Many companies use Public Relations (PR) for marketing purposes. Typically such PR work is controlled by the marketing department or director and, as we have seen, is used alongside advertising and other promotional techniques. Corporate PR is distinct from this. It is typically run by a senior person, backed up by only a small team of helpers. Though seldom a member of the board of directors, he or she often reports directly to the chief executive and certainly has a great deal of direct contact with the CEO and other senior staff. The term “PR” is normally dropped in favor of “Corporate Communications,” “Corporate Affairs,” or just “Communications.” The duties consist of managing the overall reputation of the company and its standing in the outside world. This is something that matters enormously to Chief Executives, who know that their jobs can be only one news story away from oblivion and that even the most powerful organizations are surprisingly vulnerable to hostile comment. CEOs seldom have the skills, experience, or confidence to deal with such difficulties on their own.
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