitment becomes even firmer when the person is led to make irreversible decision and to take action on the basis of his initial belief.

11 The Ethics of Persuasion

Like other professionals, the public relations practioners should also abide by certain norms and ethics of their profession. They should avoid the use of false, irrelevant land illogical arguments, gimmicks or half-truths to convince their audience. If they are not expert in the concerned field, they should not pose to be the one.

Such appeals which may arouse hatred and bigotry, should not find favour with a public relations practioner. The concealment of your real purpose of persuasion may also endanger the credibility and trust of your persuasive communication. The public relations practioners should be clear-minded and should never try to deceive their audience.

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Ten-Point Planning Model for a Public Relations Campaign

Ten-Point Planning Model for a PR Campaign:

Scarcity of the resources often forces us to resort to constraints. Therefore, ptudence demands that we plan our expenditure, make a judicious use of the available resources and try to obtain the best possible results at the minimum possible cost. The generally accepted PR planning model encompasses:

Ten-Point Planning Model for a PR Campaign
  1. Assessment of the situation
  2. Isolation of the problem
  3. Establishing policies
  4. Extending in-depth research
  5. Determining objectives
  6. Defining publics
  7. Development of a plan/selection of media and the techniques
  8. Planning of a budget
  9. Execution of the Plan
  10. Assessing results

1.Assessment of the Situation

Before chalking out/formulating a PR programme, it is necessary to be clear about its starting point as without having a clear perception about the public esteem or the current “image” of an organization, it would not be possible for any PR practitioners to chalk out an appropriate programme and/or recommend measures/considered necessary for improving the public image/rating of his/her client.

The current image of any subject can be found out by collecting necessary relevant data. This can be-done through five questions, four starting with “WM and one with “H”J (However, the questions asked by PR experts are different from the six generally put by] the journalists to make their stories/despatches about various events/happenings more comprehensive.) These questions arc: What image do the “publics” have of the concern^ organization,(i.e. subject) for which it is proposed to chalk out a PR programme? In otWil words, where docs it stand in the public esteem at that time? What do people know or nod know about it? What are their areas of misunderstanding—hostility, prejudice, apathy and ignorance etc, if any? What are the causes for the negative attitudes about the concern (subject) and finally, how these can be converted into positive ones?

Importance of Primary Research

Primary research is essential for making an assessment about the corporate image or goodwill that an organization enjoys amongst its “Publics”. Although research involved expenditure, but it is an investment — rather insurance — in success. However, effort^ should be made to keep the expenditure on research on a modest side and it should not b^ in any case, very high.

The research method most frequently used for PR purposes is the opinion pol where a sample of people, i.e. representatives of the particular “public” are interviewed and their attitudes are studied from the responses furnished by them. From the information data thus collected percentages are worked out of the people of different kinds holding certain views. The sample can be made up of men, women, married, single, in different age groups or social strata.

The result of the first survey would give an assessment of the corporate image of the organization prior to the launching of a PR programme. As the programme proceeds and progresses, similar surveys can be carried out at suitable intervals, say after every six months or so, to monitor changes in the opinions/attitudes of the people. However, the people questioned-should be relevant. For example, the respondents for a fertilizer or insecticide company should be the tillers/farmers or the dealers/stockists, while for baby food these could be mothers or would be mothers, doctors, nurses etc. Other Methods In addition to the opinion polls, other methods of assessing/appreciating the situation may include:

  1. a.           Press cutting, broadcasts or telecasts, monitoring reports.
  2. b.          sales figure trends;
  3. c.           state of competition and effects of imports;
  4. d.          share price, stock market opinion, dividends and balance sheet;
  5. e.           industrial relations situation;
  6. f.            customer complaints;
  7. g.           effects of price changes;
  8. h.          economic/political situation and
  9. i.             attitudes of opinion leaders.

2.Isolation of the Problem

The exact problem, its nature and extent and also main reasons for the existence of the problem can be determined with the help of the information/data collected through sample surveys or from studies and analysis carried out with the help of the indicators given above. Generally, four negative attitudes of the “Publics” towards the organization may emerge. These may be hostility, prejudice, apathy and ignorance.

Negative situation                          Positive situation

Hostility   Sympathy
Prejudice ———  > Acceptance
Appathy -——– > Interest
Ignorance   Knowledge

PR is not necessarily about trying to make others believe that we are the best. Creation of tolerance may be one of the PR objectives, but it is difficult to make people tolerate something which are not properly understood, in particular in race matters. Knowledge creates understanding and the principal objective of PR is creating understanding.

The primary aim of a PR programme should be to convert the negative attitudes, if any, into positive attributes — hostility into sympathy, prejudice into acceptance, apathy into interest and ignorance into knowledge. But before making an attempt for bringing about a desired change in the attitudes of the people, one should try to find out the exact nature/degree/magnitude of the negative attitudes, if any, existing about a subject.

3.Establishing Policies

After determining the problem, its nature/extent, reasons/causes etc, policy guidelines or strategy for bringing a positive change in the attitudes of the “public” through PR efforts can be formulated. The PR policy or strategy should then be got approved from the management of the organization concerned, i.e. the subject.

4.Indepth Research

We should then carry out research aimed at finding out complete information about the “public” in question, in particular their educational level, habits, religious attitudes/ beliefs, hobbies, peer groups etc., and also the type of media popular among them. The pattern that emerges from the study/research will help us in determining appropriate communication techniques and media strategy for disseminating messages to the target groups, keeping in view their general traits and habbits.

5.Determining Objectives

PR practitioners should then make a list of objectives after holding discussions with the senior executives of the organization/subject. Some of these objectives can be achieved within a short span of time while others may require a sustained effort over along period. Further, it may not require much effort and expenditure to achieve some objectives, but there may be some that may require huge investments or expenditure. Therefore, the need for fixing priorities for realizing various objectives within the budgetary allocations. Some possible objectives for a business for a business concern may include:

  • To establish a new corporate image because the company has broadened its operations. For instance, a company making corn flakes, now produces fertilizers, cement, sugar, cloth etc. To attract the best talent for jobs.
  • To gain credit for the achievements or discoveries or any other pioneering work.
  • To introduce the company in new markets.
  • To create climate conducive for g new floatation of shares.
  • To improve community relations.
  • To educate users/consumers about some new product.
  • To regain public confidence
  • To project Chairman’s participation in social activities.
  • To. sponsor educational, literary or philanthropic activities.
  • To create a better understanding among the politicians about the activities of the

company.

6.Defining Publics

Every organization has its own “publics”. These are people or a particular section of the people who benefit, directly or indirectly, from the services offered by the concern or who contribute, in one way or the other, in promoting the sales of the organization or are its patrons/promoters. In other words, publics are those groups of people, internal or external, with whome an organization communicates. Although the publics of one organization may differ from those of another, eight basic publics are common to most of the commercial organizations. These are:

  • The community. This may be different from organization to organization, depending upon its communication needs and requirements.
  • Potential Employees. These may exist in the institutions of learning or other organizations.
  • Employees. These can be of many kinds representing different salary, social or ethnic groups.
  •     Suppliers. These include both suppliers of utilities (i.e. water, energy etc.) and materials/professional services.
  • Investors. These include share-holders and institutional buyers of stocks.
  • Distributors. These include persons/firms who handle goods between the producers and the consumers.
  • Consumers/users. These include the persons or group of persons who actually buy/ use the products/services.
    • Leaders of Opinion. These include persons whose opinions can help or harm an organization.

7.Development of Plan

Development of a plan of action and the selection of the PR media/techniques should be done with extreme care. The only criterion for their selection should be their ability to give the best possible results in a given situation.

Readership figures in case of the print media and the audience rating in case of the electronic media should be kept in view while developing a plan or selecting a medium. Readership figures can be more helpful than circulation figures because some newspapers, in particular those specializing in economic and financial matters, have a small circulation as compared to popular newspapers, but a large number of readers per copy. Further, the type of persons who read financial newspapers is different from those who read general run of the mill popular newspapers. This equally applies to the programmes on the electronic media. Hence the value/quality of coverage does not depend upon the number of column centimeters (space) but the relevance of readership. For a financial/commercial stock market story, (press release 1) the financial newspapers could be given a greater rating/value than general newspapers. However, it would be quite reverse for a story (press release 2) on household products or consumer goods as illustrated in the chart.’ Hence selection of the media should be > primarily based on value judgement and the technique keeping in view the significance ofjthe event, the timings, the budgetary allocations and the popularity of the newspaper concerned amongst the given “public”.

8.Planning Budget

The budget sets a discipline for expenditure and it depends upon the activities or the size of an organization. Budgeting is imperative for the following reasons:

To estimate the expenditure for carrying out a PR programme.

Alternatively, to learn what sort of programme can be carried out within the allocations.            To measure results after the completion of a campaign.

PR is a labour intensive task, involving research, planning, determination of goals/ objectives, formulation of policies and their execution, selection of the media and the techniques and assessing results. Therefore, the biggest single cost that the PR exercises usually involve is the working hours. Other major costs include machines/equipments, making of films, audio-tapes, video-cassettes, printing of information material or production of house journals. As the films/tapes or information material, when produced, will be utilized over a considerable period, it is therefore advisable to spread their cost over a number of years. However, as a policy the PR budget should be modest and it should be allocated to the various media keeping in view the value and the results likely to be achieved. Further, the entire budget should not be allocated to an single medium; it should’ rather be spent on various media because the experience shows that a multi-pronged strategy can always yield better results.

9.Execution of the Plan

The plan should, in the first place, be launched on a pilot basis in one area/sector/ town and then its results should be assessed. The shortcomings that come to light during the execution of the plan in the pilot area should be removed, modifing/improving the original plan before its execution on a country-wide or international basis. Experience has shown that most of the successful organizations are masters of PR, their leaders or officials being good communicators. In fact, to be successful PR should start at the top and the chief executive should be in effect the principal public relations officer of the organization.

10.Assessment of Results

The research techniques indicated in the beginning of this chapter, under the heading “Logical Planning” for finding out the image of an organization before launching any PR campaign can be repeated to assess or evaluate the results, a good example being that of the opinion poll or attitude test; The methods of evaluating results are generally decided at the planning stage.

As the PR campaigns set out objectives, the results can be assessed against these pre­determined targets. (A list of possible objectives is given under the heading “Determining Objectives”). The results are often self-evident and do not require special research. One can easily assess whether the organization now enjoys better community relations, if its public image has increased, if it succeeded in attracting the public to subscribe to its new shares, if the sales staff was welcomed when it approached with a new product and so on.

 

 

 

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Public Relations Setup for Official and Non-Official Organizations

 Elaborate the PR setup for official and non-official organizations.

Public Relations setup for official and non-official organizations

Public relations can be classified into Various types, viz government/official PR, financial/industrial/commercial PR, political PR, international PR etc.

Official Public Relation:

Public relations is considered to be an essential component for the smooth functioning of any government, state agency or department. Although official PR departments are considered to be non political and non partisan, th® parties in power in some third world countries, often try to use these for achieving/furthering their own political ends. The basic duties/functions of a PR set-up of a government include:

1.         To keep the citizens informed of the government policies, achievements, organization welfare programmes and projects.

2.         To interpret the rules, procedures, laws and the new enactments in an easy and simple language and to keep the citizens informed of all matters/vital issues having a bearing on their live.

3.         To keep the Federal Ministers and the concerned departments abreast of the public reactions to the various policies/decisions of the government and also suggest measures for avoiding/controlling adverse reactions.

All governments organize their PR set-ups and assign them jobs keeping in view their own peculiar needs and requirements. The PR departments of the industrial countries have been very active in promoting the sale of their products, while in the case of super powers their PR outfits I have been attempting to increase their global sphere of influence as well.

a) P.I.D.          

The Press Information Department, a department attached to the Ministry oi l Information and Broadcasting, is the main or key > agency which is responsible for the I official PR of the Federal Government, while the provincial governments have their own » PR set-ups. The Press Information Department works under the Principal Information Officer 1 and it has well-equipped and properly staffed directorates at the provincial capitals in addition j to outfits at Gilgit in the Northern Pakistan and at some other important towns. PID has a number of wings, each responsible for various duties. The main wings of PID include:

 

1.         Home Publicity Wing: It is responsible for projecting the acitivities of various Federal Ministries/divisions/departments. Normally, one Information Officer is assigned to one or two ministries/divisions and he acts as a sort of PRO to that ministry or division. This wing is also responsible for accredition of the journalists and for arranging their visits. It is further split into two parts, one responsible for the publicity of the economic ministries and the other for non-economic ministries.

2.         Research and Reference Wing: It prepares feedbacks and research reports for use by the concerned agencies of the government.

3.         Advertisement Wing: It releases advertisements of agencies, departments, divisions, ministries of the Federal Government to the press.

4.         Administration Wing: It is responsible for providing logistical support to the professional wings and for looking after service matters of the staff working in the organization.

PID is also responsible for preparing speeches of the President and the Prime Minister and for arranging press conferences of the high-ups. More details about PID and other agencies of the Federal Government which are engaged in PR activities, in one way or the other, on behalf of the government. However, it must b| born mind that PR is the combined responsibility of all the functionaries of a ministry/ division/department and not the sole responsibility of the PR practitioner. Unless PR 2 understood and applied by all the employees, in particular senior and middle level officer efforts to improve the image of various organizations or agencies cannot succeed.

Financial P. R.

Although the need for PR was felt by every society to influence the ideas and opinions of the people, the industrial revolution gave birth to severe competition forcing the companies concerned to engage in PR activities aimed at inducing the people to buy their products.

The post-war period saw rapid developments in the techniques of informing the people and organizations engaged in trade, industry and the professions started using PR with integrity and intelligence to establish, maintain and promote harmonious relations between their organizations and the public. Recent advances in technology have further revolutionized the ways and means of informing the people and the PR practitioners of the modern age make use of the latest gadgets, particularly in the print/electronic media and the communication technology, to send their messages to people across the globe. In addition to the sophisticated and fast printing machines, PR experts these days use the latest gadgets like TV, videotapes, computers, fax machines, instamatic cameras, satellites etc. for preparing and sending massages to their publics.

The main aims of financial, industrial and commercial PR are:

(i)         to create a constant channel of* communication between the organization concerned and its publics, both internal and external;

(ii)        to increase the overall image of the organization which ultimately leads to increased sales.

Generally, the resources of every organization are limited; therefore, it is prudent to fix priorities for implementing PR programmes. More details about planning PR programmes will appear in Unit No. 5. However, forward looking business/industrial/ commercial organizations who want to flourish and grow, generally look at their activities with a PR eye and try to chalk out a PR programme for every segment of their publics, whether it be the press, the customers, the potential clients or the general public. Some of the possible objectives of their PR campaigns could be increasing sales, making the people think highly of the corn in grabbing attention of the people or, perhaps, a bit of everything. PR activities of the financial, industrial or commercial concerns can be further divided, as discussed below:

(a)        Relations with customers

The relations with customers/clients primarily depend upon the quality of the product, its price, delivery schedules and availability in the market. However, the public esteem/good will of a concern also plays a vital role in this regard. The PR department can make a valuable contribution by establishing a channel of communication with the present and the prospective customers through the mass media, house journals, leaflets, brochures, documentary films, exhibitions/fairs, open house, speeches and inter-personal contacts.

(b)       Relations with Shareholders

Those companies which have a proper PR programme for the shareholders and keep them suitably motivated and interested in the affairs pertaining to their organisations and do not merely treat them as numbers in the register of shareholders, find the existing shareholders to be the best source whenever they need fresh capital.

(c)        Relations with Community

Management should have a detailed plan for establishing and maintaining deserved local support even if they happen to be making a product with a limited market which does not include “the common man” because it is the son/daughter of the common man you hope will respond to your advertisement  for a job.

(d)       Relations with Employees

Relations with employees play a great role in the growth/expansion of a company. If the employees feel a sense of pride in belonging to a company they put in their best with the result that the company concerned grows and flounishes.

(e)        PR and Sales Promotion

Public relations can make a great contribution in increasing the sales of a company. Whenever sale efforts are preceded by a proper PR campaign, the sale representatives are received warmly and they do not find it difficult to introduce new products. Further it has been generally felt that financial, commercial, trade or technical newspapers on magazines, do not get quality write ups in good number and are often forced to fill in the pages by in whatever they could get.

International Industrial PR

Companies marketing products world-wide or in a section of the globe have to engage in a vigorous PR campaign to inform the local population about their products. Generally, people who understand the psyche of the target population and are fully aware about the local customs/labour socio economic conditions etc. are assigned the job of preparing a PR campaign.

International PR/Diplomacy

The basic aim of international PR/diplomacy is to project abroad a positive image of the country and its people as well as to create an increased awareness about the country’s policy goals, its endeavours for socio economic development and for promoting peace within and outside. Though it is not the main objective of international PR/diplomacy, but efforts are also made for attracting foreign investments, Boost up tourism and the sales of the national products.

As regards Pakistan, it is the respobsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s missions abroad to maintain, at official level, an overall good image of the country. But it is imperative that cordial relations that exist between Pakistan and other governments be diversified to their mutual benefit so that a reflection of good relations is found in all walks of life. This vital job is handled by the External Publicity Wing (E. P. Wing) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through its over 20 Information Sections abroad. The Information sections, which are attached to Pakistan’s missions in major countries, cultivate good relations with leaders of public opinion, intellectuals and the working journalists and facilitate, as and when required their visits to Pakistan. The E. P. Wing is also respobsible for removing mistrust and suspicious about Pakistan by providing factual information in addition to counteracting negative propaganda. It also prepares a feedback-on the general views of the people and foreign media on various issues of interest tp Pakistan. Efforts are also made to beef up these activities through exchange of delegations, comprising of leaders in various walks of life, between Pakistan and various friendly countries.

(a)        Problems of International PR

Every society has its own set of values, social taboos and ethics and people generally view foreigners with suspecion. Hence this calls for adopting a PR approach best suited to every country keeping in view the ethics, social taboos etc., of the country concerned. The PR staff should also as a matter of principle be selected from the same country where it has to be posted. However, the staff should be regularly briefed and given orientation courses at the head office of the patent company. Further lack of diplomatic relations or strained relations between countries can, sometimes, prevent growth of PR activities. Example, it may not be possible for a PR firm in America to project the cause of Iran or Libya. Like wisest may not be possible for a PR consultancy in Pakistan to espous the cause of Israel.

Political PR

All political parties recognise the importance of PR for increasing their influence in the society and for winning over the support of the poeple. Important political parties in the Western countries, having democratic dispensations, establish PR advisory committees, composed of PR experts of great standing, to create their channels of communication with the people and to convert them into their sympathizers or followers; These political parties also set up bureaux in all important towns and cities to make people familiar with their party manifestoes and programmes. The main aims and objectives of PR programmes launched by the political parties are:

(a)        to introduce their programmes, policies and party manifestoes to the citizens with a view to enlisting their support.

(b)        to convince the people to take up membership of the political party.

(c)        to convince the citizens about the legitimacy and correctness of party’s stand on various crucial issues as well as party goals and objectives, making them believe that these were the best under the given circumstances, and in the supreme national interest as compared with those chalked out by other political parties.

(d)        To remain constantly in touch with the party loyalists, voters and sympathizers with a view to ensuring their continued support arid cooperation,

(e)        To raise funds for the political party enabling it to steadfastly pursue its programmes and policies.

Notable techniques used by the political parties for achieving the above cited objectives are:

(a)        Propaganda / counter propaganda

Propaganda is the means of gaining support for an opinion, creed or belief by agitating the heart or mind, through emotional, intellectual or spiritual topics such as politics or religions, with which people may or may not agree. It may be used for good, bad, or even for very strange causes. The great agitations — against slavery, against monopoly, for human rights — were psychic waves that swept across successive generations. In war, propaganda rallied the support of the bation. Great humanitarian causes — educational, curative recreational depended upon skillful appeals for gifts.

(b)        The tall claims made by the rival political party or parties are exposed. In Pakistan, every

political party vigorously propagates its successes or record of dedicated services to the people while at the same time trying to convince the people that the policies of the government of the day were not giving the desired results and/or these were faulty and not in tune with the present-day requirements. Obviously, all the parties resort to exaggeration. Counter-propaganda is, in fact, another form of propaganda itself.

(c)        Pressure groups

Pressure groups represent various .interests in the society . Example-industrialists, agriculturists, lawyers, teachers, labour unions, environmentalists, women lobbies, student unions, religious bodies, minority groups etc. These pressure groups, sometimes, operate under a distinct name, but on occasions they infiltrate in the political parties and try to influence the policies/programmes of the political parties with a view to safeguarding their interests.

The political parties also sometimes constitute groups which apparently look to be non-political but in reality they endeavour to further the aims, objects and programmes of those parties by infiltrating into various professional bodies or associations or unions.

(d)        Infiltration

The political parties use various methods for infiltration. Prominent among these

include:

a)         The worlers of a political party infiltrate in the social/cultural/professional bodies and/or associations of writers, unions of labourers and students, play up their differences from within and try to seize control of those bodies. Likewise, some political parties infiltrate in the religious bodies or minority groups for achieving similar purposes.

b)         The workers infiltrate in the bodies cited at” a” above and launch a whispering campaign against the rival political parties or their leaders.

c)         An effort is made to create a false public opinion, supportive of the programmes/ policies of a political party, some commonly used practices are:

1.         Party workers, who have infiltrated in various social/cultural/ professional bodies or associations or unions, are advised to send letters/telegrams opposing some official move, say a proposed legislation, thus giving the impression that the public opinion was against it

2.         Party workers’are asked to launch a campaign in the national press by inserting articles, columns or letters written by them in their personal capacity as citizens or office-bearers of various non-political bodies.

3.         Whenever some agency/organization wants to conduct an opinion poll, the workers or camp followers are advised to express their opinion in the maximum number and thus an attempt is made to . create the impression that a vast majority of the people supports their ideas Or programmes.

4.         Such newspapers and other publications,’ which apparently look to be – independent but are in reality party organs, are sent to the intellectuals,

writers, leaders of public opinion, educationists, etc., free of cost, with a view to turning their opinion in favour of the political party.

(e) Public Welfare.

Some political parties try to gain public sympathies by launching various schemes/ projects for the welfare of the people. Notable examples include establishment of hospitals, mobile dispensaries, educational institutions or destitute homes, party workers are sent to hospitals tb look after the needs of the sick. Likewise an effort is made to provide relief promptly to the persons affected in national calamities. All these activities aim at gaining the sympathies of the public.

PR Through Corporate Sponsorships

Business enterprises undertake many activities for the welfare of the community with commercial objectives in view but without having a direct bearing on the business of the company, Corporate sponsorship encompasses all such activities. We do not know when and how the practice began. But we see a beginning of the corporate sponsorship, as understood and practised today, at the advent of the present Century in adistant continent, i.e. America, and the man who can be credited for introducing” human aspect” in normal business activities is Ivy Ledbetter Lee, a name familiar to all PR practitioners.

Ivy Lee always tried to make business a human affair. He was the first man who, we can say, started in a systematic manner the use of corporate sponsorship techniques for improving, in a discreet manner, the image of the companies he worked for.

Sponsorship is the modern form of patronage, industry replacing the wealthy benefactors of the past. Since nobody wishes to gain an award from a disreputable or even ah unknown or undistinguished patron, it follows that those who make public awards need to be reputable and well-known. Consequently, sponsorship bears a mark of approval which is good PR in itself.

If we look around, we find innumerable number of hospitals and institutes being run by various industrial, trade and business houses. Perhaps, many of us have heard about Madina-tul Hikmat, an institute for higher learning and research in Tib or the indigenous system of medicine, set up by the Hamdard Foundation for promoting the Unani (Greek)system of medicine through regular classes/courses.

Hamdard Foundations sponsoring, for the last many years, a regular campaign, styled A a waz-e-Khalq, for promoting healthy habits amongst the citizens and for eradication of vices from the society. The campaign makes use of all media, including mass and little, for transmitting specially-prepared messages to the target audience. Hamdard Foundation also regularly organ sizes lectures on topics of national importance in the major cities of Pakistan, which are attended by a cross section of the people.

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Duties and Qualities of Public Relations Officer

Write about the duties and qualities of a Public Relations Officer.

Duties and Qualities of Public Relations Officer:

In recent years, the demand for public relations officer in both private and public sectors has gone up considerably. It can be a very interesting career option where one can get exposure to press conferences, organizing events, communication budgeting, reputation management, etc. If you want to find your niche in the dynamic domain of PR, read on to understand the responsibilities and required skill sets of this field.

According to the Institute of Public Relations, USA, “Public Relations is a deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public.” A public relations officer (PRO), also known as ‘Media Specialist,’ is the spokesperson of an organization. His or her role is to convey the policies and interests of the organization to the public through various modes of media. For an organization, ‘public’ refers to the existing customers, potential customers, shareholders, financiers, media, government bodies, employees, etc. The need for a PRO can be found in almost all sectors, including private companies, advertising agencies, financial organizations, government agencies, charities, etc.

As a PRO has to be dedicated 24/7 to protect the interest of a company, it can be a very demanding job. However, it is also a lucrative and interesting means of making a career. If you are ready to take up the challenge, here are a few points that will help you in understanding the public relations officer’s job better.

Reputation Management:

The prime function of a public relations officer is to create, maintain and enhance the reputation of an organization. It is the responsibility of the PRO to promote the people, products, services or solutions of the establishment he works for.

Goodwill Creation:

A seasoned PRO should not only manage and maintain reputation, but should also continuously work towards creating and ameliorating the goodwill of the organization. This will help in creating a favorable public image of the organization by strengthening its credibility.

Crisis Management:

One of the most crucial and difficult duties of a public relations person is crisis management. Mostly, the need for such communication arises when the stock position of the company is not favorable, mitigation of losses is required, during a takeover situation, the organization decides to dissolve a joint venture, there is a change in the senior management, etc. At times, there may be a conflict of interest between the public and the company because of some issues related to its policies or product. A PRO should be capable enough to deal with such problems, without causing damage to the reputation of the company.

PR Strategies and Campaigns:

A PRO should constantly look out for opportunities to present the organization in a positive light. He needs to come up with different PR strategies that will lead to easy acceptance and appreciation of any new move by the organization. When a company has to launch a new product, announce a new scheme, enter a new MOU or JV etc.; it is the job of the PR official to make arrangements to promote a new corporate move. He has to plan promotional strategies, keeping the target audience and desired result in mind.

Press Conference:

Whenever an important decision of the organization is to be made public, the PRO must arrange a press conference. He has to invite the press beforehand, make arrangements at the venue, manage catering, audio-visual facilities, stage set-up, ambiance etc. Also, he has to prepare a press kit for the journalists, which includes a press release, providing details of the announcement. After the press conference, he has to request the press to ask their questions. He should be very careful and clever in answering their queries.

Preparing Media Plan:

A PRO must prepare an event-wise media plan, detailing and shortlisting the journalists from publications and electronic media for gaining substantial visibility. Other media platforms like advertising, bill boards, social media, etc. are also to be considered. This is an important decision to be taken by the PRO as the quality and quantity of publicity mileage can be entirely based on the media plan.

Coordinating Interviews:

Most of the senior management professionals of an organization give interviews to newspapers, magazines, websites and television channels. The PRO of the company will have to coordinate the communication between the senior management and the journalists. To decide and discuss where the interview is to be conducted, the briefing points, the probable list of questions, etc. before the interview rest on his shoulders.

Communication Budget:

It is important that a separate budget is set aside at the beginning of every financial year for various public relations activities. The PRO has to prepare a communication plan at the beginning of the year, giving details of the activities along with the budget allotted to them individually. Contingency plan for emergency communication should also be done in the budget.

Cordial Relations:

A PRO needs to take special efforts in maintaining cordial relations with the clients, potential clients, media persons, top management of the company, employees, etc. He should have knowledge about every single news regarding the organization.

Excellent Communication:

It is necessary for a PR officer to have excellent oral and written communication skills. He must be well versed in corporate jargon as he has to draft speeches for the senior management, and might have to address the press himself. Apart from this, he has to prepare publicity brochures, press releases, newsletters for employees, handouts, company magazines, etc.

Effective Marketing:

The PRO should have sound sales and marketing skills that will help in effective promotion of the products and services. Besides, it also helps if he is a creative person and is able to come up with new and innovative ideas to attract the public. He may have to plan mass media films and videos to promote or enhance the sales of a particular product. He may even have to assist in market research.

Internal Communications:

He has to work closely with the internal communications team, for devising a objective bound communication for employees located at one or several locations. He has to play an instrumental role in communicating a single message throughout the organization. This can also impact the employee engagement effectively.

Media Coverage: His job not only involves getting media coverage, but also includes following its tone and nature. He should also evaluate and analyze the coverage to understand the impact of the communication.

Communicating with Senior Management:

Other duties of the PRO include keeping the senior management abreast about the moves made by competitors.

He has to be aware about the cutting edge competition and should have up-to-date information on the prevalent market conditions.

Answering Queries:

Media people often raise queries about the decisions and working of the organization. It is the duty of the PRO to answer them diplomatically without divulging unnecessary details.

Corporate Identity:

Every organization has its own set of corporate brand identity. The PRO has to check whether the logo and branding of the company in advertisements, newsletters, brochures, etc. are in accordance with the company’s interests. The placement, size, color and other details pertaining to the corporate identity are to be verified before a public event.

Translating Content:

Sometimes the content on the website, press releases, press notes, brochures, leaflets, etc. needs to be in different languages for easy readability and comprehension of people in a particular country. It is the duty of the PRO to get the content translated from an agency and verify it before communicating the same.

Maintaining Archives:

As a part of the responsibilities of a PRO, he has to maintain an event-wise docket of all the press coverage in both print and electronic media. Also, maintenance of proper documentation and archives is expected from him.

CSR Activities:

Organizations across the world are increasingly waking up to the idea of environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is expected from the PRO to give an impetus to such activities and provide them good publicity by utilizing various platforms of communication.

Anthropology and Psychology:

Along with knowledge of the media, sales and marketing, it is also important for the PR official to know something about the anthropology and psychology. This will help him in understanding and planning different kind of strategies that would work for varied group of people.

Other Functions:

A PRO has to conduct events, exhibitions, road shows, parties, facility tours, delegation meets, conferences and undertake sponsorships or allied activities that the firm supports in order to gain public attention. It is his responsibility to get the website and social networking pages of the organization updated from time to time.

Qualities and Skill Sets of a PRO

  • Professional approach
  • Networking skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Written and oral communication skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Innovating and troubleshooting skills
  • Organization and management skills
  • Leadership qualities
  • Creativity
  • Storytelling traits
  • Curiosity
  • Knowledge of current affairs
  • Result oriented
  • Self-disciplined
  • Tech-savvy
  • Competitive
  • Constructive thinker

As Alan Harrington has rightly quoted, “Public relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so that the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by sturdy blooms.” Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that the job of a public relations officer entails great responsibility. To become eligible for a PR job, one has to do a course in public relations, but this is not always necessary. A person with a graduate degree in communications, journalism, advertising, etc. is equally qualified to become a public relations officer. Actually more than the qualification, it is the skill that matters, to be successful in this field. A PRO is a person who has the duty to uphold the prestige of the company or organization he works for. Hence, it is better to gain a sound launch pad where one will get excellent hands on experience.

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Origin & Development of Public Relation in Pakistan

Q4.   Explain the origin and development of Public Relations in Pakistan.

Origin of Public Relation in Pakistan:

Like other parts of the globe, in the areas now constituting Pakistan, PR was practised in one form or the other, even thousands of years ago.

The rulers of South Asia sub-continent made use of rocks and specially constructed monuments to convey royal proclamations and decrees and/ or to highlight their achievements. The rt>yal proclamations, the words of wisdom and Achievements of some rulers of the bygone days can be seen carved on some rocks near Mansehra, Gilgitand other areas in the northern Pakistan even to day . Ashoka’s (about 300B.C) royal decrees appear on a rock near the present city of Mansehra in NWFP. The main purpose of these carvings on rocks/monuments was the desire of the ruler to keep a constant channel of communication, and thus g sustained understanding, with the public. Even today the main.job of a PR practitioner is to promote mutual understanding between his Organization and its public/clientelle.

 

When we go through the pages of history, we find that the Muslim rulers of South Asia sub-continent had appointed Waqa-i-Nawees (scribes) throughout India for keeping them informed about the opinions and seritiments of the public and also about the general state of affairs in the country. These scribes kept posted information to in order the emperors to enlighten than about the important happenings in their province/region. The scribes worked directly urider the ruler and also reported to. him on the conduct and general, behaviour of the provincial/regional governors/officials, including army commanders. The daily feedback or summary of important news, views, comments etc appearing in the Press, prepared by information officials today for senior functionaries of the state is the improved form of the reports sent by the scribes to the emperors or the kings. In his famous book Aain-i-akbari. Abu-el-Fazal writes that the system of “Waqa-i-Naweesi” existed in India even before the arrival of the Mughals, but Emperor Akbar the Great (1558-1605) recognised its lofty objectives and perfected it.

We can deduce from the above two examples that the history of Public Relations in the areas now constituting Pakistan is quite old and some people have been engaged here in activities which even today form an essential component of the overall job of a PR practitioner. However, a widespread use/application of the public relations activities, as now generally recognised, took roots in the beginning of the twentieth century when some British firms used PR techniques not only to build-up a good image of their organizations’ but also to boost up the sales of their products.

Earlier, the British Government in India had established Public Relations offices at the Provincial level to keep the public informed about the official policies, welfare schemes and development plans launched by the government, while at the same time keeping itself fully informed about the views and reactions of the public to various official policies/ measures. The Provincial Public Relations/Information Departments also performed protocol functions, administered the Press Laws and issued official advertisements. However, at the central level we see a gradual and systematic beginning of the official PR activities when during the World War II the colonial government decided to set-up an Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) for motivating the natives to join the Armed Forces and, for keeping up the esteem and morale of the Indian soldiers in the British Army. Later,- Press Information Department and the Department of Advertising, Films and Publications were set-up at the centre.

During the same years, some commercial companies, particularly those marketing vegetable ghee and tea appeared on the scene, striving through mass media and street demonstrations to attract the masses to their products. The employees’ of those companies offered tea and snacks fried in vegetable ghee to the people gratis. This also used commercial films for inducing the people to take tea and for persuading them to abandon using the “ghee” prepared from animal fats. These films highlighted that the “ghee” prepared from butter or animal fats was extracted (by the natives) under extremely unhygienic conditions while vegetable ghee was prepared and packed by machines strictly conforming to the health laws and observing a high standard of hygiene. As regards tea, the films conveyed the message that the use of tea has a soothing effect in summer, and that it keeps the body war min winter. Such was the state of affairs in the domain of PR in the South Asia Sub-continent till 1947. We can, therefore, say that modern PR practices had just started here when the British left India and when two independent and sovereign states of Pakistan and India appeared in the Sub-continent in the middle of August 1947.

Status of Public Relations after Independence

At the time of Independence, a pre-dominant number of professional staff of the PR establishments, both in the public and private sector, comprised of non-Muslims who preferred to stay in India ,and serve there. Although the provincial governments in, Pakistan had their own PR/Information set-ups, but their non-Muslim staff also migrated^ to India en-masse. The Government of Pakistan had therefore to re-organise and strengthen the Provincial PR/Information departments on priority basis and also establish at the Federal level Press Information Department, Radio Pakistan and the Department of Advertising, Films and Publications. This was an uphill task as there was dearth of qualified and trained staff.

Development in Public Relations in Pakistan

Every successive government in Pakistan recognised the importance/need for moulding the public opinion through public relations/publicity. Consequently, theoperations/ functions of PR/Information departments were gradually expanded to many new areas. A brief account of the PR/publicity network that now exists in Pakistan, alongwith its activities, is given under two separate headings, viz:

Official PR/Publicity

Internal PR/Publicity

External PR/Publicity

Non-official PR/Publicity

Internal PR/Publicity

The Federal Government conducts internal PR/Publicity through the following organisation:

Press Information Department (PID)

It is one of the important and effective departments of the Government and it not Only suitably projects the policies, plans and development efforts of the Government but also keeps a constant liaison with the newspapers/magazines and the working journalists. Other notable functions of this department include release of official advertisements, conducting of research, preparation of initial drafts for the speeches to be delivered by the Head of the State (President) and the Chief Executive of the country (Prime Minister). It also prepares a daily press summary, containing important news reports and editorial comments/columns/articles/letters to the editors on matters of national significance, for circulation amongst the top -hierarchy of the country.

Directorate of Films and Publications (DFP)

This Directorate, which was known as the Directorate of Advertising, Films and Publications till mid-sixties, was considered to be one of the most effective PR/ publicity organs of the government. However, with the introduction of TV in 1964 and transfer of the advertising wing to the Press Information Department, this department could not maintain its erstwhile pivotal and dignified position. However; it is still playing a very important role and it specializes in the preparation of documentaries, news documentaries, news reels and all sorts of publications. It brings out a number of regular magazines and also publishes well researched and documented material on issues of national significance, including an Official Handbook depicting progress in-various sectors, for circulation both within and outside the country. In short, DFP is one of the main sources for printing and supplying publicity/information material, including pictorial both within and outside the country.

  • Pakistan National Centre (PNC)

The department was established in 1964 under the name of Pakistan Council for. National Integration, but its ndmenclature was changed to Pakistan National Centre, in 1972, because of the exigencies of the time and the emergence of an independent state of Bangladesh. The Centre arranges lectures, seminars, symposia and group discussions on subjects of national importance. It has 30 branches, called centres, one each in all important towns/cities of Pakistan. Each Centre lias a well-equipped library whose membership is open to all citizens of Pakistan.

  • Directorate of Research and Reference:

It identifies major problems facing the country and suggests their possible remedies. It used to be a very efficient and effective organization till early 70s but it seems to have become a victim of indifference and apathy these days.

  • Radio Pakistan:

Initially, established as an attached department, Radio Pakistan was converted into a corporation on 19th of December, 1972. This is one of the main PR/publicity organs of the state in a country ^vhere over 70 percent people are illiterate. The corporation broadcasts news bulletins in national and regional language? and also programmes aimed at creating a better awareness amongst people about various issues. It is the sole source of entertainment for a large majority of the people, particularly those living in the rural areas of Pakistan.

  • Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV)

It made its debut in Pakistan in 1964 when*Television Promoters Company started experimental telecasts. The .company was converted into a limited company in 1967 under the nomenclature of Pakistan Television Corporation. The Corporation has five stations, one each at the Federal and Provincial capitals. The Corporation is entirely a governmentrcontrolled/owned company. Over the years television in pakistan has emerged as the most powerful medium for bringing about the desired change in the attitudes of the people through its programmes. The PTV enjoyed a monopoly till 1990, but it is now facing a severe competition from the Network Television Marketing (NTM), a private sector company which startedits regular transmissions on July17,1990 by acquiring rights for this purpose from Shalimar Recording Company. As on 30th of May, 1996, NTM was telecasting programmes from 10 stations located in major cities of Pakistan. The emergence of NTM has created a healthy competition in the field of popular entertainment and resultantly the programmes of both the networks have tremendously improved.

  • National Press Trust (NPT):

The National Press Trust used to publish twc> English newspapers (dailies Pakistan Times and Morning News) and two Urdu newspapers (dailies Mashriq and Imroze) for promoting healthy traditions of journalism in the country and also for moulding public opinion and for keeping the people favourably disposed towards the policies of the government. In keeping with its policy of privatization, the Government of Pakistan decided on March 27, 1991, to privatize the NPT newspapers, except the Pakistan Times. However, in a subsequent meeting held in January 1994, it was decided to privatize all newspapers without any exception and consequently rthe Pakistan Times was handed over to a private group on 22nd of May, 1996.

  • Miscellaneous Departments:

The authorities and the people in Pakistan are now fully aware of the importance and potential of PR as a tool of managing affairs amicably and almost all organizations, including autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies Worth their name, have regular PR outfits of their own. Notable among such bodies arc WAPDA, PTDC, TDCP, PIA, State Bank, IDBP, PICIC, ADBP, CDA, KDA, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel, State Cement Corporation, OGDC, Sui Northern , and Southern Company, Seed Supply Corporation of Pakistan, Attock Oil Company, Population Planning, National Savings Directorate and National Highway Authority etc.

External PR/Publicity

The basic aim of external PR/publicity is to project abroad a positive image of the country, its people and culture as well as to create an increased awareness about Pakistan’s policy goals, its  endeavours for socio-economic development and for promoting peace within and outside. Though it is not the main objective, but efforts are also made for attracting foreign investments in Pakistan, boost-up tourism and sale of Pakistan products.

It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistanis missions abroad to maintain, at official level, an overall good image of the country. But it is imperative that cordial friendly relations that exist between Pakistan and other governments be diversified to their mutual benefits so that a reflection of good relations is found in all walks of life. This vital job is handled by the External Publicity Wing (E. P. Wing) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through its over 20 Information Sections abroad. The Information Sections, which are attached to Pakistan’s missions in major countries, cultivate good relations with leaders of public opinion, intellectuals and the working journalists and facilitate, ks and when required, their visits to Pakistan. The E. P. Wing is ako responsible for removing mistrust and suspicions about Pakistan by providing factual information in addition to counteracting negative propaganda. It also prepares a feedback on the general views of the people and foreign media on various issues of interest to Pakistan.

Public Relations of Private Sector

In Pakistan, PR in private sector is still in its infancy. Most of the medium and small-size business/trade/industrial companies do not have a well defined PR programme. Wherever PR outfits exist emphasis seems to be on cheap publicity and fostering friendship with the representatives of the media. PR officials of some companies also get commercial films prepared, release advertisements to the friendly newspapers/journals and print leaflets, booklets, brochures, annual reports and house journals etc. However, PR staff in the private-sector generally seems reluctant to adopt, innovative and/or psychological approach which can yield better and quicker results. Some PROs are incapable of clearly determining the PR needs and goals of their organisation and recommend steps in carrying out the project. However, one learners only through experience and gradually acquires maturity in counselling/management.

The managements of some organisations think that the sole job of a PR person is to project ‘the boss’ or to do some odd jobs for him or the company. The think that like other modern outfits, it is prestigious to have a PRO but seem reluctant to assign him/her any meaningful role in the organization. Generally, people working as PROs in the private sector are not qualified or trained for those positions and anyone who is found redundant in the organization is given this position. Despite lake of interest, future of public relations in the private sector is quite bright.

Managements now fully realize that in this era of severe competition an organization must not only be-efficient but its efficiency should also be recognized by the intended publics. It is also now acknowledged that PR is important not only to the business but also to the government which comes to power and remains at the helm of affairs until it enjoys popular support. Hence, both the government and the enlightened industrial/commercial organizations try to keep the public opinion in their favour by launching suitable programmes of public relations aimed at convincing the people that their motto is larger good or welfare of the people and that their programmes/policies and products are better than those of their competitors.

Resultantly, the importance of PR practitioners, both in the public and the private sectors, has also increased in Pakistan. The day is not far when all big Organizations in Pakistan will have a strong and efficient PR progamme manned by persons quite senior in the hierarchy, as is the case in the developed countries.

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Need and Importance of Code of Ethics in Public Relations

Q.3   Explain the need and importance of a code of ethics in Public Relations with special reference to Pakistani.

Public Relations Ethics:

Before proceeding further, let us have a look at the meaning of the word “ethics”. The words “ethics” and “ethical” are often used synonymously with morals, and ethical f virtues of a person or a group of persons are also considered his or their moral qualities. | Ethics has been derived from the Greek word “ethos” and morals is derived from the Latin word “mores”, both of which means habits or customs. According to the encyclopedia Britannic the ethics or morality of persons or groups, however, consists not merely of f what they habitually or customarily do but of what they think is fitting, right or obligatory to do. Men’s actions are often, but not always, a sign of what they believe: their actions may diverge from their beliefs, and both actions and beliefs may differ from what men say I they ought to do or believe. Morality contains an ineluctable normative element. Whereas a person may engage in habitual and customary conduct without any reflective thought, ethics always involves reflective evaluation or prescription concerning the conduct in question. Even when “customary morality” is spoken of the reference of the term is not merely to the customs as such —in the sense of regular, repeated sequences of behaviour but also to the view, at least implicitly held by the participants, that what they regularly do is in some way right: it is not merely what is done, it is also what is to be done.

Need and Importance of Code of Ethics in Public Relations

On the other hand, “Code” has been defined as a systematically arranged and comprehensive collection of laws, regulations, rules of procedure or conduct or a generally accepted set of principles.

Deriving from the definitions of ethics and code , as outlined above, we can define ‘ the Code of Ethics as a collection of law, regulations, rules of procedure or conduct, or a generally accepted set of principles concerning the conduct of a person or groups under various circumstances and eventualities in a certain or given sphere of human activity. It consists not merely i« what the people habitually or customarily do but in what they think it is fitting, right or obligatory to do. In other words, it is not merely what is done, it is also what has to be done.

 

 

IPRA Code of Professional Conduct

The following code of conduct was adopted by the International Public Relations Association at its general assembly in Venice, May 1961 and is binding on all members of the Association.

(A) Personal and Professional Integrity

It is understood that by personal integrity is meant the maintenance of both high moral Declaration of Principles

Members of the Public Relations Society of America” base their professional ] principles on the fundamental value and dignity of the individual, holding that the free exercise of human rights, especially freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom j of the press, is essential to the practice of public relations.

In serving the interests of clients and employers, we dedicate ourselves to the goals of better communication, understanding and cooperation among the diverse individuals, groups and institutions of society.

We Pledge:

a)         To conduct ourselves professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness and responsibility to the public;

b)         To improve our individual, competence and advance the knowledge and proficiency of the profession through continuing research and education;

c)         And to- adhere to the articles of the Code Professional Standards for the Practice of Public Relations as adopted by the governing Assembly of the Society.

(B) Code of Professional Standards

The articles reproduced below have been adopted by the Public Relations Society of America to promote and maintain high standards of public service and ethical conduct among its members:

1.         A member shall deal fairly with clients or employers, past and present, with fellow practitioners and the general public.

2.         A member shall conduct his or her professional life in accord with the public interest.

3.         A member shall adhere to truth and accuracy and to generally accepted standards of good taste.

4.         A member shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the express consent of those involved, given after a full disclosure of the facts; nor place himself or herself in a position where the member’s interest is or may be in conflict with a duty to a client, or others, without a full disclosure of such interests to all involved.

5.         A member shall safeguard the confidence of both present and former clients or employers and shall not accept retainers or employment which may involve the disclosure or use of these confidences to the disadvantage or prejudice of such client or employers.

6.         A member shall not engage in any practice which tends to corrupt the integrity of channels of communication or the processes of government.     <

7.         A member shall not intentionally communicate false or misleading information and is obligated to use care to avoid communication of false or misleading information.

8.         A member shall be prepared to identify publicly the name of the client or employer on whose behalf any public communication is made.

9.         A member shall not make use of any individual or organization purporting to serve or represent an announced cause, or purporting to be independent or unbiased, but actually serving an Undisclosed special or private interest of a member, client or employer.

10.       A member shall not intentionally injure the professional reputation or practice of another practitioner. However, if a member has evidence that another member has been guilty of unethical, illegal or unfair practices, including those in violation of this Code, the member shall present the information promptly to the proper authorities of the Society for action in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article XIII of the Bylaws.

11.       A member called as a witness in a proceeding for the enforcement of this Code shall be bound to appear, unless excused for sufficient reason by the Judicial Panel.

12.       A member in performing services for a client or employer, shall hot accept fees, commissions or any other valuable consideration from any one other than the client or employer in connection with those services without the express consent of the client or employer, given after a full disclosure of the facts.

13.       A member shall not guarantee the achievement of specified results beyond the member’s direct control.

14.       A member shall, as soon as possible, sever relations with any organization or individual if such relationship requires conduct contrary to the articles of this Code.

Need for a Code in Pakistan

Public relations serves a wide variety of institutions, both in the public and the private sector such as business, industry, government agencies, trade unions, voluntary Associations, charitable trusts/foundations, religious/educational institutions, hospitals, etc. For achieving their goals, these institutions need to develop effective relationships with their ‘Publics” or target groups and with the society at large. The PR practitioner serves as a bridge/ mediator helping to translate private aims into reasonable and publicly acceptable policy and The information he supplies about the organization must in all cases carry mention of its source, be strictly objective and be absolutely free of propaganda, commercial publicity or advertising content. The Press Officer carries out the duties defined above as a specialist in relations with the following information media: press, films  radio and television. The duties of a public relations practitioner and of a press officer are incompatible with their practising at the same time as a professional journalist or advertising agent. The only remuneration for public relations or press work shall be the fees of the client or salary of the employee on whose account this work was undertaken. — Translation by Claude chapeau as appearing in Eleven Years of Public Relations, a brochure prepared by Galleries Orleanzises, France, in April 1965.

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Basic Concepts and Tools of Public Relations

Explain in detail the basic concepts and tools of Public Relations.

Basic Concepts and Tools of Public Relations:

Public relations is usually confused with advertising, press agentry, propaganda, publicity, public affair if etc., but these are some of the tools used by the all absorbing discipline of public relations for achieving its objectives. A public relations campaign may include all or some of them but it is not confirmed to any one of the same. Some of the basic concepts and tools of public relations have been discussed in the following paragraphs:

Publics

In Public Relations the term ‘public.’ is used for those people or group of people who are directly or indirectly concerned with the organisation, use its services/products or benefit from jt in one form or another and/or affected by its policies/programmes. In other words it is a group or groups of people who are tied together by some common bond or interest or concern. The publics of an organisation play a key role in its success or failure. PubIics are of two kinds — internal and external, a) h in/mal publics: .

a)                  Internal publics of an organisation are the employees/personnel, management, share-holders distributors etc. A close co-ordination among all the categories of internal publics is the primary duty of the public relations arm of the organisation. For successful and good public relations mutual confidence between the employees and employer is a must. They should be kept informed about the achievements, problems, issues, new projects, etc., which would be greatly helpful in sustaining, rather bolstering up the confidence of the employees. Similarly, it is also the duty of the public relations wing to inform the management about the problems facing the employees. if the public relations arm is not performing this duty it is, doing disservice to the organisation. Likewise, if the share-holders are satisfied, the management will not find any difficulty in raising its equity base (share capital) whenever it wishes to do so.

b)     ExtemalPublics:

This group of publics is usually outside the premises of the organisation but is always of great importance for an organisation. External publics may consist of the following sub-groups:

(i)             Local Population: This group consists of the people, firms and organisations in the surrounding areas. There are of great value to the organisation as they may provide services to it and/or purchase its products or bene fit from its services. Besides, they are the people who are greatly affected by the activities/operations of the organisation in terms of noise, pollution, traffic problems, etc.

(ii)             Poten tialEmployees:Though this group is not on the pay roll of the organisation, but is of imminent importance for the organisation. Public relations department never under-estimates the importahce of this group. It always tries to get their favourable opinion by highlighting the services of the organisation for the community and the state.

iii)                         Suppliers: Every firm or industrial concern needs raw material. The provision of quality and timely inputs means good products. Public relations arm of every industrial concern remains busy in winning the confidence of this group (suppliers) by maintaining mutual understanding between the organisation in question and its suppliers. Timely payment should be made to the suppliers. They should be kept aware about your position to enable them to decide matters, including supply of raw material, on merit.

(iv)            OmsumersTVis group of publics holds a pivotal position for the success or growth of the organisation and normally energies of all other publics are geared towards having a better rapport with it,. They are the ultimate users of the products or service. Public relations wing of an organisation will focus on moulding their favourable opinion towards the organisation. We see the TV and the print media flooded with advertisements describing the qualities and properties of the products, sometimes even offering incentives to the consumers. It pays, indeed, if correct information abput the product or service is provided to the consumers as it can prove very crucial for the image building and getting the confidence of the consumers. In other words, while advertising one should not exaggerate the quality of a product or seek recourse in half-truths.

(v)             Mass Media: Experts regard the mass media to be an important; agent for influencing change in the attitudes, behaviours and opinions of the people. As the media of mass communication happen to be the carriers of public relations messages (advertising, publicity, propaganda, etc.) they constitute an important group of the external publics. Every organisation gives a due weightage to the mass media which can be instrumental in buildingup and/ or tarnishing the image of an organisation.

Public relations is the collective responsibility of each and every individual working for i an organisation. It is wrong to consider the public relationing to be solely “the responsibility of the public relations wing. As the satisfaction of the consumers is one of the main objectives of the business, hence enlightened managements devise policies so that PR is understood by all employees, in particular those holding senior positions.

Press Agentry –

The practice of getting favourable material published, broadcast or telecast by the news media is press agentry. It is done for attracting people’s attention and for educating and informing them as well. According to Cutlip and Centre, press agentry is the creation J of publicity worthy events and the use of brass bands and barkers, if necessary, to attract; attention to some person or something. Peter Biddecome considers a press agent a person engaged to get press coverage and press clippings.

It is one of the oldest and most vital tools of public relations, which was widely practised by the ancient Greeks. The history of public relations is also associated with that of press agentry. Edward Jay Whatmore, author of the book Mediamerica observed that Until the 20th century the term press agentry was being used for public relations as well, The press agents were masters at planting stories in newspapers. This kind of free publicity was much more valuable than paid-for advertising. Amongst the innumerable campaigns launched during the late 19th century the most notable, according to historian Marshall Fishwick, was thejone which resulted in the rise of folk hero Buffalo Bill. Some half a dozen writers helped shape Buffalo Bill into one of the greatest American folk heroes, outdistancing more spectacular men by making mountains out of molehills. most all of the folk heroes from that era were virtually created through press agentry. ‘

Advertising

” Advertising is one of the overt strategies used for influencing public attitudes. ] Experts regard it as one of the tools of public relations which complements a total public 1 relations programme. Through advertising various qualities and characteristics of the product j or service are explained to the publics with a view to creating a soft corner in their mi rid for the product/service and also a good image of the company/organisation. This tool is different ! from other tools of public relationing as it seeks to mould public opinion in an pvert manner. I It uses paid time and space in the media usually to deal directly with the consumers, primarily to promote and sell goods and services, secondarily to promote and sell ideas.

Propaganda

Public relations campaigns also include propaganda to manipulate public opinion

Propaganda is communication — verbal or non-verbal — that attempts to influence the motives, beliefs or attitudes of people. Its function is not essentially to convert, rather it» function is to attract followers and to keep them in line. The task of propaganda is to blanket every area of human activity so that the environment of the individual is changed to absorb the campaign (PR) view. Originally, it meant simply spreading a belief, as the term propaganda was first used for a religious mission preaching Christianity, but its misuse, particularly during the last 80 years, brought it into disrepute. But even today propaganda is an important tool of public relations, Public relations arm of an organisation may use propaganda for: (1) to gain audience, (2) to hold the audience and (3) to influence the audience. On one side, the public relations department is engaged in propaganda activities and on the other it is countering the false claims of the competitors or enemy propaganda.

Publicity

Too often public relations are confused with publicity, in fact it has been identified with it. But publicity is One of the important tools of public relations, Publicity consists of obtaining free space or time for promotional material in the press or on the air, and although this material masquerades as news, its purpose is often hidden.

Publicity is not the whole activity of public relations, According to Shirley Biagi, publicity is strictly a communication function whereas public relations involves a management function as well. Essentially publicity means placing information in a news medium, either in a mass medium such as television or newspapers or in a specialised medium such as corporate, association, trade or industry magazines, newsletters or even brochures. Publicists diseminate information but do not help set the policy.

Computer

Rapid strides in communication technologies have changed the world, as described by Marshall Mcluhan into a global village in the real terms. The most wonderful of these inventions is, perhaps, the computer which coupled with the satellites and cable has proved itself to be a magic device. These innovations in communications have, on the one hand, made public relations activities easier while, on the other, more challenging, making it inevitable for the public relations departments, specially those working for large organisations, to harness the gadgets for sending their messages to various corners of the globe instantly. In the following lines we will discuss some of the computer-based communications innovations which have taken off the ground, at least, in the developed world.

(a) Teletext and Videotex

Both teletext and videotex are electronically generated letters, numbers, symbols and graphics that are read from the TV screen or the home computer monitor. Both systems are computer-based: Copy is entered into a computer at a central location for transmission to the home.

These new technologies, which have been dubbed as “electronic publishing”, function as an electronic newspaper or magazine. Webzines (electronic magazines) are fast emerging • as the magazines of the future.

Teletext: The teletext subscribers can’t request specific information to be sent to one specific home. Teletext is more like the local TV newscast and newspaper. In general, teletext is delivered to the home via a regular TV broadcast signal. The teletext subscriber has a decoder, which is similar to a cable TV converter. This decoder allows teletext subscribers to read the text on the TV screen whenever they wish.

Videotex: Videotex is two-way communication. It’s delivered to the home via a cable TV system or the telephone lines, which allow more items to be transmitted than a TV signal does. In Europe, where this technology originated, delivery of the electronic messages is called view data.

Videotexmessages are delivered to the home, through a decoder on the TV set. They can also be sent directly to home computers. (Media Writing PP 126-128) by Doug Newsom and James A. Wollert). A videotex subscriber can demand the videotex central computer for specific information while a teletext subscriber can’t place an order for personalised information.

(b) E-Mail:

In the form of electronic or E-mail computer is again providing a tremendous service to the mankind. Through this rapid mode of communications distances of months, weeks and days have been reduced into seconds. A person who wishes to sent a message types the text into a computer and then feeds the information to a satellite uplink On the other end, a downlink decodes the message and the letters appear on the computer screen of the addressee. E-mail is proving to be very useful for public relations departments whose personnel are always in touch with various public – trade union, media, stockholders, suppliers, distributors, top management, employees, etc.—for cultivating good relations with them and also for developing a good image Of the organisation. In addition to uses listed above computer is also very useful in grafting, composing and editing press releases, features, articles, brochures, booklets, etc. and also for storing and retrieving of information.

Satellite

Satellite is a space vehicle designed to follow a predetermined route, usually orbiting the earth, for the purpose of collecting and transmitting information. They actually act as radio relay stations, receiving electronic messages from the ground that are transmitted through ‘uplinks’ in earth stations, the Satellite then retransmit them to dishes in other earth stations ‘downlinks’.

The satellites revolve around the earth at the same speed it rotates on its axis, so they are constantly in the same position in relation to the earth stations.

There are various satellites but the one which has brought tremendous revolution in the world of communication is communication satellite. The primary uses of communications satellites have been for long distance, point-to-point, two-way telecommunication links carrying telephone and other traditional telecommunications messages; for providing live transoceanic television transmissions and increasingly for data trafficking between large and costly earth stations linked to telecommunications networks.

Satellite is a useful public relations tool for big multinational firms, and organisations having scattered publics and interests. Some religious organisations also use satellite transmission to influence audiences’ beliefs and attitudes, actions and motives.

Visual News Services

Like other walks of life, new communications technologies have pervaded into each and every activity/operation of public relationing. Public relations departments today make full use of the modern technologies and shape and adapt their communication tools on modern lines. For instance, in the old days the public relations departments used to send their news releases to the media organisations in the printed form only, but today this trend is changing fast. Public relations departments of big firms not only rely on text of news release but also picturise their operations and activities and send their films to the television Stations along with a copy of text: Its aims are: (1) to provide TV station full information, (2) make it easier for TV to relay the news story along with the vistuals to attract audience attention, and (3) enhance credibility and good image of the organisation.

Fax Services

Fax or facsimile has rendered and established itself in a variety of communication services both commercial and noncommercial. For a public relations department it has become an inevitable tool due to its varied applications The fax machine provides-a dependable connection with media organisations and other segments like the management, suppliers, distributors, stockholders who greatly matter for the organisation. It has diminished delays. In a situation where delays of a day or more, as imposed by the postal system, are prohibitive, fax stands ready to get the message through in a matter of minutes or seconds thus enabling the public relations officer to transmit the news release or photo of an event, which may happened even late in the night, just minutes Before the deadline of the last edition.

Courier Services

Not necessarily every group of publics of an organisation has the facility of modern communications. In such a case courier- services prove very helpful for a public relations dopartmenc4n getting important and urgent messages delivered promptly .Though courier services comparatively take more time ith’an fax or E-Mail but even then these services are more prompt and dependable than the ordinary mailing arrangements. Courier services personalise the messages and create a sense of association and kinship which is what the public relations department tries to achieve.

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