Organizations need to have a clear channel of communication that can guarantee a good public image, meaning that the administration should embrace and foster the idea of public relations (PR). The PR constitutes the process of strategically communicating to the organizations publics, enabling it to build a mutual benefit to the controllable and uncontrollable variables. Because of fostering public relations on an organization, there comes a need to observe the principle of excellence because this acts as a mirror of the organization to the potential and prospective customers. The public relations department has a crucial role to play in an organization's success because it acts as an intermediary between the organization and its publics.
The principle of excellence (the excellence theory in PR) helps an organization to achieve its objectives through various ways including:
Defining and implementing how an organization should come up with an effective public relations department and enable it to become more efficient.
How organizations should be managed and the image portrayed to its publics that can contribute to its success
Defining the specific conditions that can make an organization acclimatize with the demanding environmental variables
This means that for the idea of public relations to have a significant impact on an organizations performance, it is necessary for the management to understand what it can offer. Additionally, the management must foster quality and effectiveness relating to the public in all ways such as marketing; product quality and excellent packaging (like customized packaging). However, as a PR specialist, it is necessary to ensure that the marketing department advertises and informs the public of the actual quality of the products, as this is part of the principle of excellence theory in PR.
A comparison of two organizations based on the idea of the principle of distinction can be used to show how useful is the excellence theory in public relations is, and the importance of its implementation. Academicians can come up with an assumption that an organizations product (like cow milk) is poisonous to children and as a PR specialist in the marketing department, one should come up with policies and strategies that can justify that the allegations are false. Taking an example of two companies that have been involved this kind of a situation can be used to explain the importance of excellence in PR. For the first organization, Y, it can be assumed that after the report that cow milk is poisonous to children, it did not take the necessary steps to inform the public that the report is not true. On the other hand, another organization, X, used the principle of excellence in PR by explaining to the public of the importance of cow milk to young children and how nutritious it is and not poisonous. This can effectively be done by incorporating the advice of qualified medical practitioners and nutritionists. The main reason as to why organization X has ensured that it has communicated with the public is to ease tension amongst its customers and the likely ones that cow milk is nutritious for children and not poisonous. As a result, its sales base will eventually rise, ensuring the sustainability of the venture. However, if such communication has not been made as is the case of organization Y, sales base will decrease as the customers will have to become worried about the health of their children in the consumption of cow milk.
From the above illustration, the principle of excellence in PR works efficiently mainly to protect the interests of the customers and that of the organization. This means that the organization has a role to play in ensuring the effectiveness of the theory of excellence in public relations as a strategy for ensuring the sustainability of the specific venture (business). The principle of excellence in public relations does not only apply in situations that that require clarification to the public, but also in every other situation. For instance, at the end of every financial period, the management should be accountable by publishing the financial reports outlining their performance, and what they plan to do for the community. Organizations need to give back to the community as part of the corporate social responsibility as this fosters their public relations.
Public relation is a continuous process that can be improved in various ways, but this depends on the willingness of the management to commit resources to this significant managerial practice. Some of the things that an organization can do to improve its PR process include the following
Making a public relations department and appointing a strategic manager as the head. The strategy will enable the PR department to be considered as significant during policymaking and not just a department responsible for press release purposes.
Having a two-way communication within the organization. This type of communication enables the PR department to use research, dialogue and listening as the best strategy for managing conflicts that can arise from internal or external variables. This is because they both deserve to be heard, and their grievances are taken into consideration, as they are significant to the organizations success.
The element of diversity should be incorporated in PR. The PR department should have an inclusive policy to ensure that all stakeholders, irrespective of their sex, culture, or race, have been considered before making a communication decision.
Public relations department should be empowered. The department should be considered as important as other departments and not just a section of the organization that offers support services. For the policy of using public relations in an organization to be effective, it should be considered as a dominant department because it unites different sections.
The RACE process, also referred to as the PR process constitutes four steps developed by John Marston and involves finding the problem that needs to be solved. This process offers the best strategy to be used in solving a problem, meaning that every problem has a procedure to be used in determining its possible solutions. If such process is not used, the PR department may not be efficient because of the possibility of coming up with a short-term solution and thus a chance of recurrence. However, once all these four RACE process steps have been taken into consideration, the possibility of coming up with a sustainable solution is guaranteed. These measures include the following:
Research- this is the initial phase that is used to define the problem that should be solved by the PR department. At this stage, the effects of the problem towards the organizations goals are determined.
Action- this phase is used to determine the possible solution to the problem that has been identified.
Communication- this is one of the most significant factors that are used to determine how the public perceives an organization. The PR department should devise an appropriate strategy of informing the public about the organization's awareness of the problem and the strategies in place to solve it. If such strategies turn to be effective, there will be a positive impact on the organization as its reputation will be maintained or restored.
Evaluation- this is the final stage and is used to measure the effectiveness of the initial three steps. After the process has been considered a success, the PR department can then plan on how to solve another problem.
Implementing the RACE process in an organization is one of the most significant steps that can guarantee the effectiveness of the PR as a strategic department, meant to maintain or restore the reputation of an organization. For instance, good communication is a major component in the success of an organization (more so while in a crisis). An iterative approach to an organizations communication will make it possible for the marketing department to understand the customer expectations and complaints and carry out the necessary amends that will eventually facilitate the achievement of targeted results. Excellent communication and PR skills can enable an organization to foresee potential future problems and look for alternative strategies for avoiding them. However, all these strategies can only become a success in an organization if the management implements the idea of empowering the PR department and giving it the freedom to be involved in finding solutions to organizational problems. This means that there should be a good communication network in the organization and communications planning, and the readiness to incorporate the latest technology in the problem-solving process.
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