Strategies of the PR Trade

Company A: Company A is a chocolatier with a tried and true public relations plan that works most times. For example, one of its customers always orders fourteen boxes of chocolates for his co-workers every year around the holidays. He is a loyal customer, and once a year as the holidays approach, he receives an email soliciting his business. Like usual, he orders his chocolates, having them gift wrapped and sent to his colleagues.

Except for this past holiday.

Company B: Company B is a chocolatier with a multi-pronged, tried and true public relations plan that works every time. Among its usual email and online advertising campaign, Company B sets up booths in the local malls, farmers’ markets, and other high traffic areas to attract business. Not averse to spending money, this chocolatier even holds free cooking workshops at the local college teaching chocolate-philes how to make their own chocolate.

One day, Company A’s loyal customer happens to be reading an ad while shopping at the local farmers’ market. He sees Company B in a number of different places around town and asks the sales rep at one of the booths for a sample. He eats his sample (rolling the smooth, velvety chocolate over his tongue) takes a card and heads home. On the way, he sees the college’s bulletin above advertising Company B’s class on making chocolate the following weekend.

Long story short, not only does this loyal customer attend the workshop, he is now a loyal customer of Company B.

What happened with Company A and its loyal customer?

Company B engaged with its publics.

Company B had a public relations campaign that made contact with Company A’s loyal customer on at least more than one occasion.

Company B understood that each and every time that they made contact with its public it opened up an opportunity for dialogue and an opportunity to make a sale by establishing a relationship.

…So, how do organizations engage in relationships with consumers in the digital age?

With the glut of advertising pitched to the everyday consumer, organizations that desire to develop relationships with the public have their work cut out for them. A distracted public has little time or patience to wade through the volumes of information given to them on a daily basis, information needed to make informed consumer decisions.

To compete for the attention of those who are a part of the global community, public relations organizations have a myriad of strategies that focus on reaching out and attracting their publics.

In addition to advertising and emailing efforts, which comprise of product placement and announcements, some modern strategies include:

  • ''''Corporate philanthropy and sponsorship. These types of relationships involve organizations donating time or money to various causes, as is the case with philanthropy. With corporate sponsorship, organizations might fund projects in exchange for publicity.
  • Lobbying. This strategy involves actively trying to influence legislative or regulatory decisions in government. Within this group, there are two categories. The first type of lobbying is when an individual (professional) lobbies on behalf of a client. The second type relates to employees who lobby for their employer.
  • Promotion. Promotion involves using events, ads, promos, and stunts to attract public interest.
  • Publicity. Where promotion involves a platform to advertise a product, publicity just makes the general public aware of information regarding the product or service.
  • Special event management. These events are usually a part of a larger project that is used to garner public participation and publicity.
  • Blogs and social media. Establishing a virtual space where the organization can engage with clients, product advertisement and event publicity are the main functions of this media.
  • Media outreach. This involves an organization’s efforts of placing articles and talking to reporters.
  • Speaking opportunities. Organizations use trade shows, conferences, and webinars as contact points for getting the public familiar with the organization and its product.
  • Crisis management. This is an organization’s plan for handling “worst case” scenarios.

Public relations organizations often use a multi-pronged approach that focuses on more than one strategy to garner public interest in a product and to develop relationships. Keep in mind, these strategies work in conjunction with a public relations plan that has already completed the research on its target public.

For public relations….

These strategies provide organizations with opportunities to interact with the public, as every time the consumer makes contact with some form of public relations is the opportunity for organizations to build two-way relationships.


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