My daughter, Michelle, is taking a university class in public relations and as part of the class she was asked to interview 3 people about their perceptions of this field.
So she posed some questions to me and here is how the interview went:
1. In your own opinion, what is public relations? Why do you think of public relations this way?
Public relations is simple, it's about relations with the public--communicating and connecting with people about what you do, why you do it, how you do it, for whom you do it, when you do it, and where you do it. It is includes marketing and sales, customer relations, investor relations, government relations, relations with partners, as well as crisis communications, and maybe even recruiting talent to the organization.
2. What do you think of when you think of public relations? Why do you think of this/these?
When I think of public relations, I tend to think of many of the big, well-known brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Allstate, and so on--they do a lot of advertising and communicating with the public. They invest in this and it has a pay-off in terms of organization, product, and brand recognition.
3. What do you think the skills are that are needed to work in public relations?
Creativity, visual thinking, messaging, branding, marketing, sales, and psychology.
4. Would you distinguish public relations from marketing? If so, how?
Public relations, to me, is broader than marketing. Marketing has to do with getting product awareness out there and selling, but public relations involves not only connecting with customers, but also investors, suppliers, partners, even the government, and international players.
5. Can you give examples of what you think public relations is today?
Public relations is how an organization interfaces and communicates with all its stakeholders. It is mainly external or outward facing and differs from internal communications which is inward facing, like talking with employees. Public relations uses advertising, media, commercials, messaging, branding, logos, newsletters, mailings, to get the word out from the organization's perspective--good news and also countering bad news.
So how did this "IT guy" do with answering questions about public relations?
Not my field, but maybe the MBA and private-sector experience helped, a little. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)