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