By Vimbai Chingwaramuse
Public relations (PR) can easily go unnoticed despite it being a pillar of organisations as it is the maintaining of a good relationship between an organisation and the public.
Even companies that do recognise the benefits of PR enough, find leadership tries to put it on the chopping block when it comes to budget cuts.
Hence, still not supporting the efforts of the PR unit.
The PR office can sometimes be overlooked at the expense of a marketing budget, though it pays to communicate your core messages with an effective campaign.
It is an art that is rooted in the “long game” which can be a harder sell.
PR is focused on relationships, something that everyone of us knows is hard to maintain and even harder to build.
Many businesses don’t have the patience to experience the fruits of PR’s labour as it can be hard to grasp that media coverage and loyal audiences are not instantaneous.
In the same vein, PR can be difficult to measure as it can prove daunting to perform a cost-benefit analysis on a positive reputation or meaningful connections in the same way you could determine the effectiveness of a paid advertisement.
Along with its focus on relationships, PR is a discipline focused on language and words.
Without the flashiness of a postcard put together by a graphic designer, it’s hard to see why tweaking the words in a company’s mission statement could make that big of a difference.
Sadly, the post of the PR practitioner is normally underrated.
Only to be remembered for fire-fighting antics.
When they party, they forget PR; but when they are at war, they call PR to join them.
Funny, but painful for the practitioner who is said to be a soldier.
It is of paramount importance for PR officers and/or managers in Zimbabwe to unite and revalue their jobs.
It is of importance for companies to see that PR is not only about defending positions, but for the good image for the greater good of an institution.
- Vimbai Chingwaramusee is the City of Gweru Council communication and public relations officer. She is a former journalist and radio presenter. She is aged 33. She is a holder of a Master of Science degree in Media and Society Studies and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Communication.
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