Public Communication consists of two words – ‘public’ and ‘communication’. Let us first try to understand both of them.
- The word ‘public’ originated from the Latin word Publicus, which means mass population. The Oxford Dictionary rather succinctly describes the word public as “Of or concerning the people as a whole.”
- ‘Communication’, on the other hand, is described as “The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.”
In the broadest of terms, any communication carried out on a large scale involving a huge body of people qualifies as public communication. From televised speeches to radio broadcasts, newspaper columns and even addresses at public rallies, all of these fall under the umbrella term that is public communication.
There is also a more specific use of the phrase ‘public communication’ in media circles. Typically, businesses, brands, politicians and any entity that needs to send a message across and influence public minds use public communication to help them achieve this. In this context, public communication is a strategic tool comprising the use of various media outlets, the release of curated text and images, and comprehensive information distribution campaigns to get a specific message across to a particular target audience. Public communication is the prime responsibility of any organization Public Relations (PR) department.
Often confused with advertising, which the pursuit of the popularizing a product driven by increased sales and profits, public communication actually stands for something different. The purpose of a public communication campaign is to convey information from an individual or organization to the public at large, helping the aforementioned parties gain the attention of the public without direct payment to the channels of the media that share this information. The motivations behind a public communication campaign are varied and very individual to the parties that undertake them. They generally include attempts to sway opinion of important stakeholders such as investors, partners, stakeholders, the general public or even employees. The entity that issues the campaign could be looking to build a more positive public outlook, to shine the spotlight on its leadership, to generate goodwill, or to create a certain impression regarding the company’s products or the decisions it has made.
Most commonly, the methods employed by the PR team to reach out to its target audiences include the following:
- Public statements
- Press Releases
- Employee communication practices
- Press liaisons
- Events, ceremonies and commemorations
A public communication campaign, rather than selling a product or a service, aims to promote a specific ideology or decision, or even the ethos of a company as a whole, and without the use of conventional marketing and advertising tools. It is an attempt to gain unbiased and credible coverage and validation from those functioning outside of the individual of a company that is executing the communication operation. The PR team ensures that channels of communication with stakeholders and interested parties are always open, and their client holds a favorable position of the public eye. It is essentially the shaping of a particular image or impression in the minds of the masses.
Today, with the advent of technology and rampant development of communication channels, a whole host of media channels is employed by PR personnel to distribute public communications, including:
- Print media (newspapers and magazines)
- Social media
The Indian PR industry is still in its nascent stage, although it has been shown rapid growth in recent times. Companies, political parties and NGOs are all quickly realizing the need for better communication and relationships with the country’s populace, and are actively taking steps to achieve this.
So for all of those involved in the PR industry in India, it appears there is a lot of promise and prosperity in the near future. If you feel you have it in you to make it big in the public communication realm, Seamedu’s degree offering (our latest addition to the journalism and mass communication department) can help you get there faster than you think. The media industry is calling!