Importance of PR department

Importance of PR department

Samar Al-Mogren

Samar Al-Mogren

One of the basic principles of public relations is establishing continuous contacts with the public and showing keenness to achieve their satisfaction and support.

Efforts should also be made to enhance the image of the personality and organization. Experts have no difference of opinion on this principle, since the time of Ivy Lee, the father of public relations.

Some of our organizations, especially government agencies, have failed to implement this principle in the best form. By the passage of time we don’t see any tangible improvement.

I have noticed that efforts to improve the performance of this vital sector are pathetic. The main reason is most of our officials do not know how to interact with the media and customers.

Lack of qualified officials to deal with the media at our organizations and departments is a major issue. The media plays a significant role in improving or tarnishing an organization’s image.

The PR department of government departments and agencies is in poor condition, as its officials are not qualified to do the job efficiently. As a result they make catastrophic mistakes. Press statements of officials must be utilized to strengthen their organization. Before making such statements they should make good preparations to have the required impact.
PR officer in any institution has a big role to play in issuing such statements in a professional way.

Every year we see some negative statements issued by certain officials. If they had depended on a professional and distinguished PR firm it would not have happened.

During the past 12 months, we have seen several public relations flops, including the refusal of two ministers to address students of a university.
Recently, we have heard the statement of the water and electricity minister ignoring the anger of various groups of citizens, especially subscribers having limited income, over huge water bills.

The minister said the water bill would not reach half of a person’s mobile phone bill. How can a minister make such a damaging statement while subscribers complain about faulty bills that do not conform to the tariff hike approved by the government?

How did the minister know that the water bill is less than mobile phone bill? Mr. Minister, if half of the mobile phone bills of your children is in the range of SR500 to SR1,000, it is not reasonable to compare them with ordinary citizens. How can you justify the issuance of faulty bills giving this reason?

The PR department of all organizations and departments deserve special care and attention. It should not be left ignored or sidelined. Its duty should not be restricted to just reading newspapers, preparing a daily press file, writing monotonous and repetitive press reports and making reservations for officials and guests. Its role is much bigger than that.

Government departments should know that their success depends considerably on an efficient public relations department whose failure and inefficiency would have a catastrophic impact.