Meaning of Public Relations: Types, Purposes and Characteristics

Understanding and Purpose of Public Relations – In building an institution, whether it is an educational institution, a social institution, etc., it is very necessary to develop a positive image. In addition, a company that has been formed also needs a positive image. Either way, the positive image that exists in an institution or company equally means that its existence is viewed favorably by many people.

This positive image is very important for an institution or company to have so that the trust of the public or consumers continues to increase, so that they still want to work with an institution and still want to use goods and services from a company. When this positive image has begun to fade, it is best to immediately rebuild it so that it does not disappear.

The existence of this institution is fundamentally needed by society, especially educational institutions because, like schools. If an educational institution, school has a positive image, then there will be many parents of students who send their children to that school.

Meanwhile, every company must have the ability to produce or create a product and service and is highly dependent on sales results to the public or consumers. Therefore, it is necessary for a company to build a positive image so that consumers still want to use goods and services from a company.

The positive image that exists in these institutions and companies can be formed due to the role of a division, namely “Public Relations” or better known as “Public Relations”. The role of Public Relations can be said to be very crucial because without its presence an institution or company may not be recognized by the community. In other words, Public Relations is able to bridge the relationship between institutions or companies and the community or consumers.

Reader, already know what Public Relations is about? If you haven’t, don’t worry, by reading this article, your knowledge about Public Relations will increase. Come on, check out this article Reader.

Meaning of Public Relations

Public Relations is an abbreviation of Public Relations. While in terms of language, Public Relations comes from the English language, namely Public Relations (PR). While literally, Public Relations means relations with the public or society. Similar to what is expressed based on the Indonesian Language Dictionary (KBBI), Public Relations is a part of a government or private institution that conducts activities seeking public support for its efforts.

Meanwhile, quoted from the book Introduction to Public Relations , Harlow made a tentative conclusion about the meaning of Public Relations after examining approximately 472 definitions of Public Relations.

1. Special management functions that can help to build and maintain mutualistic relationships from communication, understanding, acceptance, to cooperation between organizations and the public

2. Assist management to continue to obtain information and be responsive to public opinion.

3. Responsible for putting the public interest first.

4. Having a role as an early warning so that it can help to anticipate the existence of trends as well as utilize research and ethical communication techniques as the main tool or means.

Based on Webster’s New World Dictionary , Public Relations is a relationship that is built with the purpose of connecting the community with the organization in order to be interconnected and create a community opinion or form an organizational image.

From some of these definitions, public relations or Public Relations is a management in a government or private organization that has the function of maintaining public relations with the organization. In other words, a government or private organization is very necessary to have Public Relations management. This needs to be done so that the positive image of an organization will always be well maintained.

The Meaning of Public Relations According to Experts

1. Howard Bonham

According to Howard Bonham, Public Relations is an art that aims to develop a public understanding in order to become better with the hope that public trust or empowerment towards an institution or organization will be higher.

2. JC Seide

JC Seide believes that Public Relations is an interconnected process starting from the efforts of management in order to obtain a good response and understanding from customers, the public in general, and employees.

3. International Public Relations Association (IPRA)

IPRA states that Public Relations is a management function that already has mature and sustainable planning within a parent organization or private institution with the aim of gaining understanding, sympathy, and support from various related parties.

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4. Scott M. Cutlip, Allen H. Center, and Glen M. Broom

Cutlip, Center, and Broom stated that Public Relations is a management function formed to create and maintain a good and beneficial relationship between the organization and the public that can produce a positive impact on the success or failure of an organization.

5. W. Emerson Rec

According to W. Emerson Rec, Public Relations is a continuous matter from the process of establishing a determination of service, attitude, and wisdom that is adapted to the interests of the public or group so that the person or institution obtains trust and a positive image from them (the public or group ).

6. Frank Jeffkins

Frank Jeffkins said that Public Relations is something in which there are all forms of communication that already have a plan, either inward communication or outward communication between the organization and the public in order to achieve a specific goal, namely mutual understanding.

7. Ruslan

According to Ruslan, Public Relations is a continuous process of management efforts to gain trust and understanding from customers, consumers, employees, and the public. Ruslan also differentiates PR relations within the organization or institution and outside the organization or institution. Internal public relations in the form of improvement and improvement by building corporate culture, such as motivation, discipline, job productivity, and improving service. Meanwhile, external public relations in the form of building trust and a positive image of the company as well as maintaining the image of the products that have been produced.

8. Edward L. Bernays

Edward L. Bernays stated that Public Relations is a management that functions to provide explanations to the community or the public, directly persuade the community so that they can change attitudes and actions, try to integrate the actions and attitudes of a problem that occurs with the community as well as from the community towards a problem the said.

Purpose of Public Relations According to Members

The purpose of public relations according to several different experts, among them:

1. According to Greener

Greener stated that the purpose of Public Relations is to make the community or public think more highly of you and your organization.

2. Abdurahman

According to Abdurachman, the existence of Public Relations aims to develop good will and obtain a favorable public opinion or to be able to develop cooperation that is built with a harmonious relationship with the public.

3. Kriyantono

According to Kriyantono, Public Relations has the purpose of creating an understanding in the form of public relations ( mutual understanding ) between an institution and the community, as well as building an image ( corporate image ), corporate image through CSR ( Corporate Social Responsibility ) programs, creating favorable public opinion , and creating good will and cooperation.

4. Ruslan

Ruslan thinks that the presence of Public Relations is used as a modern management tool that is structurally an integral part of an institution or organization.

5. Kusumastuti

According to Kusumastuti, Public Relations has the purpose of developing, building, and maintaining an attitude that can make both parties feel happy or not feel disadvantaged. In this case, the two sides in question are the public side and the organization or company side.

Purpose of Public Relations

Based on the objectives of Public Relations that have been expressed by several experts above, it can be concluded that the objectives of Public Relations include:

1. Building Relationships with the Public

A company or organization must be good at establishing relationships with the public, be it the community, consumers, or even the government. Not only establishing relationships, but public relations must also be maintained so that there are no misunderstandings between the two parties, namely the company or organization and the public. Things like that, become one of the goals of the Public Relations division.

2. Develop a Positive Image

The next purpose of establishing Public Relations is to develop a positive image. It is necessary for companies or organizations to develop a positive image so that the public or consumers believe in the quality of the company or organization. This positive image can increase the trust of the community or consumers, so that the “name” of a company or organization will always look good.

3. Improve Existence

In addition to building a positive image, Public Relations also aims to improve the company’s existence. The more people who know about the existence of a company, the more the production of a company is known to the community or consumers. In addition, the higher the company’s existence, the more partners will be willing to work together, so the company will progress further.

4. Maintain Internal Communication

The purpose of Public Relations is not only to go outside the company or organization, but the relationship from within should be well maintained as well. Therefore, the next purpose of Public Relations is to maintain communication from within, that is, communication between leaders and subordinates. A well-connected communication will create a good atmosphere as well, so that the company or organization will experience progress.

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Types of Public Relations

After discussing the meaning of Public Relations and the purpose of Public Relations, Public Relations or often known as Public Relations has several types. Below will be explained the types of Public Relations, namely:

1. Employee Relations

Employee Relations is a type of Public Relations that is very related to relationships in companies or organizations. As we know that the relationship between employees or members must be well maintained so that the company or organization can experience progress, so that the community gets to know it more. It cannot be denied that if the relationship between employees or members does not go well, it is most likely that the company will not experience progress.

Thus, it can be said that Employee Relations is a type of Public Relations that is responsible for maintaining the relationship between employees and leaders or leaders and members. The key to maintaining that relationship is the communication done by Employee Relations.

2. Government Relations

Every production made by a company must be in accordance with the regulations or rules that have been made by the government. Therefore, it is necessary for the Public Relations division to be familiar with various government regulations. The type of public relations related to government regulations is Government Relations . In short, this type of Public Relations serves to connect the government with the company so that there are no misunderstandings.

This type of public relations is usually present in every company in Indonesia. This is because every company building, creating production, etc. must comply with government regulations. When violating government regulations, the company will be subject to sanctions, so that it can make the company get a negative image.

3. Customer Relations

Customer Relations is Public Relations management which is responsible for establishing good relations with parties outside the company, such as the public or consumers. Sometimes this kind of public relations can be said to be one of the ways to ensure that the company’s products are still used by consumers, so that consumers do not switch to products from other companies.

In this type of public relations, good relations between companies and consumers are usually in the form of facilities in the form of information services for consumers. This facility was created to obtain evaluations from consumers in the form of shortcomings and the company tries to provide the best information to consumers.

4. Media Relations

In a company or organization it is very important to establish a relationship with the mass media, journalists, etc. This needs to be done because news sources from the media are very influential on the sustainability of a company or organization and can give a positive image to the company or organization. If a company or organization cannot work well with the media, it is likely to create a negative image.

Therefore, there is a type of Public Relations Media Relations . This type of public relations has a very important battle because it has to connect the public relations of the company or organization with the media. This is because in a media there will be many images that will be produced, so that companies or organizations cannot make fatal mistakes.

5. Community Relations 

Every company or organization will definitely need cooperation or find a partner to develop the organization or company. Therefore, it is necessary for the company or organization to establish a good relationship with the partners or partners that are invited to work together. This is important to do for the progress of the company or organization that has been established.

The type of Public Relations that has the task of doing and maintaining a good relationship with this partner or partner is Community Relations . With the presence of this type of Public Relations, the cooperation with partners will be well established, so that the company or organization can grow well as well. In addition, with the presence of this type of Public Relations, the positive image of the company will remain awake.

Characteristics of Public Relations

Quoted from the book entitled Communication: Theory and Practice by Onong Uchjana Effendy, the characteristics of Public Relations are as follows.

1. Launched communication takes place in two directions on a reciprocal basis.

2. The activities carried out consist of information dissemination, persuasion activities, and public opinion research.

3. The goal to be achieved is the goal of the organization where PR is the parent.

4. The intended target is the audience inside the organization (internal public) and the audience outside the organization (external public).

5. The expected effect is the building of a harmonious relationship between the organization and the audience.


This Public Relations division is very necessary for every company or organization because with this division, a positive image can be formed well. This positive image is very necessary for the progress of a company so that its production results are consumed or used by consumers. In addition, the Public Relations division also plays an active role in maintaining communication between leaders and subordinates and maintaining relations with the government. So, it can be said that the Public Relations division should be in a company or organization.