Public relations or PR is a vast and complex discipline with a value of about $15 billion. As the key link between you and everybody else in your business, it has to be maintained at all times with utmost priority and diligence.
There are many types of public relations that you’ll need to manage on a daily basis if you want to build a solid reputation in the market and keep it intact. And which has now become all the more important given the rise in collective learning and awareness in this age of information.
Apparently, the more people learn, the more they want to know. Having said that, information can have a large impact on people or masses as we see all around us. And this begs the question as to what concrete steps you should take to control or minimize its effects so as to get the most out of today’s well-informed market.
Before we get into that, let’s quickly take a tour of what public relations really are.
What are Public Relations?
According to the dictionary, public relations simply refers to “a professional maintenance of your public image, one which is in your favor.’’
In laymen’s terms, it’s all about knowing what people want and how to deal with your consumers and everybody else connected to your business or line of work for a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship.
Be it your partners, advisors, investors, consumers, employees, government officials, competitors, or whomsoever concerned with your business, the goal of public relations is but one- to protect your company’s image and overall brand reputation at large and at once.
Moving on, depending upon the different groups of people you’re dealing with and their specific interests, the functions of your PR department may also vary. To grasp that better, let’s turn our attention to different types of PR that you need to focus on.
Types of Public Relations:
1. Media relations:
As the name suggests, it is all about getting the right approach in the press and the media so as to get your message across in a favorable and approvable manner.
The only catch is that media in the modern day is not what it used to be.
All hail digitalization, it’s gotten even more channels of mass communication than ever before. From pen and paper to all kinds of instant and digital media, enough to keep journalists on the edge of their seats, day in and day out throughout their shifts.
And this is why it’s crucial to not skip/miss out on any of the communication channels if you truly want the press coverage you seek and the impression you need.
2. Community/ Govt relations, or CSR:
While media gives you the means to communicate with the masses, a community is where the masses live. By contributing to the betterment of the society and the environment you live in as a whole, you can strengthen your community relations as well.
Better known as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it’s where you realize and commit yourself to nurture the world around us. Be it through charity, fund-raising, social affairs, or any other welfare-oriented activities.
The point is- to keep your goals aligned with the local community and stay away from government scrutiny, false claims, and bad rumors.
3. Investor relations:
Just like authorities keep an eye on your business practices, shareholders do too, especially in your financial affairs, primarily because they have invested in you, and secondly, they don’t want to take a hit if things go south.
This is where proper communication with your business partners and investors comes into the picture. Something you can easily accomplish by sharing your financial report with them on a time-to-time basis.
Being transparent with your financiers will also help you gain trust and build strong connections within the financial community, which plays an immense role in times of a financial crisis.
4. Crisis communications:
Speaking of a crisis, another critical area of public relations is to deal with any kind of disasters, mishaps, or controversies that can occur during a business operation and perform necessary damage control.
This includes disclosing the nature of the crisis or the information to the concerned individuals, its impact, and a possible plan of its control.
Again, communicating the true gravity of the situation to the affected people and those who are involved in managing it is extremely important.
5. Public Affairs:
Sometimes referred to as lobbying, it is how you shape the opinion of government, politicians, decision-makers, think tanks, and other key associations so as to influence local laws and policies in your favor.
Not by bribing per se, but by using legit proofs and data that aligns the public with your company’s goals and vision.
There are many ways to achieve that, be it in person, during meetings, public briefings, or press conferences, or by offering your support to the government for upcoming projects and undertakings.
6. Online communications and Social Media:
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube are some of the easiest and the fastest ways of reaching your audience, with 9 out every 10 PR agencies making their way online.
Apart from giving your consumers a round the clock support, it also boosts your online presence at zero cost.
But that’s not all, the more active you are online, the more opportunities you’ll have of showing that you care. A perfect way of strengthening your relationship with online viewers.
Plus, if you want to target a rather larger audience, you’ll always have the option of having online influencers vouch for your word.
Managing your online reviews is also an effective way of preserving your reputation.
7. Internal/ Employee communications:
One of the areas of public relations that are often overlooked, especially by small-scale businesses, is the level of interaction between the management and the workforce.
FYI, your employees are the biggest promoters of your brand on a day-to-day basis, and it’s only just to give them the respect they deserve.
Although most companies have dedicated teams to take care of human resources, a daily briefing and regular communication will do the job just fine.
Introducing special programs and personal growth of your employees is a great way to keep them motivated in order to get the productivity you seek.
8. Strategic communications:
Strategic comms is all about releasing the information in a planned manner so as to meet your business objectives rather than distributing it here and there.
After all, it is what sits at the crossroad between marketing and public relations.
No wonder why it’s the No. 1 skill in the entire PR market.
As evidently clear, PR has many different types but all aimed at one thing i.e., to get you the right publicity in all your business endeavors.
As powerful of a technique as it is, in no way is it something that you should bring out only at the time of emergencies and press releases. But something that has to be practiced at all times when running a business.
When planning to go with a PR firm, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. For example, the company should have a great reputation, be budget-friendly, and must belong to your business niche with a right amount of experience, and expertise.
At the same time, it should have a sound relationship with the press and online media, and be well-versed with latest tools and technologies to instantly convey your word out globally.
Although most companies with these qualities would make an effective PR team at any given day, some have gone even further to leave an impeccable mark on the PR sector.
Be it their creative approach, superior skills, or the zeal to succeed, the fact is, company like these have made a large impact in making public relations a $100 billion industry that it is today.
Without further ado, let’s see what they are:
1. Gem Comm:
Hailing from Singapore, and serving in Asia, America, and the Pacific region, Gem Comm is a communication consulting firm that offers high-end solutions to businesses of all kinds.
What makes Gem Comm quite unique is their practical approach and intricate knowledge of the field which is of utmost importance if you want to make a powerful impact on the market.
With an expert team of individuals from all around the globe, Gem Comm makes it easy to come up with innovative PR strategies to get you the publicity you need.
Some of their most admired areas include:
- Public Relations
- Investor Relations
- Media Relations
- Corporate and Financial Communications
- Crisis Management
- Market research and branding
- Content creation
As you can see, Gem Comm covers almost everything there is to give you a positive brand image and long-lasting relationships with the public and the media.
Talking about the best PR agencies in the world and not naming Edelman, would be a crime.
Founded by Dan Edelman back in 1952, it’s the largest global communications firm with several accolades and honors to its name.
Based primarily in Chicago, IL with their secondary headquarters in New York, Edelman is well on its way to becoming the first $1 billion PR firm, and for all the good reasons.
In the last 70 years, Edelman has been able to bag some of the biggest projects from some of the biggest clients like Starbucks, Microsoft, Samsung, and Asics.
With over 60 offices worldwide, Edelman is well-known in all major sectors due to their extensive knowledge of fields ranging from branding and marketing to public relations and communications, research and analysis to business development and social governance.
3. Berkeley PR Communications:
Another one of a kind PR agency that you could think of is Berkley Communications. Known for its amazing storytelling, the power and impact of its content is such, that it’s the only company in Europe to have its very own training organization called Berkeley Storytelling Academy.
Apart from its branches in Europe, Asia, and America, the company has gone far to expand its global reach by partnering with many small and medium sized businesses. Mainly from the UK, US, Germany, France, Singapore, and Netherlands, so as to give you a wider range of global audience base.
Formed back in 2018 by merging Burson-Marsteller and Cohn Wolfe, BCW, or Burson Cohn Wolfe is a well-established network of PR firms from over 130 countries.
With plenty of resources by its side, it has a global coverage, tons of creative minds, variety of ideas, and a cultural mix.
Known for its superb marketing solutions, public relations, brand reputation, and communications work, BCW is the perfect choice if you want to hire someone unique.
The 3rd largest PR firm in the world, is also a part of the world’s largest communication company aka the WPP plc group. Need I say more?
5. 5W Public Relations:
Next in line in our top ten global PR agencies is none other than 5W, which as the name suggests, was formed on the basis of the very 5 basic principles of mass communication.
As a full-time PR firm, it provides partnerships to both new and old foundations and helps them achieve their public relations goals.
Founded in 2003 and based in New York, 5WPR is an independent firm that specializes in a number of disciplines including B2C, B2B, online media, public, as well as government affairs.
6. Communications Strategy Group (CSG):
Based in Denver, Colorado, CSG is strategic communication and marketing agency made up of industry experts, marketeers, content creators, designers and developers from over 45 different sectors. Namely aerospace, finance, education, technology, health & fitness, energy sector, and so on.
With tons of working experience with Fortune 500 companies, it’s your best choice if you want your business challenges to be sorted out through better communication.
Some of its biggest clients include NASA, Agile, Crayola, Wendy’s, BOOM, and Logitech to name just a few.
Founded in 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri, FleishmanHillard is now a part of the Omnicom Group which is a global media, marketing, and communications company.
As the 4th largest PR agency in the world, FleishmanHillard has a wide reach of audience from all around the globe. And ample of experience in various sectors ranging from food, health, finance to energy and technology, as well as deep insights of both public and government sectors to give you the results you need.
8. Weber Shandwick:
Much like BCW, Weber Shandwick is a product of a mergence between Weber Group, Shandwick International, and BSMG that took place back in 2001.
Being the 2nd leading PR firm globally, Weber Shandwick is present in 6 continents with offices in all major media, public, and government houses around the world.
Whether you’re looking for a secured local coverage or a wider global reach, Weber Shandwick can get you the lead and the brand reputation you seek.
With experience in almost all the major sectors, it’s a one-stop shop for all your business and PR needs.
9. MSL Group:
Headquartered in France, The MSL group is an award-winning and one of the leading PR agencies in the world which needs no introduction.
What makes MSL different though, is the fact that instead of having one CEO globally, they have multiple CEOs, one for every country they serve. And given the number of countries (40) they operate from, it’s quite a unique approach to have that many CEOs.
Yet, what works for them, works for their clients too.
And which shows if you consider that they are 7th largest PR firm in the world. Thanks to their strong hold of the market, effective strategies, unique storytelling, and creative ideas.
10. Hill+Knowlton Strategies:
Standing at number 10, is the world’s 10th largest PR company- Hill+Knowlton Strategies which was founded way back in 1927 by none other than the pioneer of public relations in America, John W. Hill.
Based in New York, and serving over 40 countries with double the offices, H+K puts special focus on purpose and performance. Their trademark approach, better known as 3P Communications, revolves around purpose + performance = preference.
What this means is that if you have a clear purpose, it’s easy to come-up with performance strategies that are most likely to work.
And on that note, let’s end this post by concluding that to get the most out of hiring a PR firm, you should have a prior understanding of your goals and PR objectives.