The Essence of Public Relations in Organisational Stakeholder Relationship Management
Public Relations transcend all realms of existence. Knowingly or not, human beings engage in public relations at many levels of interaction, displaying affirmative behaviors, so that they remain attractive to others. It is so intrinsically crafted that it comes out so naturally.
Equally, organisations engage in public relations as a strategy to sustain vibrant engagement with their public, in order to remain ahead of competition, in an ever demanding public environment. Drawing from the ‘20% that makes 80% business’ rule, public relations remains the ultimate of the 20% that organisations should not do without. Every business needs a public base (customer/client/stakeholder) for its product or service loyalty niche. These public, ultimately, makes or breaks the successful existence of an organisation or business.
Public relations help organisations create the brand loyalty that organisations and businesses yearn for in their services and products delivery. As such, public relations is an essential management function that must not be confined or relegated to a category of lesser importance in organisational hierarchy of functions. When well executed, organisations and businesses are assured of a continuous and favorable public and customer base for business continuity. "If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations," is a very familiar quote attributed to Bill Gates. As important as public relations is to an organisations’ business success, managers must take some time to ask themselves where public relations function is placed in their organisation's setup.
Any relationship thrives on mutual respect and trust, as such; organisations that often interact with stakeholders increase their chances of building an impression that influences a healthy working relationship and mutual trust, between stakeholders and the organisation, eventually affecting the organisation's public alignment with its products and services.
Modern organisational or businesses environments recognise the significance of public relations and place it relevant in the management hierarchy. Organisations ought to be pro-active in the way public relations are handled. This must be done in the best interest of building and maintaining a good working and trusting relationship with its public. Where an organisation does not have an effective public relations strategy, to interface with its stakeholders; misinformation, public discontent, and eventual mistrust reigns. When public relations changes form to become a smoke-screen, rather than an informative and relationship building process, the essence and value of what is supposed to be public relations becomes eroded. It becomes deceitful, reducing public relations to a practice pejoratively referred to as spin-doctoring, where facts and details are twisted to only suit and advance the organisations’ interest, at the expense of its public’s emotions.
Modern organisational set up cannot ignore public relations. In essence, public relations must be placed at the heart of strategic planning that any organisation management envisages. When effectively discharged, public relations assists organisations build lasting stakeholder relationship, effectively manage its corporate image, and ride on the investment it has made on its public when organisational crises occur.