Public relations is an absolutely integral part of any businesses recipe for success, in fact, a well thought out and properly embraced public relations plan can be the single most important part of a company's marketing – and away from a good product and hard working employees, the most important part of running a business. Public relations will determine exactly how your company is viewed or perceived in the public eye.
Current and potential customers like to be ensured that they are, or will be patronizing a company that cares. A public relations department can organize a plan of attack to let the consumer know that your company cares about people and the environment, and about any other burgeoning social issues. A good PR department will also make the public aware that your company has a new product on the horizon and why they have to be first in line to purchase it, or that your company is branching out to offer new services and how that will make you stronger and more capable of handling their needs as consumers.
Yet another great facet and important role of a public relations department is damage control. If something, anything goes wrong and the public is made aware that the problem is erose from one of your company's employee actions or due to a particular policy – a good PR department will be the first one on the scene to correct it. Writing releases for apology or correction of error, along with releases stating the fact that new employees and procedures are in place to prevent any future problems can often save a company reputation in the public eye.
Inside or Out?
Many companies have their very own relations departments, made up of what could be any number of employees who are liable for a wide variety of duties including: producing eye catching press kits, writing poignant press releases, organizing charitable events and contributions and some general damage control.
This is usually the best option for large companies with big budgets in place for advertising and payroll. A good full time PR department is great if ever there are cases of an emergency that needs to be deal with immediately.
Companies that do not have their own public relations department, but that realize just how important the proper approach to and implementation of public relations can be, will often enlist the help of a third party public relations firm to take care of that end of the business for them.
This second option can work quite well for a company that does not want to keep several full time employees on staff (having to take care of employee salaries, vacation and health benefits), when they can temporarily hire a service to do the job for them. Many reputable and successful public relations firms can bring quite a cost for the service that they provide, but often the results that are yielded from a good public relations campaign can certainly outweigh the cost of enlisting a firm to provide the work.
A third option is for a company to employ regular employees to handle the basic issues of a public relations department – to generate the thoughts and ideas behind the advertisements and new product pushes, but then hire freelance professional to take care of the artistic side of things (the graphics, design and writing).
Regardless of whether a company employs their own full time public relations department, enlists a third party to do the work or uses a combination of in house people and freelancers to get the job done – public relations is an anonymous part of whether or not a company will succeed.