Managing Your Corporate Image: Public relations firms are concerned with the image of your company and/or industry and can help you present the best face possible.

Author:Parmelee, Catherine

To reach its organizational goals, effective communication and quality public relations are paramount to success for today's management. It's not enough to just talk to your targeted market. Stockholders, special interest groups, the media, employees, communities, government agencies, banks, legislators, creditors and others also have concerns and interests in your business activities. Successful management in this day and age relies on public relations counseling and techniques to help reach this diverse audience.

"You can't expect your message to get there by osmosis," said Vivian Hamilton, Accredited Public Relations (APR) of Hamilton Public Relations, Eagle River.

Delivering your message takes more than advertising savvy. Advertising typically develops a message, usually highlighting your products or services, which is delivered via various media outlets. Public relations, on the other hand, is concerned with the image of your company and/or industry. Consider, for example, the actions of General Motors following the tragic events of Sept. 11. To ensure we didn't lose the industry, GM offered zero percent financing (with other automobile manufacturers quickly jumping onboard). That, according to Bruce Pozzi, APR, of Bruce Pozzi Public Relations in Anchorage, was a public relations move. The offer was then conveyed through advertising means.

"Public relations is winning favorable attitudes and good will for your firm," Pozzi said. "Firms need quality public relations and communication advice to help them project what they are doing and what they want to do-and to project that in a good light."

The manifold tools of quality communication require experience, specific skills, sound judgment and concerned impartiality, and the PR management fit for you will be properly equipped to meet your organization's needs. A few of the ways they can help you include increasing your visibility, supporting a marketing effort, maximizing communications with your diverse audiences, and supplying counsel in crisis.

"Management needs that counsel to help them tell the truth," Pozzi said, "and to help get their side of the story told."

For example, consider the situation last fall wherein someone shot a hole into the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Pozzi pointed out that Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. wanted the public to see it wasn't trying to hide anything. "They were not denying the problem," he said, "but they presented the side of what they were doing about it and the possibility of future risks."


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