What are publics?
Publics are small groups of people who take an invested interest in a particular issue or topic, monitoring developments closely, and spending their time and money accordingly. Able to affect businesses both positively and negatively, they can take the form of satisfied customers or consumer advocates, either of which could have a profound impact on a company’s future. Any community or group that has a direct or indirect relationship with a business can be considered a public in a sense. Further to this, a public could be seen as the entity responsible for building a company’s reputation in the broader industry. Those with a pre-existing interest in an industry that a business might disrupt are able to influence how that business is seen in their sector.
Publics can affect many different facets of a business, including finance, media, and governmental regulations. For instance, a finance public such as banks, investors, or brokerage firms can affect not only whether or not they and their network invest but also how others in their industry perceive a company. A citizen-action public might be constituted of activists, consumer groups, or environmental groups and must always be paid close attention to. Affecting how consumers might feel about a product or business, public relations professionals must be aware of how the general public feels towards their product and navigate accordingly.
Businesses should develop detailed strategies to address each of these publics in order to maximise their reach. Communities can be seen as powerful vehicles with which brands can develop loyal customer bases. By tailoring products, advertisements, and media presence to specifically target the wants and needs of various publics businesses can grow rapidly and sustain profit over time. However, a business must always remember that publics consist of individuals and that the core intent of their venture must take precedence over the opinion of others.
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