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PROJECT REPORT ON PUBLIC RELATIONS

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Design of study

 

  In today’s modern and fast world Insurance is gaining a lot of importance. This obviously means that the Insurance organizations are also prospering, yet they practice PR. So to know what are the activities they perform I have taken the topic of PR.

 

Objectives behind the project:-

 

1)      To get an insight through the concept of PR.

2)      To know what are the activities performed by LIC.

3)      To see whether what is being described in the theory of PR whether it is exact or not

 

Limitations of the project:-

The project includes only those theory aspects which are very essential for understanding the art of PR very well.

Also it includes the PR campaign of only one company because in the field if Insurance LIC is the one who has a very good PR campaign.

HISTORY OF PUBLIC RELATION:-

 

Public Relations as a term was first formally used by ‘Thomas Jefferson’ in the year 1807 ,while drafting his seventh address to the congress delegates when he scratched out the words “State Of Thought” and wrote “Public Relations” instead. Informally Sir Walter Raleigh used it even earlier during the Land Rehabiliation Movement , while persuading people from different parts of America to settle in the rural parts of Virginia. This was the first organized effort to win and mobilize public opinion. In India , the term of course gained importance later through the Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) in 1958.

 

Meaning And Introduction:

Public Relations, commonly called as PR is an activity aimed at increasing common & understanding between an organization or individual & one or more groups called Publics”.

 

What Is Public?

Public is a group of similar ideas, an assortment of persons having the same interests, problems, circumstances & goals.  They vary in their forms & sizes they have a multitude of wants & desires.  Each group has its own likes & dislikes.  Group can be classified as:- Employees form a group/public, employers form another group, etc.  Other members of the public can be dealers, wholesalers, investors, etc.  Each of these group is a public & everyone tries to attract a district audience with its varied tools & techniques.  A public may also be made up of a no. of individual’s who are unorganized & hard to identify but who for widely varied reasons have a common interest in the matter at issue. 

 

            Today, however, when modern means of common make vast number of people aware of controversial issues & common interests, publics tend to be large & impersonal.  These publics involve people who are not known to each other & are widely distributed over the country, or even among a number of countries.  The members of such public rarely meet each other face to face or have much direct communication.  The impersonal but powerful publics are numerous in today’s high complex  society.

            But finally the public is any group of people who share common interest. 

 

Relations:-

It is the outcome of mutual understanding derived from the process of sharing of common interest where as relationship is the definite type of relation or interaction taking place between two individuals, group or departments. To understand any relationship, therefore it is necessary that one understands the wants of those involved.

 

The term PR is also applied to the profession responsible for handling such assignments.  Corporations, govt. agencies, politicians & entertainers are among these who use public relations.  Their publics vary from employees & shareholders to an entire community or members of the news media.  The communication between an organization & its public ranges  a simple news release to a sophisticated campaign featuring films, ad’s speeches & television appearances. Such communication is aimed at gaining the goodwill of the public.  The basis of any effective PR campaign is public benefit.  If an organization does not serve the needs of public, the public will not support it. PR experts help an organization learn what the public wants & then establish policies that reflect concern for public’s interests.

 

PR generally is practiced through:-

 

  1. Corporate PR dept:- In a corporate department, specialists handle corporate PR activities for only that company.
  2. PR Agencies:- In agencies specialists carry out PR activities for several companies
  3. Public Information Departments:- Non-profit organizations like colleges and Government agencies have public information departments that work to strengthen the image of the organization.

 

Definitions of PR by some renowned people:

 

Frank Jefkins: Public Relations means what it says- relations with the public.  It is practically a self-defining term.  It aims to create and maintain confidence.  It is a system of communication to create goodwill. It produces that intangible quality or asset-goodwill, and earns credit for achievements.

 

K.R.Balan: ‘The discipline which brings out the rewards in generating “mutual understanding” and the risks involved in misunderstanding between individuals, groups, governments and nations in this restless world the shape and content of which tend to be rapidly changing.’

 

Editor of PR news: PR is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies & procedures, of an orgnisation or an individual with pubic interests & plans & executes a program or action to earn public understanding and acceptance.

 

Interpretation of the above definition-
  1. It measures, evaluates & interprets the attitude of various related public.
  2. It assists management in defining objectives for increasing public understanding & acceptance of orgnisations products, plans, policies & personnel
  3. It equates these objectives with the interests, needs & goals of various related public.
It develops, executes & evaluates a program to earn public understanding & acceptance

Elements of Public Relations:

 

  1. Human relations:

 It is getting along well with the word public both internally or externally.  No person can work independently & everyone who works in an organization directly or indirectly depends on one another.

 

  1. Empathy:

Empathy means feeling with the other person to analyse others point of view & is regarded as primary pre-requisite for a satisfying experience in a relationship where a certain degree of depth of understanding is expected.

 

  1. Persuasion:

 There are 2 forms of interaction between individuals or groups

a)      Force or compulsion b) persuasion.

If one party compels another to do something instead of persuing him this is called Depotism. It is against the principle of proper conduct sanctioned by society.  A sense of human interest on the person who is being persuaded will understand & appreciate the cause & effect of this action.

 

  1. Dialogue:

It is a conversation with purpose.  It is not a bargain basement transaction but it is a low form of negotiation.  Dialogue is a reasonable exchange of ideas bringing into view a new form of knowledge, the use of dialogue is for influencing behaviour like selling goods or inspiring innovative ideas.

 

OBJECTIVES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

The main objective of public relations is to establish good understand-

ing by sharing a common problem or interest with the public. By public we

here mean both an internal public and a public external to the organisation.

Mutual understanding can be established only by sharing a common

interest, by communication and relations.

 However, the following are the broad objectives of public relations:

 

1. To promote mutual understanding.

2. To avoid the risk involved in misunderstanding.

3. To win friends.

4. To influence people.

5. To change the behaviour and attitude of the public.

6. To enhance the patronage from the various sections.

7. To help in fund raising.

8. To persuade individuals, groups etc.

9. To connect misconceptions and clarify on criticism of its policies

and practices.

10. To promote goodwill.

11. To  create and maintain the image or reputation about the  company.

12. To forestall attack by the competitors or opponents.

13. To undertake a public relations education program.

14. To help the public to love life and work for better or for worse

without conditions.

15. To improve internal staff relations.

16. To liaise, counsel and advise.

17. To provide information about the activities of the company to the

press and writers.

18. To prepare and supply the public with information about the

organisation like price, quality, export, employment, and other

special features.

19. To ascertain public opinion, conduct opinion research, and under-

 

stand public attitudes on the organisation, profession and practice.

20. To sponsor dealer and distributor relations schemes.

21. To undertake programmes like sales training courses for retailers, wholesalers.

22. To establish press relations, publicity articles preparation, press release, photographs.

23. To communicate with the employees on their benefits, accident prevention  labour relations and collective bargaining.

24. To undertake a campaign of public education about an industry or profession and its contribution to the public.

25. To establish relations with federal and state legislators, agencies.

Functions Of Public Relations

 

The functions that are to be performed by a public relations department may

differ from organisation to organisation depending upon the nature and activities of a particular organisation. However, certain standard functions  have emerged as common in most balanced departments. They are discussed below:

 

1. Policy:  Public relations policy is required for every organisation.

A policy is a statement of guidelines to be followed in the company. The

department has to develop and recommend corporate public relations

policies. It has to contribute the public relations view point which helps in

the formulation of decision. Its function is not merely to provide the policy

mainly to the top management but also to other sections and divisions.

 

2. Publicity : Corporate publicity is necessary to interact with the

public. The department has to undertake the development and issuance of

announcements of corporate activities to external communications media.

It has to handle inquiries from the press. It is part of the functions of the

department to develop and place promotional publicity about the company

as a whole or any of its units.

 

3. Product Publicity : Corporate publicity is different from the

product publicity. In this, focus is on the products and how to popularise

the product. This includes both new products as well as existing ones. It

includes the announcement of new products through the editorial channels

of the communications media. The department has to develop and execute

the promotional product publicity campaigns.

 

4. Relations with Government : Relations with government

cannot be overlooked. In all spheres of activities the government inter-

feres, regulates, controls and supervises. It is necessary to maintain liaison

with appropriate governmental departments. This liaison covers both the

local level, state level and national level. Besides, governmental relations includes:

 

(i) advise action as needed.

(ii) report trends in government affecting the company.

(iii) help in preparing and directing corporate appearances before investigating bodies of legislative hearings.

(iv) direct  programmes designed to promote the company's point of view in legislative or regulatory matters.

 

5. Community Relations: Community contacts should be planned. It is the performance and/or coordination of corporate 'good neighbour' activities, including compliance with environmental protection standards, fostering equal employment oppurtunity, cooperating in urban improvement programmes, and developing community understanding of a company's problems and needs.

 

6. Shareholders Relations ;  Relations with the corporate stockholders is more important to attract public money. This takes the form of communication between the company and the shareholders in particular.

 

Also the investment community in general. It is necessary for the development and acceptance of the company among investors by broadening the exposure of the company's policies and financial results in the investment community. This function includes preparation of annual reports, quarterly reports, dividend cheque inserts etc. It has to plan and stage the annual meetings of stockholders and appearances

before meetings of security analysts.

 

7. Promotion Programmes : Public relations promotion programmes should be formulated and implemented. This may broadly cover institutional promotion programmes designed to build corporate acceptance of key policies, institutional advertising, public relations literature and special events.

 

8. Donations: A corporate donation policy should be developed for company contributions- Various aspects involved in this function are processing requests for donations administering company's foundation, and the conduct of employees' solicitations for approved drives.

 

9. Employee Publications: The public relations department has to prepare and publish employee magazines, newspapers, bulletins, management communications etc.

 

10. Guest Relations : The department must undertake guest reception activities.

 

11. Coordinating Activities.

 

12. Conveying and Interpretation.

 

13. Advisory Functions.

 

14. Instructing by doing.

 

15. Public Relations Education Programme.

 

PUBLIC RELATIONS EXPERT- SOCIOLOGY AND

PSYCHOLOGY POINT OF VIEW

 

The task of the relations expert is applied sociology. In other words,

he must advise his clients bearing in mind the essential features of sociology and psychology. In particular:

 

1. He must hold a mirror to his organisation so that it can see where it actually stands and how it really looks in the opinion of the public. Thus is one of his essential duties, and in most cases, it provides the organisation with knowledge of itself, which is nothing short of astonishing.

 

2. He must collect all available data, so to have a sound knowledge of all his details and inter-relationships on which to work out a clear suggestion for building up the picture to be presented.

 

3. In doing this, he must help to overcome the many prejudices and biased opinions that are almost always present, and he must be frank in pointing out and attempting to eliminate the weak points and negative aspects of the organisation's  projects or policies.

 

4. All this forms the basis for the public relations action which must then be carried into effect as a long term strategic plan founded on exact knowledge of the process of communication and making full use of all means of communication.

 

5. In carrying out the plan, he must keep in mind the fact that public relations is always a two-way communication. Every public relations statement has an echo, which must be regarded as the feedback in cybernetics. Experience shows him how the message was received, and from this he must draw his own practical consequences, in complete disillusion and if necessary with readiness to self-criticism. This is the decisive point in all public relations activities.

 

 

 

6. As a consequence of a1I these measures there gradually comes into being in the inter-relationship between the communicator and the public under the painstaking control of the public relations expert a large measure of conformity and harmony between the two poles. This is the sense and the purpose of public relations activities.

VARIOUS PUBLICS FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

1. Stockholders Relations

 

The owners of the company are the shareholders with whom the company always has to communicate about various matters. Most companies use personal visits, telephone calls, mailing and supplementary reports to keep shareholders informed, interested and satisfied. Communication with them may include reports, matters on corporate meetings,

dividend enclosures, magazines, special mailing, notices, resolutions,

minutes, periodic correspondence, financial matters, press releases etc.

Communication with the shareholders may cover many subject matters

such as :

1. Issue of share certificate;

2. Share transfer application and procedure;

3. Certificate of transfer;

4. To mobilise funds, pay dividend, interest on fixed deposits received;

5.To issue dividend warrant, proxy form, dividend coupon;

6. To issue notices, agenda of the various meetings;

7. To respond to correspondence received from them;

8. Correspondence relating to calls, forfeiture, transmission;

9. Communication on matters relating to statutory requirements etc.

10. Describing organisational problems and objectives of the company in terms of special current developments in the company' s folder and other stockholder communication.

11. Drafting and circulating to all stockholders a transcript of highlights of the annual progress at the company's annual meetings.

12. Giving reponse to each stockholder's inquiry which must be prompt to create goodwill.

13. Informing by way of circulating or distributing to all shareholders occasional reprints dealing with developments vital to them.

 

2. General Public Relations

It is with effective communication and through appropriate media that a company maintains contacts with the public. It is the means to create and build goodwill. It also helps as a driving force to reach the public, and brings the company and the public together, linking with society in general. Maintaining external communication facilities through several media of verbal and written contacts with the public in general.

 

It is not possible to build a satisfactory public image for the company. The

public should be informed about various products of the company and their uses; comparative advantages, price differentials, product, after sale services and changes must be communicated promptly. Qualitative communication ensure the promotion of a positive favourable atmosphere, develops friendly and confident feelings towards the company and its product.

 

Audio-visual, direct mail, sales promotion, advertisements, news bulletins, annual reports, posters, hoardings and pamphlets are few of the many media used to reach the public. Public information consists of:

 

(a) Preparing and distributing new releases concerning the company to create public interest.

(b) Public meetings, press conferences between the company and ~

representatives of the press, radio and television. '

(c) To have a regular and prompt press information service and to

answer enquiries from the press and radio.

(d) Releasing periodic advertisements in the mass media circulating

throughout the country, and also in respect of certain commodities

and information to customers directly.

(e) General public communication covers personalised mass mailings to

the editors of newspaper, magazines, radio and television directors,

educational institutions, religious institutions, public relations offices,

officials and other local opinion leaders.

(t) Motion pictures are other important media for public communication

which portrays the company's operations highlighting the economic

advantages of the company's area of operations.

Mass media are the gateway of the company for communication with

the public. The public relations department of the company is mainly

responsible for promoting goodwill among the outside public.

 

3. Customer Relations

An effective system of communication should provide opportunities for customer information. The customer is the ultimate object whose satisfaction and goodwill are of the utmost importance for the success of an organisation. In carrying out the sales function of planning, the management must communicate with customers. There were times when the customer was not the central figure. But today the customer is the kingpin and sovereign of the market whose needs and satisfaction, and the winning of whose goodwill, is of prime importance in these days of

competitive setup. These must be communicated promptly. It is the communication which establishes the contacts with the customers. Customercomn1unication helps to establish a relationship with customers who buy and are the sources of products. The media used for advertisements can also be used effectively to reach the customers. It is the responsibility of communication:

 

1. To prepare welcome letters, personally addressed, signed by the chief executive officer to all old as well as new customers.

2. Customer information should include helpful and desirable information concerning prices, uses, after sale facilities etc.

3. Media like pamphlets and booklets printed in an attractive manner summarising the company's product etc., are the purpose of communication.

4. Enclosing handouts, progress reports to each bill or to each correspondence mailed to customers. This acts as a repetitive reminder to the customer about the company.

5. Prompt response to all enquiries made by the customer promotes and builds confidence and goodwill. Effective written communication promotes a friendly understanding of company policies.

6. Preparing brochures and other informative folders directed to specific customer groups like fanners, small business, women, and other special users.

 

4. Government Relations

Communication with the government and its departments is another important dimension of external communication. Business communication with the government covers several dealings touching many government departments. A corporate enterprise has to communicate with the Registrar of Companies, Controller of Capital Issues, finance department, industrial department and labour department. The relations of a company with the government are many sided. Correspondence with the

government may cover export-import matters, foreign exchange dealings, listening, registration, taxation matters also. A company has to file a number of documents to various departments of the goverment. Filing of annual returns and tax returns are regular activities.

 

Business houses have to consider the national objectives as well as the  national priorities of economic development as indicated in Five Year Plans and other policy statements and resolutions. There is always if routine communication between the government and business on several  other matters like wage policy, foreign policy, industrial policy etc.

 

Government communicates national objectives, priorities, achievements  and programmes through the mass media like television, radio, film and ; through the print media like newspapers, magazines, Five Year Plans, budgets, annual reports, special economic survey reports, statistical bulletins, handbooks etc. A firm has to deal with all correspondence in which it is concerned and interested.

 

5. Dealer Relations

 

A communication network should not overlook the importance of dealer communication. The dealer is a trader who carries on the business I of buying and selling and other dealings. A dealer effects a substantial turnover involved in buying, selling, supplying or distributing goods directly or indirectly for cash or deferred payment or on commission. A dealer is an important party in external communications. The relation of the company with its dealers, like those of other outsiders, is said to be dealer communication. The quality of the product, the trading policy, practice, procedure and the image the dealers to promote are the fundamental

factors which must be given major consideration in the subject matter of communication. The method of communicating with the dealer will vary depending upon the nature of the product, distribution and media of communication. Communication with a dealer is quite different when the

distribution is made through agents.

 

Conferences and meetings with dealers are the usual media of oral communication. Written communication through letters is often the common method. Another medium of maintaining close contact with the dealers is by providing all the dealers with regular copies of an external house journal or news sheet. This carries relevant infonnation from the business house to the dealers, wholesalers, stockists, agents etc. The journal generally contains messages on display, promotions, uses, benefits, and comparative superiority of the product. It also covers all such matters

calculate  to improve the dealer's turnover, and as a consequence, mutual  profits. Direct mail is also used to maintain direct contact with the dealers.

The public relations officer of the company gives guidance and help to

promote sales. He is a liaison between external parties and the company.

 

6. Inter-organisation Relations

 

No business organisation can exist in isolation without connections and dealings with other sister business organisations. Inter-corporate communication implies a process of information exchange between companies. A company of a particular industry may have links, direct or indirect. Inter-corporate loans, inter-company investment, inter-locking directorship, inter-corporate dividends, inter-corporate holdings and inter-corporate transactions etc., are all examples of the existence of inter-corporate communications. Information exchange between companies may take place on many matters like cost, process of production, methods

of production, new methods of production etc.

 

It has been observed that a firm simply cannot exist or survive unless

it is related with other firms in the industry. Inter-industry and intra-industry information exchange is necessary to make comparison and to run on smooth and competitive lines. Business houses undertake much inter-company communication to bridge the communication gap between the organisation and outside entities. Very often one notices that companies resort to inter-corporate and inter-institutional communication. Companies are also involved in information exchange to know the various sophisticated techniques adopted, the handling of production, appraising

people about the organisation's march, social responsibilities discharged and getting their employees informed about the movement of employees in comparable organisations.

 

In present day competitive structures a firm is expected to catch up on the efficiency attained by competitors, and make efforts to reach and exceed them. Communication between the organisations on various functional performances highlights the points of strength and weakness in individual company performance.

Inter-firm information exchange facilitates inter-firm comparison, which provides an objective and realistic measurement of comparable efficiency of the firms inter se. The inter-firm messages on operating performance, financial results, product cost structure, sales trend, market potential etc., in relation to firms of similar size, capacity, nature, industry or trade present a vivid picture of comparative strong points and weak points. The firms can improve their activities accordingly. Firms thus supply information reports on their activities in the form of ratios,  figures etc.

 

7. Complaints

 

Public relations firmly believe in openness and honest communication. Public complaints, suggestions and response constitute a complaint communication system. The public is any group of people which shares a common interest. An organisation with its effective communication talent has to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its public. Complaints made by the public are to be attended to, and suggestions offered should be considered. A complaint

is really a favour done to the company.

 Correspondence with the company is a good means of communication, in particular, face-to-face conversation is still effective. Acknowledging a complaint and giving a decision without delay promotes goodwill. It is social responsibility of business as a form of activity to entertain and be responsive to complaints and suggestions. The social responsibility of a business entails obligations which a business owes to society. Communication sets in all spheres of enquiries, complaints and suggestions.

ESSENTIAL QUALITIES OF GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

Without reaching for the moon, tentative analysis of experience with

a large number of public relations managers has indicated, in a general

sense, the following as the basic qualities required in successful managers:

 

  1. Mental ability:

 A combination of planning sense, foresight, orderliness of mind and judgement, which will result in willingness to think straight, and in a thoroughness and promptness of decision.

 

2. Ability to see the other person's point of view, and to be as critical

of oneself as of others; this is the basis of the ability to work with other

people.

 

3. Integrity, in the sense of mental honesty.

 

4. A restrained self-confidence, coupled with initiative and

resourcefulness.

 

5. A balanced temperament particularly the absence of such traits

 as emotional instability, a sense of marked inferiority, forcefulness and

self-centred outlook.

 

NEED FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

The need for public relations is clearly explained n the points below –

 

  1. Communication :

 

The means for communication have reached , technically ,almost a stage of perfection .It is today financially possible for practically everybody –at least in the advanced nations- to receive information. The level of education of a wide circle of the population is  rising rapidly and this ensures a steady increase in the capacity for receiving information which is guaranteed by the ‘constitution.’ Adequate information is, therefore, theoretically possible although it is by no means guaranteed in each individual case.

 

  1. New Information Order:

 

 Whether we are correctly informed is far more difficult to answer. Many books, many discussions in academies in radio and television in India and abroad, and countless lectures, not excluding those in ‘Information Society’ and ‘New Information Order’, as far as we are aware, a correct reply is yet to be received. The only answer, according to the philosopher Karl Jaspers given in 1963, is

“we in the Free World have the chance to share the responsibility and find

ways of receiving the best possible information.”

 

  1. Information Load:

 

Also called message load or quantity, The sceptic will, of course, draw our attention to the flood of information to which we are all exposed today. The proper reply to this is that this flood is largely without direction and that it is incomplete or inaccurate. Information must be prepared. Essential information must be separated from trivial matter, and the interest of the receiver must be aroused in the right direction. In the organization that ignorance, the inability to appreciate or  organization , superficial knowledge is extremely likely to result in dislikes, dissatisfaction and outright rejection with all their disastrous concequences. What we require is a fair means of information which eliminates  existing or awakened suspicions, which builds up understanding, and  creates confidence. This is what we call Public Relations.

 

4. Mutuality and Understanding: Going by the definition of public

relations, the mutuality is based on interaction between consideration for

public opinion, and the need of the communicator or organization to inform

or establish contact. Understanding is created by providing insight into, and

reporting on all essential matters. Confidence is cultivated by bringing the

aim of the organization into harmony with the public interest, thus winning

and maintaining goodwill among the general public.

 

From all these facts, it is clear what the purpose of this ‘Activity in,

for, and with. The public' is : To act and not to react; to create an

atmosphere of confidence by an active information policy, the passive part

of which consists in answering queries ; to inform the public and exert

influence towards the inside as a form of corporate and social counter control to establish direct or indirect connections with the public, to fulfill a kind of interpreters’s function towards the public and to control communicative reaction.

 

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