Learn to toot your own horn: Public Relations 101

Become a public relations grandmaster with tips from K. V. Aditya is a communications consultant, who has worked with Branding and Public relations consultancies.   


Last weekend, K. V Aditya was here at Annapurna International School of Film + Media for a masterclass in Public Relations.  Suchetana Bauri brings you the tips from K. V. Aditya’s masterclass.

Public Relations can be a daunting subject for first year media grads, full of obscure and baffling techniques and riddled with pitfalls for the unwary. But believe it or not, this engaging post-lunch class actually helped students improve their knowledge.

This masterclass mixed talks, entertaining exercises and even advertising interludes, which helped our aspiring PR professionals to get clarity about their future work.

What is Public Relations?

While the term Public Relations (PR) seems rather simple, the craft of public relations has evolved to cover a myriad of tasks on behalf of governments, enterprises and individuals. At its core, PR is the key to effective communication.

According to Public Relations Society of America, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Adiyta elaborated this definition a little further, when he said, “The purpose of Public Relations is to look after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behavior. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its public.”

Targeting Key Stakeholders

Adiyta said that effective management of relationships with stakeholders is crucial to resolving issues facing organizations. By using their influence, stakeholders hold the key to the environment in which your client operates and the subsequent financial and operating performance of the organization. He identified the stakeholders for a PR firm, which will work for a production house or an upcoming film.

  1. Normative Groups – Film Chamber, Producers Guild, Ministry of Communication

  2. Functional Groups – Existing and Prospective, Input Providers

  3. Customer Groups – Clients / Audiences

  4. Diffused Groups – Media, Lobby Groups (industry bodies)

STP (Segment, target, positioning)

A public relations strategy is based on expected customer behavior in a certain market. In order to know the customer and their expected buying behavior, a process of segmenting and positioning is needed. Segmenting is the process of dividing the market into segments based on customer characteristics and needs and positioning is defined as the way by which the marketers attempt to create a distinct impression in the customer’s mind. PR Professional needs to do ‘multiple positioning’ so that they can cater to different stakeholders.

Difference between advertisements and PR

One of our students asked what’s the difference between advertisements and Public Relations. Aditya explained, “Ads are on the face. So, most consumers ignore ads or are wary of them.  So much for the effectiveness of advertising! While PR is a more subtle, disciplined approach with the aim of influencing public opinion and behavior.”

Techniques of Public Relations

Then he went on to list the different Public Relations Components — Press Releases, Edit meets, Propaganda, Campaigns, Lobbying (advocacy). There are different methods and techniques when it comes to public relations. This includes press releases, speaking, writing, blogging and more. Here are few ideas that will help you incorporate public relations to fulfill your marketing objectives.

  • news

  • speeches

  • special events

  • written materials

  • audiovisual materials

  • corporate identity materials

  • public service activities

  • buzz marketing

  • social networking

  • mobile tour marketing

  • internet.

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