The 5 W’s of Public Relations

The 5 W’s of Public Relations

Just a few years ago, I went to my first college class, blinked and found myself four years into the future, just weeks away from graduation. Deciding what I wanted to do with the rest of my life at the young age of 18 was possibly the most complicated decision I have ever had to make. With a childhood dream of being the next Katie Couric, journalism seemed like the degree for me, but after researching the job outlook I quickly changed my mind. So there I was, sitting in a biology class when I realized how much I despised learning about DNA, evolution, punnett squares and all that other jazz that comes along with the subject. I thought about what made me happy, and quickly realized that I like two things: working with people and talking. Little did I know that there was a career for individuals like me.

After taking some core communication classes and learning about the different areas of the field, I knew I was in the right place. In the fall of 2013, I declared myself as a public relations major. Of course those in my major knew what public relations was, but my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, parents and best friends forever asked the question, “What exactly do you do with a public relations degree?” Surprisingly, I have gotten asked this question by a lot of people. So to clear all of the confusion up, I thought it would be a great idea to give the public a little “PR” history lesson and why public relations should be of the utmost importance to you and your brand.

  1. What is Public Relations?: According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations is defined as, “A strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” In layman’s terms, a PR professional is in charge of communicating with the public about the company that they are representing and vise versa. Awareness, credibility and keeping a positive image for each and every one of our clients is the overall goal. We do the aforementioned by establishing relationships with the media, sending out press releases about our positive, and negative news, managing an image on social media outlets, hosting events and more.
  2. Who is Public Relations: You may be asking yourself, “Who came up with the idea of influencing the overall public opinion of individuals?” The man responsible for this growing career field just happens to be psychologist, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Mr. Edward Bernays. Bernays is classified as the “Father of Public Relations” and is known for a number of his influential campaigns. My favorite campaign being the all about the color green and how Bernays turned it into a fashionable color. You see, one of Bernays’ clients, Lucky Strike cigarettes, had spent a large amount of money on LuckyStrikescreating his cigarette packages. When it was realized that women were not choosing this brand because the carton was green and clashed with all of their fashionable apparel, Bernays took charge of the situation, persuading women that green was the hottest color in the fashion world. In fact, Bernays staged a green themed fashion event, The Green Ball, to promote and celebrate the color of green. (Fun fact: Wheelhouse just held a big agency kick-off party where everything was green!) Bernays continued to promote the campaign and the color quickly spread into home décor; Go ahead, thank Bernays for that lovely green wallpaper in your grandparents house. Green was in and Bernays had one happy client. Bernays lived to be an impressive 103! To learn more about Bernays and his iconic campaigns, read The Father of Spin by Larry Tye.
  3. When Public Relations: Public Relations first emerged in the early 20th century. The PRSA was established in 1947 and is known as the world’s largest public relations organization. In terms of when you and your company need a public relations specialist, it is important to always have someone keeping an eye out for your company’s image.
  4. Where Public Relations: Public relations can be used in a number of different areas of the business world. These areas include but are not limited to: product public relations, community relations, crisis communication (the most interesting in my opinion), government and political relations and public relations for small businesses.
  5. Why Public Relations: If you are wondering why you and your company need some PR in your life, you have come to the right place. Business owners have enough on their plates and although it seems ideal to micromanage every little detail of a business, things sometimes fall through the cracks. Hiring an agency, like Wheelhouse Creative, allows us to do what we do best so that you can do what you do best. Look around at all major companies and you will see that they have a PR department. Maintaining your image is important, so why not hire someone to monitor your brand?

Overall, public relations is about leaving your positive footprint in the business community. One can do so by having a strong agency that takes care of everything from managing social media to marketing and advertising your new product, service or location. Don’t get lost in the clutter of today’s technological society; use Wheelhouse Creative so that your brand can stand out in the crowd.


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