Public Relations Managers and Specialists
I. JOB SUMMARY
Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society
Overview: Public relations managers review press releases and sponsor corporate events to help maintain and improve the image of their organization or client. Public relations managers help clarify their organization’s point of view to its main audience through media releases and interviews. They monitor social, economic, and political trends that might affect their organization, and they recommend ways to enhance the firm’s image on the basis of those trends. For example, in response to concern about damage to the environment, the public relations manager for an oil company may create a campaign to publicize its efforts to develop cleaner fuels. In large organizations, public relations managers often supervise a staff of public relations specialists. They also work with advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to ensure that advertising campaigns are compatible with the image the company or client is trying to portray. For example, if a firm decides to emphasize its appeal to a certain group, such as young people, the public relations manager needs to make sure that current advertisements are well received by that group. In addition, public relations managers may handle internal communications, such as company newsletters, and may help financial managers produce an organization’s reports. They may also draft speeches, arrange interviews, and maintain other forms of public contact to help the organization’s top executives. Public relations managers must be able to work well with many types of specialists. In some cases, the information they write has legal consequences. As a result, they must work with the company’s or client's lawyers to be sure that the information they release is both legally accurate and clear to the public.
Public relations specialists typically represent and maintain the public image (or “branding”) of a company, non-profit, or even individuals. They often communicate news regarding their client to the media and handle their social media outlets as well with the goal to increase their client’s presence or garner support for their missions. If a public relations specialist’s client is trying to spread awareness of their organization across state lines, or even internationally, a broad knowledge of geographic awareness would benefit them greatly. Some regions of the United States might respond to different types of messages or advertisements due to differences in culture and lifestyle, and they must know how to communicate with international partners to ensure that their client’s vision is being translated correctly so that messages remain consistent.
Geography skills and awareness are crucial for public relations managers and specialists. The public relations campaigns that they oversee need to be culturally, socially, and economically appropriate for their target audiences. Those variables are often tied to, and change with, location.
Geographers at work: Business geographer, industrial geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, environmental geographers, human geographers
Recommended College Courses: Business geography, urban geography, economic geography, cultural geography, industrial geography, human geography, Location Analysis
Skills: Understanding of economics, finance, markets, human behavior, as well as how public relations are influenced by geography (people and places); computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork; Interpersonal skills; communication; Human geography; cultural geography; qualitative and quantitative research skills; advertising; creative
Occupation Group: Management & Media and Communication
Learn more about Public Relations Managers and Specialists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/public-relations-managers.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson and Ally Schlandt
II. POWERFUL GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE