“PR starts and ends with the relationship.”
-PR News’ Best PR Advice Book
There is an annual event that I have participated in, in the last 3 years. This event is actually the backbone of the vision of the orgnanisation I work for. But from the moment I joined to date, we seem to always battle with one thing….invitations. We just never get enough (relevant) people to attend in as much as we try all methods possible within a minimal budget.
So, I did a small analysis on the way things were done and realised that only at one time in the three years did we get a good relevant number of guests attending. And the realisation pointed towards our senior managers and their networks. Being a diversely faced non-profit organisation, each of our senior managers deals with specific people in different industries e.g. food, laboratories, inspection firm etc. This means that the relationships that the senior managers had created in their day to day professional network somewhat influenced the decision of those invited to attend- It’s all about relations. And not just relations, but good, profitable and relevant relations to the organisation.
The relationship is in all spheres : media relations, employee relations, client relations, government relations, public affairs, etc. From this framework, coordination and decision-making take place between the organisation and the audience target group.
Often times, I have found myself calling in a favour with a journalist to do a post event article, when journalists dont show up for event. Recall the time when Kenya was at a crisis with the Westgate Shopping Mall ordeal, no media station was covering any other event and we had a major International meeting happening that same week. We got no coverage. But somehow, we got online presence after making a few phone calls as well as got a free newspaper article in that week on that event. This came about due to relations.
Now, there are more structured relations in other fields e.g. during a crisis, to both the employees and to the media. you may need guided material on what to do in order to relay a unified message to the public. And yet again, if you have cultivated good relationship with reporters…its easy to get a heads up on matters before they rock the boat and save face for the organisation.
I never really understood what my former bosses used to say when they would tell me, ” Never burn your bridges. ” Its because at one time in the near or far future, you might need that relationship to get your job done.
Now you know.