Definition: The Public Relations or PR is a practice of maintaining and shaping the image of an individual or an organization to the public in such a way that a favorable point of view is developed for the concerned entity.
In other words, an activity designed to help an organization and its public, such as customers, employees, government, suppliers, etc. who are directly or indirectly associated with the firm, adapt mutually to each other.
The significance of public relations can be traced in marketing. It helps the marketing management to influence the non-customer groups. By doing so, the companies keep this group of customers updated about the new products and formulation the company has introduced into a market through public relations with a hope that some day they will use its product.
The PR also helps in maintaining the cordial relations with the dealers and sales people who are the intermediaries between the organization and the ultimate consumer. Dealer conferences, gifts, in-house publications, display contents, etc. are some of the PR activities performed to gain the dealer support and cooperation. Similar kind of PR activities is carried out for the sales force to win their confidence in the organization.
One of the ultimate purposes of public relations is to influence the purchase decision of the direct consumers and therefore, promotional activities like community relations, media blitz, event management, corporate identity activities and programmes, etc. are carried out to shape the image of the organization.
The PR helps in maintaining relations not only outside the organization but also within the firm, i.e. between the employees and the organization. The employees are the people who work for the organization and sell goods and services on its behalf. So, it is essential for every firm to maintain healthy relationships with its employees through a continuous motivation and employee development programmes. Such as, training on product knowledge, selling, customer knowledge, product handling, etc. that helps in the further grooming of the employee.