Peace Love & Sillyness

PR Departments and Firms

Posted on: 03/30/2009

Chapter 4 notes from Public Relations Strategies and Tactics for my Intro to PR class

Importance of organizational structure:
Having influence in the company based on 4 factors..
1. perception of value by top management
2. practitioners taking on the managerial role
3. reporting to the CEO
4. years of professional experience

Names of Departments:
a PR department goes by many names, most often it isn’t “public relations”. Terms like “corporate communications” or “communications” outnumber “public relations”. Other names used to PR departments include: corporate relations, marketing and corporate affairs, investor relations, public affairs, marketing communications, community relations, & external affairs.

Public Relations firms provide a variety of services, such as:
– Marketing communications (involves promotion of products and services through such tools as news releases, feature stories, special events, brochures, etc.)
– Executive speech training (top executives are coached on public affairs activities)
– Research & evaluation (scientific surveys are conducted to measure public attitudes and perceptions)
– Crisis Communication (management is counseled on what to say and do in an emergency such as an oil spill or a recall of an unsafe product)
– Media analysis (appropriate are examined for targeting specific messages to key audiences)
– Community relations (management is counseled on ways to achieve official and public support for such projects as building or expanding a factory)
– Events management (news conferences, anniversary celebrations, rallies, symposiums, and national conferences are planned and conducted)
– Public affairs (materials and testimony are prepared for government hearing and regulatory bodies, and background briefings are prepared)
– Branding and corporate reputation (advice is given on programs that establish a company brand and its reputation for quality)
– Financial relations (management is counseled on ways to avoid takeover by another firm and effectively communicate with stockholders, security analysts, and institutional investors)

Advantages of PR firms:
– objectivity
– a variety of skills and expertise
– extensive resources
– international jobs
– offices throughout the country
– special problem-solving skills
– credibility

Disadvantages of PR firms:
– superficial grasp of a client’s unique problems
– lack of full-time commitment
– need for prolonged briefing period
– resentment by internal staff
– need for strong direction by top management
– need for full information and confidence
– costs

Fees & Charges:
The 3 most common methods a pr firm charges:
1. Basic hourly fee, plus out-of-pocket expenses. (Commonly used by attorneys, accounting firms, and management consultants)
2. Retainer fee. (Basic monthly charge billed to the client….the # of hours the firm will spend on an account each month. out-of-pocket expenses are billed separately)
3. Fixed project fee. (PR firms will agree to a specific project like an annual report, newsletter, or special event for a fixed fee. Least popular among PR firms because it is difficult to predict all work & expenses in advance)


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