Public Relations – The Most Important Communications Discipline

Relationships make everything we do easier – they oil the cogs of our personal and professional lives and are the lifeblood of everything we do. As human beings, we have an inherent desire to be close to other people.

In our personal lives we build relationships unconsciously. We know that building them with specific people will give us the ability to achieve defined goals – whether it is getting tickets to a game, or access to products, services, or discounts that we’d otherwise not be able to benefit from, relationships are vital to our well-being. We instinctively know how to build personal relationships – but it is a complex blend of give and take, of uncovering what’s in it for them as well as the benefits for us.

In business, building the relationships our organizations need to achieve specific outcomes is often less instinctive, and it is definitely less strategic than in our personal lives. Business relationships are typically a lot more transactional. In many cases the primary cause of failure in achieving specific goals is the failure of an organization to build the necessary relationships or not doing it in the same way that we build our personal relationships.

Relationships are critical­ to achieving an organizations desired outcomes. Whether the goal is to attract new customers or retain existing ones; attract new team members or hold on to the ones it is already has. Relationships are a part of everything an organization does.

The process of building and maintaining the relationships needed to achieve any organizational goal is public relations.

This holds true especially when trying to build a brand, as well as identifying media opportunities and securing media coverage.

None of these things can be achieved without an organization maintaining key strategic relationships.  The process of building and maintaining the relationships needed to achieve any organizational goal is public relations. 

Over the past decade, marketing has become the poster child of the communications industry. It is perceived as the function focused on getting people to take an action. But, without public relations having built strong, mutually beneficial relationships whose utility is specific to the action they will be asked to take by marketing, marketing is likely to fail.

Brand, media, awareness… all of these things rely on an organization building strong, actionable relationships. If you are thinking about investing in any of these communications activities as a way to achieve specific business outcomes, invest in public relations first. The relationships you build will pay dividends through increased effectiveness of everything else you do.­­