PR Toolkit: Basics
What is PR?
The acronym stands for "Public Relations". The term was used for the first time in the preface of the 1897 Yearbook of Railway Literature, by Ivy Lee. He pioneered in PR, along with Edward Louis Bernays: both consistently laid the foundations for a professional embodiment of the activity.
The latter established the first definition of public relations in the early 1900s: "a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance."
Nowadays contemporary definitions tend to think beyond Bernay's traditional approach, strongly influenced by crowd psychology, in favor of communication and relationship building.
At Mozilla we turn to PR to maintain our organization’s reputation with the market, users, developers, and influencers. Much like how we develop our products in the open, we strive to communicate in an open and transparent way: reporters have direct access to information on wikis and attend public project meetings, providing information and context as-it-happens.
Public Relations aim at:
- nurturing, promoting and reinforcing the brand image
- promoting goodwill: enhance the relationships with current partners/customers and prospective ones, with the general public,...
- building product awareness: generate attention and inform about new releases, stimulate demand,...
What's the role of a PR person?
A PR person plans, develops, implements PR strategies and defines their objectives and their targets.
The function may include, among others, and depending on the company (we've put in bold what you would be doing as a CommSquared person):
- researching and analyzing strategic data (e.g., market intelligence, benchmarking, public opinion studies)
- creating local content: finding local developers and user stories to case study in order to pitch local media
- proposing calendars about local opportunities to pitch local media
- redacting and distributing news releases to mass media & partners
- gathering and analyzing media coverage
- liaising with internal (inside the company: e.g. spokespeople) and external agents (e.g. Press, partners)
- updating information on the company's channels: website, social networks, internal magazine...
- organizing events
- sourcing and generating sponsorships
All those activities convey establishing the good image of the organization, and avoiding/preparing for/managing crisis.
CommSquared members will mostly focus on redacting and distributing press releases, liaising, and sourcing.