How Important Is a Public Affairs Consultant?

Although the term public relations is well known by the general public, when prodded for details, even companies or public figures that can most likely benefit from the services of a public affairs consultant are hard pressed to provide accurate depictions of the advantages of public relations, except in general and lackadaisical terms.

In the reality of the 21st century, business and political strategy or policy, marketing issues, communications in all of its various forms, as well as public relations, are all part of the same forum. Service consultants, such as polling, market research, or social marketing tend to focus on a specific area of expertise, whereas a public affairs consultant needs to be cognizant of all aspects related to business or political communications to the public.

Public relations is largely considered as a rather glamorous field, as any company large enough will most likely boast of its own in-house PR department. When this function is performed efficiently and effectively, it can be more economically advantageous than most traditional methods of marketing and advertising and still reach a large audience of interested parties.

A few significant benefits that a public affairs consultant can bring to the table:

* Reinforces and stimulates awareness of issues, products or services, magnifying the demand thereof.
* Projects the image of an innovative company that helps build the brand.
* A highly effective PR campaign can reduce competitors to playing defensive catch up.
* Heightens credibility with a general public that has become jaded with traditional forms of advertising.
* Improves precise search engine visibility, resulting in better organic performance.
* Highly cost competitive method of targeting large audiences.

The preferred method for public relations is the use of media, which is generally regarded as providing unbiased and sometimes opposing opinions without undue compensation that can skew the information delivered. A positive review of a public figure, a product or service, lends itself to the perception of impartiality, whereas insiders are viewed as biased sources of information.

Moreover, a well structured public relations campaign can offer more details than other promotional methods, as the media can devote relatively more space and time in covering the relevant issue. Furthermore, an article published at one media outlet can be picked up by other media outlets and can practically go viral.

As can be seen, a public affairs consultant needs to know the subtlety that differentiates positively marketing a person or product and the utter importance of being newsworthy at the same time. Attention inducing creativity thus becomes an art form rather than something that was taught in marketing school.

Success in a well executed public relations campaign may require a cross section of multiple disciplines that demands extensive and effective communications between not only the designers of the campaign, but more importantly, the objectives of the clients need to stand out at the forefront and take priority, with the agenda set out the main focus.

This is not to suggest that a campaign run by a public affairs consultant is always moderate in price, as the highly skilled services offered can command premium compensation; however, it is the media strategies deployed that can result in a higher return on promotional costs.