Every organisation, no matter how large or small, depends on its reputation for survival and success.
Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can have a powerful impact. They all have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with - whether good or bad, right or wrong. Their perceptions drive decisions about whether they want to support those organisations.
In today's competitive market, reputation can be a company's biggest asset, making it stand out from the crowd. Effective PR helps manage reputation by building good relationships with an organisation's stakeholders.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations definition of public relations:
Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public relations is the discipline that looks after an organisation's reputation. Its aim is to win understanding and support, and influence opinion and behaviour. It establishes and maintains goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.
We use the following terms in our definition of PR:
- Organisation is any large or small institution. It may be a government body, business, profession or public service.
- Publics are audiences that are important to the organisation. They include existing and potential customers, employees and management, investors, media, government, suppliers, opinion-formers.
- Understanding is a two-way process. To be effective, an organisation needs to listen to its customers and not just provide information. Issuing a barrage of propaganda is not enough in today's open society.