The job of public relations professionals is to create and maintain a favorable image for their client.
Image is the way you are regarded, what people think of an organization or a person.
Image is very important. A poor image is bad for business. If customers have a poor perception of a business, they will be reluctant to buy its products, no matter how good or affordable they are.
Another way of expressing the same idea is to say that public relations is the discipline that looks after reputation. The aim of public relations is to build and enhance the reputation of an organization.
Reputation is people’s perception of a company, what they think of it, its image in their minds.
Reputation plays an important part in our lives. It’s on the basis of their good reputation that we choose our dentist or our mechanic, the stores we visit, the friends we keep.
Every organization ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success. Successful businesses are built on good reputation. If a company has a good reputation, people are more likely to:
- Try its products or services.
- Believe its advertising.
- Want to work for it.
- Do business with it.
- Buy its shares.
- Support it in difficult times.
A Truthful Image
A poor image is often due to misunderstanding or lack of information. The job of public relations is to correct possible misconceptions and provide information. Thus, PR seeks to influence the way others perceive your organization.
Creating a positive image cannot be done, however, with false claims or exaggeration. This produces an image without substance. People will soon discover the fraud; they will feel cheated; and you will lose your credibility for good.
To give a false image is an abuse of PR. All claims must be based on fact. Image and reality must coincide. The first responsibility of public relations is to persuade the client that reality must match the desired image. Public relations helps people see the good things about an organization, which is possible only when the organization is actually doing good things.