In one of our last few sessions at SCoRe, we were asked to summarise what Public Relations meant to us in a word. A word, that according to us, summarises what’ve learnt in the last ten months. One by one, we shared our answers. The only word that came to my mind was “reputation”.
Lately, we’ve been hearing numerous businesses talking about how they’re worried about their reputation, or that they want their stakeholders to talk about them and do so with an opinion that is favourable. Reputation, according to me, is the opinion that different individuals or groups have of a business – this could range from a famous personality to a large multinational.
These opinions can be created, shaped and maintained over time – thanks to public relations professionals. But, why are we so concerned with the reputation these businesses have? Well, for starters, businesses aim to sustain; and that’s only possible if their stakeholders form favourable opinions of them and vice versa. The stakeholders of any business include consumers, the government, employees and even society as a whole.
A business that is known to be trustworthy and genuine with their consumers has a positive reputation, while a business that is viewed as unethical by their employees or the government has a ‘less favourable’ reputation (positivity is key). One could even say that reputation is the reaction a business receives for its decisions and implementations, which makes reputation management a key function of public relations.
Another reason as to why reputation is synonymous with public relations is because this very factor is what makes or breaks any business. How a business sails through tough times or how they bring themselves back from a downfall is what remains at the end of the day; and how a public relations consultancy and corporate communications team can bring the situation into their favour is what makes public relations a vital function of any business.
With digitisation taking over, managing the reputation of businesses in today’s times is more challenging than ever. Digitisation may bring with it the ease of doing business and many more avenues for business to grow, but it also brings on social media platforms that give stakeholders a stronger grip on the business and their top management – which magnifies even the slightest error.
Thanks to social media, online ‘influencers’ are an addition to the stakeholder circle, which adds another layer for public relations professionals to breakthrough. Regardless of what the future holds, reputation management has clearly been a key focus of public relations from the very beginning – be it through traditional or digital mediums.
– Urvashi Rawat
Urvashi is a part of Class of 2019 in the Post Graduate Programme in PR & Corporate Communications at School of Communications & Reputation, Mumbai. Prior to this, she graduated as a BBA with a specialisation in Finance and Chinese from Amity University, Noida. She is a strong communicator with a creative bent of mind, who has also been successful in understanding people and extending to them. This combination has drawn her to the field of public relations.
Urvashi completed her PR Internship with 20:20 MSL, Mumbai, and was recruited by Edelman, Gurgaon.