Karl Skutski, now retired founder and president of Skutski & Associates, a public relations firm in Pittsburgh, asked the question “Who Needs Public Relations?” back in 1989 and he provided a pretty good answer in the Allegheny Business News.
Skutski defined public relations as “a management process which to be effective must be managed against objectives, strategized, budgeted, worried about, fine-tuned and worked at every day.”
“Good public relations starts with research. (What do my customers really think of me anyhow? How do I stack up against the competition? Do they even know I’m here?) It is carefully targeted. (What publics are most important to my business?) It evolves around a clear message strategy. (What do I have to tell my customers, the community, etc., to make them believe that my products, my cause, are right for them?) It consists of a steady stream of planned communications activities, and above all, is integrated into the daily routine of business.
“Does public relations work? If your impression of the Chrysler Corporation has changed over the past few years (the Lee Iacocca era), if you think McDonald’s is community-minded, if you now call spaghetti ‘pasta,’ if you thinking walking for fitness (in stylish sneakers) is good for your health…I rest my case.
“If you are still not a believer, perhaps you might find the case of Mostek, Inc. of interest. Never heard of them? They entered the computer chip market about the same time as Intel. They are no longer around, for a lot of reasons. When asked about his marketing program by a reporter from Fortune, the CEO replied, ‘I didn’t know public relations mattered until it was too late.’”