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Public Relations Vs. Reputation Management: The thin line to grasp and more

Whether you are setting out fresh from the ideation or have spent some quality years
building a business empire, there are some vital statistics through forecasts or systemic
procedures you should not take for granted or overlook. Likewise, before taking it
further, it is idyllic to ascertain that doing a lot and little is known of, is not a testimony
any business owner or driver would want to hold on to.
In essence, to bridge the gap and laugh really well, there is a proven tool that has
helped businesses or organizations achieve communication objectives when rightly
deployed. And that is Public Relations.
Public Relations (PR) is a familiar profession with business drivers’ little understanding
and total reception, and that alone is worrisome, most especially in Africa. It’s so
because many business drivers failed to recognize the core set-out of the profession
and how it translates into a tangible turnover. PR, in a holistic view, is a strategic
communication process that involves building and maintaining positive relationships
between a business, an individual, and its relevant stakeholders – internal and external
If the above is PR, what then is Reputation Management (RM)? Straight to the point,
RM is also a process with a focus on monitoring, influencing, and managing an entity’s
reputation so as to remain positive and highly acceptable across the board. Yours truly,
reputational management like public relations, requires strategies to function effectively
as well as achieve the intended goal of good perception and acceptance.
However, just like a mathematical concept, Public Relations are a ‘universal set’ that
gives a ‘sub-set’ title to reputation management. What this implies is that PR is a
broader concept that involves building relationships from scratch and projecting the
outcome through positive perception leveraging and safeguarding while spreading,
while reputation management is a tool deployed as a strategy for ensuring all ‘t’ crossed
and all ‘i’ were doted appropriately. In essence, RM monitors and provides data to
ensure PR efforts are not wasted while in the public space.
Haven’t said all that, there are some important strategies that PR capitalizes on to
achieve the goal of objective communication and desired business destination, and they
include but are not limited to – Media relations, crisis communications, digital/social
media communication/marketing, community engagement, employee communications,
and stakeholders’ communications. Let’s check each out.
Media Relations. In public relations (PR), media relations are a powerful strategic
management tool of interactions between an organization (business drivers), individual
(celebrity or public figure) or entity and media organisations’ representatives – content
drivers (journalists/reporters), editors, and member of the press. Media relations help to
effectively communicate the business’ message, news and, offerings through the media
to the general public who are regular consumers of such news platforms. A good

relationship with the media’s representative is a win for a business as the tendency of it
enjoying press coverage is high.
Crisis Communication. There is an adage in the Yoruba Language that says “You
cannot walk without the head shaking”. This means, nobody is perfect, so also is a
brand or business. Hence, PR professionals prepare ahead to combatany unforeseen
challenges that could come up in the future regarding the organization. Crisis
communication is a strategic process of managing and mitigating the impact of a crisis
in an organization involving reputation, image, public perception, and loyalty. The most
important aspect of this process is to restore public trust and maintain perceived or
owned credibility.
Digital/Social Media Communication. People spend most of their free time on digital
and social media platforms. Hence, PR professionals leverage the vital role of this
virtual community to engage their clients’ target audiences, amplify their messages, and
manage perception. This is done through up-to-date profiles, regular content creation,
audience engagement, and crisis management and influencer collaborations.
Community Engagement. PR professionals understand the effectiveness of getting
people involved is why community engagement is birthed as a strategy to build and
nurture positive relationships between an organisation, brand, individual, and the
community where they operate. Most importantly, this strategy involves active
participation in initiatives and conversations that align with the organisation’s mission,
goals, and values.
Employee Communications. It’s ideal to note that effective employee communications
foster trust, engagement, and a sense of belonging among employees, thereby leading
to improved satisfaction and productivity. Having grab of this, PR strategically manages
information and messaging between an organization and its employees with the aim of
creating a transparent, informed, and engaged workforce. The overall result of this
strategy is an increased positive internal culture, increased morale, and alignment with
the organisation’s values and objectives.
Stakeholders’ Communications. Effective stakeholder communication helps to build
relationships, enhance reputation and maintain support as well as trust from those that
matter. PR professionals deploy this strategic approach to recognize the diversity of
stakeholders’ interests and focus on building transparent, meaningful, and mutually
beneficial relationships through necessary connections.
Critically digesting all that PR does, it’s becoming as if reputation management has an
almost insignificant role to play. But that is very incorrect! RM is like a security guard
who ensures no intruder enters our beautiful garden as it could be, damaged or
devalued. Hence, here are four activities reputation management does to the overall PR
efforts –managing online reviews, social media listening, addressing feedback, and,
mitigating potential crises.

As a wrap, public relations (PR) involve building in the right place or making the
seemingly wrong place appear as the right place through relationship leveraging,
strategic postulations, and promotion of positive perceptions, while in the same vein,
reputation management (RM) is concerned with monitoring and upkeeping the final
product – the building (image, perception, and loyalty).
Nevertheless, it is now safe to say there is a thin line of which business drivers or
owners must take note, however, PR and RM pass the baton to each other when the
need arises because both are birds of the same feathers which must flock together to
achieve the set-out communication or business goals.

About the writer:
Olayemi Samuel Oluwaseun is a marketing communications practitioner and an
Associate member of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (ANIPR), with a keen flair for
digital solutions and tailor-made strategies for corporate and brand alike. He has been
around in the industry for close to a decade. He can be reached through Twitter –
@olayemisamuelo_ and LinkedIn.

Published on Brandfit.

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