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FILE PHOTO: pr-journalism.blogspot.com

Why public relations matters for organisational effectiveness

Hazel Vundla
Companies and organisations typically focus on selling goods and services, but if that is all they are doing then they are compromising something huge.

And that is establishing a mutual relationship between the organisation itself and its clientele, the public.

Advertising works, but on its own it does not instill credibility and trust, which has tended to result in the production of goods and services that lack genuine quality.

It is high time Zimbabwean firms embrace change and ditch predictable practices that have kept them stagnant.

Organisations, companies and institutions, today, should utilise public relations to differentiate who they are by distinctively showing what makes them unique in comparison to any other organisation in the market.

This can be achieved by thinking and doing what is revolutionary therefore we cannot talk about tomorrow without public relations.

PR’s impact on the growth of organisations

Communication is key internally and externally. In order for a company to grow internally there is need for a PR strategy in which members of the company are informed, educated and work in a manner that is in line with the organisation’s mission.

There is need for change from the top to bottom form of communication which was dictatorial. Now we need to hold meaningful conversations where we will include a bottom up mode of communication where bosses keep in touch with their workers and workers are free to reach out to their bosses. External communication involves making yourself known to the public and cultivating positive attitudes and behaviors towards your company and its goods or services.

It is within the PR practitioner’s interest that goods and services reflect to the public how much the company values them and that is another way of creating a mutual relationship with the public.

It is the PR practitioner’s duty to insure that the company create networks that are relevant to the company during premiers one needs to know the right people with mutual or potential interests to attend company functions.

For example having good relations with the media whom you invite when carrying out campaigns to create awareness, understanding so as to change negative attitudes or behavior towards the company and its good and services.

It also involves stakeholders who invest money into the company who determine the success and future of the company.

Opinion leaders, otherwise more commonly known as celebrities and public figures, can also spread information to the vast number of followers and the public finds credibility in that product or service.

The PR practitioner should guard the company’s information jealously by monitoring the flow of information.

It is important that you do not let a third party tell your story in times of a crisis because at the end of the day there will be a number of different versions that are not only tarnishing the image of the company but at the same time the company is becoming unpopular and this alters the public and stakes holders trust in the organisation. The ultimate cost could result in the existence of the company.

What Risks are we exposed to without public relations

·         Mishandled crisis which is a threat to the organisation’s image.

·         Loss of millions of dollars to court cases that arise from a mishandled crisis.

·         Failure to effectively communicate with the public within the context of reception, for instance content or adverts that are sensitive or oppose religion, culture and tradition.

·         Use of predictable methods and practices that do not improve ways of communicating with the public.

·         Having third parties telling your story which could result in a crisis in a way that might be irreparable.

·         Risk being a dormant organisation that is not in touch with the public and the public do not know what the organisation is all about.

Zim organisations can’t afford to ignore PR

It is high time Zimbabwean organisations and companies adjusted and adopted to new and improved skills, practices and effective forms of communication.

Whenever there is no communication during a crisis people will fill in the gap hence every organisations needs to be hands on by being responsible and accountable for events involving them.

Communication allows organisations to increase their visibility, while also allowing for greater communication with its various publics.

Things have changed and in this digital age consumers have become kings who spend time on content favorable to them hence we no longer supply and demand but rather they demand and we supply.

Our job is to quench the immeasurable needs and wants of our valued customers. Today’s customers are not concerned about quantity but quality content, products and services.

We need to start creating an experience that is unforgettable.

The moment one enters your store or company they must experience the experience of being in your domain.

For instance all TM Pick ‘n’ Pay shops share a similar feel starting from the lighting, the order within the store such as post signs that direct people to various products, promotions that make shopping at their store worthwhile and everyone has a fair chance at winning a price and its all in the hands of the customer and small things such as greeting customers at the till. At times the only way to rise above the waters and emerge stronger is by creating mergers with those who share the same vision as yours.

We need to start listening to the demands of the people, and responding in a positive and professional manner which restores and maintains good relations with the public.

Lets create goods and services that are not exclusive to the context in which we exist in but rather be inclusive by placing ourselves on the economic map because Zimbabwe is open for business.

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