Public relations is paramount in establishing and maintaining a good image and reputation. It is also a vital process in maintaining goodwill between a firm and their constituent groups. Public relations isn't just a way of telling the organization's story but also understanding the attitudes and concerns of consumers, employees, and various other groups. To improve communications, public relations specialists establish and maintain cooperative relationships with representatives of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups and with representatives from print and broadcast journalism.
Public relations is often subordinated to advertising, however public relations must be the interpreter of the organizations philosophy, policy, and programs. These messages can then be supported and reinforced through advertising. An increase in audience fragmentation means that it is more difficult to locate target audiences through the means of a traditional one-shot approach to advertising. Instead there is a need for synergy amongst codes of the promotional mix in order to maintain a consistent message.
A key attribute in public relations is informing the general public, interest groups, and stockholders of these messages as well as an organization's policies, activities, and accomplishments. This also involves keeping management aware of public attitudes and concerns of the many groups and organizations with which they must deal. Public relations specialists prepare press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. This can create public interest or "buzz" about a product or service which can lead to future advertising being far more effective to an already receptive audience.