There are many misconceptions about what Public Relations really is. Many people who do not a good grasp of public relations see it as a propaganda. That is the manipulation of people’s minds by charlatans to make them believe things that are not real. People with this type of image of public relations, see the profession as distasteful and its practitioners, evil. Another group have a wrong impression about public relations as they see it as mere publicity-that is getting information into newspapers and magazines, or on radio, television or social media.
Some it as a means of gaining free media coverage by hosting journalists and giving them free meals and other gifts. Or, PR as events management such as birthday, naming, wedding parties, funeral ceremonies, product launch, product promotion etc. In addition to the above, another erroneous belief about public relations is that some see it as press agency-that is unusual news stunts which the media cannot afford not to publish. To a great number of people, PR is lobby- that is a deliberate and sustained contacts with government agencies in order to gain favourable policies and laws or nip in the bud the unfavourable ones.
Yet, another group of people see public relations as a tall, handsome young man or beautiful young lady, neatly dressed and well spoken with a brief case, representing their company. Others regard public relations as a profession where the practitioners are orators and persuasive personalities; people with sugar coated tongues who can impress their listeners tremendously and win them to their side of argument. Some see public relations as media hype or publicity given to important person (s). To some persons, PR is all about preparing and presenting hampers to customers during Christmas. To others, it is simply interfacing with a company’s publics!
However, with these plethora of what public relations is not, we cannot deny the fact that there is an iota of truth about PR in all these misconceptions. It is true that PR influences people, it uses publicity, press agency and lobbying to sway government policies and laws to their favour while some PR practitioners are indeed personable and amiable with many friends around them.
Look out for what public relations is on my next post on this series of public relations as a profession.