Agency 12: Public Relations
The Public Relations Agency is the twelfth agency in the community. The agency is the third agency in the Public Administration Bureau which also includes Agency 10 (Communication), and Agency 11 (Bylaws and IT Infrastructure). Agency 12 handles the community’s public engagements with the outside world as well as mass communications within the community. It also handles the equipment needed to access these services, including TV screens and radios.
How the agency works
Presidencies and boards
The Public Relations Agency is served by an executive presidency. The executive presidency has four presidents, who serve and represent the four main demographics in the community – married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D). The presidency sets the policies and strategies that guide the agency’s service delivery to participants and community agencies.
The three executive presidencies in the Public Administration Bureau form a 12–member bureau board. This board serves as an additional control mechanism for individual agencies’ decisions while providing a platform through which the three agencies can collaborate on common interests.
Based on the demographic group (division) that a president serves, they additionally belong to a demographic presidency. There are four demographic presidencies in the bureau, each with 3 presidents. Demographic presidencies provide a means through which presidents can discuss and advance their demographic’s interests. Demographic presidencies also play a leading role in the replacement of presidents. The presidencies are arranged as follows:
|Demographic presidency A||Demographic presidency B||Demographic presidency C||Demographic presidency D|
|Executive presidency, Communication (10)||10A||10B||10C||10D|
|Executive presidency, Bylaws/ IT Infrastructure (11)||11A||11B||11C||11D|
|Executive presidency, Public Relations (12)||12A||12B||12C||12D|
The automated system, village presidencies, and contractors
The Public Relations Agency provides its services through an automated system. The system can engage with participants and community public servants without the human involvement of the agency’s executive presidency. The executive presidency is responsible for setting up and running the system.
The automated system is connected to other agencies’ systems, giving it access to extensive information it needs to provide high-quality services to the community. For instance, it can use information on participants to run targeted marketing ads and promotions.
The village presidencies for business operations help the Public relations Agency, especially in instances where participants are unable to navigate the automated system. The village presidencies help the agency make the system better through the information they collect from participants.
The agency’s duties are delegated to contractors who are hired by the agency to provide specific services to participants at a fee. The agency charges participants for the services provided, from which it pays contractors, and maintains the system.
To start and run its operations, the Public Relations Agency receives capital from the Capital Bank Agency (agency 8). The agency pays a return to the bank on this investment. For specific asset requirements, the Public Relations Agency takes loans from the Industrial Bank (agency 9). It acquires the required assets in collaboration with the Business Operations Agency (agency 3), which helps the agency in renting out any assets needed.
The Business Operations Agency requires extensive advertising services to ensure that its services reach all participants who need them. The Public Relations Agency has extensive media connections, as well as the cable services it provides. It uses these services to run an automated advertising service for the Business Operations Agency.
The Recreation and Arts Agency also needs advertising services as it aims to have all participants engage in a recreational activity or an art, as part of maintaining their mental and physical health. The agency relies on the Public Relations Agency’s infrastructure to reach participants.
Functions of the Public Relations Agency
The Public Relations handles public relations and mass media communication services by performing the following services:
- Handling communication between the community and external entities
- Facilitating mass media communication
- Providing tools needed to access media
Handling public relations
The Public Relations Agency is the community’s spokesperson. In this capacity, the agency collects relevant information from different agencies, villages, and districts, and communicates it through relevant channels. The agency engages the press as the community’s face and voice. It also issues its reaction to developments in the outside world. The executive presidency performs this role through its automated system and contractors who issue the necessary press briefings and engage the media. The system aggregates information as desired by community agencies. The contractors can thereafter edit the information and package it for mass consumption.
In communicating with the public, the agency is expected to cultivate and maintain a positive brand for the community. The agency frequently highlights the community’s achievements and aims. The aim is not only to communicate to the public but to draw interest in how the community works. This, in turn, leads to investment in the community.
Facilitating mass media communication
The press has an important role in disseminating information in the community. The community fosters the presence of a vibrant and responsible media, by actively engaging with practitioners through the Public Relations Agency. The agency uses its position to encourage practitioners to gather, assess, and present information in a way that ensures the information is truthful, helpful, and generated using the right methods.
To ensure that this is the case, the Public Relations Agency liaises with relevant practitioners to ensure that they are well-trained. The agency assesses the practitioners before they set up their business, to ensure they understand their role properly. It can then issue them with accreditation to cover various topics within the community. Accreditation is a useful method of establishing professionalism in the discipline while ensuring that those who inform do so responsibly and for the public good.
The agency serves as a platform through which practitioners can collaborate not only in their work but in the regulation of professional practices. The agency hires contractors who work with practitioners to draw up regulations and implement them in their work. The regulations formulation process also incorporates other stakeholders, including participants and community public servants. The agency’s automated system is trained to receive information from the public and its own algorithm on any deviations. The agency has a set of remedies where issues occur, which range from requiring the withdrawal of misleading information to the withdrawal of accreditation in extreme circumstances.
Providing access tools
The Public Relations Agency builds, acquires, or hires the infrastructure and equipment needed by participants to access TV and radio entertainment and news. For instance, television services will often require cable services to reach their audiences.
The agency develops the infrastructure needed to host television programs. The agency then offers the service to businesses, in the form of frequencies, and encourages participants with relevant skills and expertise to set up channels, so that the service can have variety, and therefore, attract subscribers.
While channels will likely pay up to have their frequencies on the service, the agency may also give subsidies or even pay some channels if it feels the content they offer is critical, and will likely lead to more subscriptions, or substantially benefit participants. The service is not limited to businesses within the community. It also actively engages TV channels beyond the community to provide content that the agency deems appropriate.
The agency then engages participants to pay up subscriptions based on their preferences and ability, having come up with packages that are priced based on the nature of the content. As with other services, the agency achieves this through its automated system and contractors. The agency provides subscribers with set top boxes (television decoders) and installation where necessary, though some of the said infrastructure can be pre-installed as buildings are developed.
The Public Relations Agency also provides participants with the tools needed to access the services, namely television screens and radio sets. The agency uses the information at its disposal to approximate the demand for these services, and, with loans from the Industrial Bank Agency, procures them. It then hires contractors who handle the logistics of managing the hiring process, especially the delivery and collection of equipment rented out, as well as any maintenance required. The contractors are also tasked with studying the environment to establish when new equipment is needed or if existing equipment needs to be replaced.
Offices, meetings, and conferences
The Public Relations Agency’s executive presidency has its offices on the first floor of the district building 12’s western side. The trustees and regulatory agents who serve the agency sit across them on the eastern side as shown below.
Village presidents for business operations, who help the agency deliver on some of its roles have their offices on the third and fifth floors of their respective district buildings.
Working hours and meetings
The executive presidents work from Monday to Thursday, from 8:00 to 8:45 in the morning. This time is dedicated to meeting clients and normal operational duties as the office requires. On Thursday, the whole presidency (four presidents serving A, B, C, and D) meets for a 45-minute meeting from 9:00 to 9:45 in the morning.
On the last Friday of each quarter, between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, each demographic presidency meets. The three-member presidency discusses common bureau matters that are of interest to the demographic they serve. On Saturday, again between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM, the whole bureau board meets. Presidents present their input from the previous day’s demographic presidency meeting, and prepare for the quarterly conference. The aim is to have a cohesive presentation during the quarterly conference but tailored to specific demographic interests.
Quarterly conferences are held on the last Sunday of each quarter, from 9:00 Am to 3:00 PM, with a lunch break in between. During quarterly conferences, each demographic presidency sits together. Married men (A), married women (B), single women (C), and single men (D) all have different assembly halls. Married men use building 5’s lower hall, while married women use the same building’s upper hall. Single women use Building 17’s lower hall, while single men use the building’s upper hall.
The executive presidents sit on a stand where they are easily visible to the attendees. Each of the 24 executive presidents is allocated time to speak, according to a predetermined schedule. The assembly hall’s seats can easily switch alignment, enabling attendees to face whichever side the speaker is located. The assembly hall has an elliptical arch that enables speakers to be heard without the aid of microphones. All assembly halls are identical.
Demographic presidencies sit together on the same row, as highlighted in this graphic:
Some additional notes/definitions from an earlier version of this page:
Public relations is described as efforts to promote and maintain a favorable public image of an organization. It involves delivering information to the audience, packaging that information so that it is persuasive enough to alter attitudes and opinions and work towards aligning the attitudes of the organization with those of the audience. In the community, the public relations exercise takes no more dimensions than described in contemporary PR discourse. It is also a recruitment tool. The Public Relations Agency’s mandate is not only to its community but also to the whole system (Bernays, E. Public Relations. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952).
Public relations can be the difference between life and death of an organization. This is especially so when the competition is angling to benefit from a rival’s woes. While a community does not have competition per se, it will initially exist in a hostile environment, where any missteps will be amplified and dwelt on for longer (Bowen, S. An Overview of the Public Relations Function. New York: Business Epxert Press, 2010. Electronic).
Modern public relations practice involves the public relations expert as much more than a mere messenger for the organization. The office is expected to provide input before messages can be communicated so that their resonance with the target audience can be enhanced. This will be even more so in the community, where the agency is in many cases the only one with experience in handling external communications and engagements (Thurlow, A., A. Sevigny and M. Dottori. “Global Capabilities in Public Relations.” Public Relations Journal 11.3 (2018)).
Public relations exercises have traditionally been regarded as cosmetic measures by organizations to shield themselves from scrutiny. Today, however, they take aggressive measures to shape public opinion through the information they give out. The Public Relations Agency does not have to be responding to specific messages, but it targets its communication for maximum effect at aligning influencing public attitudes and opinions towards the whole community system (Bernays, E. Public Relations. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952).
In the contemporary business environment, branding is important as it improves a business’s recognition, in the process generation new customers. Branding also creates trust within the market, while also enhancing the pride and self-esteem of those associated with it. The Public Relations Agency will aim to have brand that can effectively attract external potential participants. A strong brand will also build trust as the community tries to engage external parties, including governments (Smithson, E. What Is Branding And Why Is It Important For Your Business? 14 10 2015. 11 07 2019).
Technology has for some time been advancing faster than social relations have. This has created a situation in which social relationships and organizations are usually caught flat-footed by fast-moving information, which concerns them, but which they have no power of manipulating or correcting to suit the truth or their interests. This calls for the presence of an aggressive public relations outfit to protect an entity (Breakenridge, D. Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc, 2012. Electronic).
Automated communication has been extensively applied in commerce and politics. It has the obvious advantage of a wide reach, uniform message, and low cost – both time and money. The Public Relations Agency will be wary not to suffer some of the pitfalls of automated communication – especially as seen in politics, where surreptitious communication techniques have been deployed to manipulate public opinion and deliberately misinform the public (Howard, P., S. Woolley and R. Calo. “Algorithms, bots, and political communication in the US 2016 election: The challenge of automated political communication for election law and administration.” Journal of Information Technology & Politics 15.2 (2018): 81-93)
By channeling most official communication through one agency, the community achieves a unified position in its dealings with the public. The community spokesperson, like a government spokesperson, affords different agencies the platform to harmonize their communication, and respond to issues as one (Kumar, M. Managing the President’s Message: The White House Communications Operation. Baltimore: John Hopkins University, 2007. Electronic).