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Defining Public Relations: Successful and Failed Examples

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Table of contents

  1. The Successful Example of PR Campaign
  2. The Failed Example of PR Campaign
  3. Conclusion
  4. Reference List

Public relation has numerous similar definitions used to explain it. However, the Public Relations and Communication Management of South Africa (PRISA) state that, “public relation is the management, through communication, of perceptions and strategic relationships between an organisation and its internal and external stakeholders”. It performs an incredibly significant role for the success of the organisation.

According to my own understanding, communication play one of the crucial roles in public relations. The public relations practitioner should apply it in a transparent manner; with this in mind, therefore, trust and open communication are always effective. The two-way communication is an important factor in the organisations. To influence, giving feedbacks, informing and to deliver speeches; communication must have a deep understanding on the target audience. Furthermore, communication advertising and other marketing skills are efficiently used to promote product and services available to the stakeholders. Meaning that it can determine the success or failure of the organisation as it depends on the stakeholder’s co-operation.

Good corporate image is surely driven by the public perception. Henceforth, the practitioners must be able to develop and maintain excellent business reputation on their public perspectives. To manage it the professional should advise the organisation to be fully honest, and in this case, they will gain more trust from them. Another key point to remember is having virtuous relationship with them and it is internal and external stakeholders.

Whether or not every business goal is to make maximum profit, and eventually it is possible for the business to achieve it but typically if they build a stronger and sustainable relationship with both their internal and external stakeholders. Certainly, if the organisation employees are happy the productivity is likely to increase. Another thing is that, if external stakeholders are perfectly satisfied their profitability is also possible to increase.

The Successful Example of PR Campaign

The “Google fight against Ebola”is one of the good examples of public relations. This campaign had played a remarkable role in that fight against the Ebola virus. Ebola was a deadly virus that affected the West Africa part’s mostly in rural settlements and then shortly it became a global epidemic. As it has it has killed enormous number of people, that brought too much attention to it international. Company’s programs and charities donated to help prevent the spread of the virus. In most cases newsworthy information was conveyed and distributed technological, specifically on Media.

Donations were made and technological companies that specialises in internet-related services and products such as Facebook and Microsoft donated millions of Dollars. However, Google also donated but using different strategy. The company promised that it will give $2 to every dollar donated on their side. According to my understanding, this was a perfect and successful strategy used as it has been officially benefited both the organisation and publics. In most instances, Google is mostly preferred tool to research. The numerous users donated on their site, and it is because they felt much power as they could have an opportunity to donate and participate in helping to stop the spread of the virus.

Google has gained and build a good corporate image. Their perception about Google has changed positively as It gets promoted through word-of-mouth for being so generous. Meaning, it has been indirectly marketed by public’s and they make it more popular.

The Failed Example of PR Campaign

Kentucky Fried Chicken is the world’s most famous fried Chicken restaurant chain. It had experience colossal disappointment relating to be selling unhealthy food, meanwhile they had wasted £8 million trying to make KFC to be healthier. Jenny Packward, head of brand engagement at KFC United Kingdom and Ireland said that, “it’s no good launching a product which looks good nutritionally, but nobody buys”.  Nevertheless, some of organisations chief nutritionist, supports them as to continue with their efforts because it is understandable; typically, most fast-food outlets meals are not always that healthier and better not to come if you are health-conscious, said by Dr Alison Tedstone.

This restaurant meals are mostly preferred by people in most instances, as other customers became very reluctant from their traditional deep-fried meals. Unfortunately, it still has lost more trust and gained bad perception from them. This may affect the franchise badly, as competitors had more advantage of having many customers. It is obvious that this had a direct impact on their productivity and negatively so. That causes decline in sales that potentially might lead to financial losses and profits depreciations. The KFC reputation was destroyed by that. The toppled image is likely to have a long-term impact on their target audience. This might even cause disinvestments by dominant investors and shareholders.


In summary, public relations is all about good relationship with the stakeholders, effective communication, and good publics’ perception. The way an organisation operates and present itself, contribute towards their corporate image. Google has gained good corporate reputation, whereas the KFC obtained some awful public’s perceptions that impacted their image. I would advise the organisation to accept their mistakes, solve it and make sure that it does not happen again. In conclusion, the public relations practitioner’s presences are vital to many organisations when facing such bad crises.

Reference List

  • Bodkin, H. 2019. The Telegraph. Kentucky baked chicken ¦KFC abandoned £8m healthier food scheme after disappointing sales. 
  • Linshi, J. 2014. Time. Google donation launches campaign to fight against Ebola. 
  • Skinner, C. Mersham, G and Benecke, R.2016:3. Handbook of public relations.11th edition. Johannesburg: Oxford University Press.

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