PR (Public Relations) is about your reputation, and how you are (and want to be) perceived.
What is PR?
Many companies, organisations and individuals in the public eye employ PR companies to build, protect and maintain their reputation, as it is their most valuable asset.
A ‘public’ is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about a company, organisation, or individual, and could include customers, potential customers, suppliers, staff, the general public, and of course the media. The job of a Public Relations department or company is to be aware of the needs or concerns of these groups, and to make sure (or attempt to!) that the actions of the company, organisation, or individual will be seen in a positive light by them.
How do PR companies do that?
The most obvious way is by press release – that is, sending positive messages to the public (usually via the media, but also on the individual/company website and social media) about the individual or company.
There are also other ways to influence how the public views individuals and companies, such as holding events (particularly to launch a product or service) and holding tv/radio interviews. The most appropriate way to get the message across will depend on the circumstances and individual/company preference, and it may be appropriate to use more than one method to make sure your message is getting across!
Crisis Management is when PR companies really earn their money. If a company or individual has worked hard at their PR then it is possible to reduce the effect of a crisis (either self-inflicted or not) by reminding the public of the previously good reputation. It is also possible to enhance your reputation through the way you deal with a crisis.