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Starting to develop a public relations plan:
Drafting a PR mission statement for First Prize Glass

This page addresses the first step in developing a strategic public relations plan using several different public relations mission statements that might be appropriate for this hypothetical company.

Please note:   This page is a hypothetical exercise in strategic public relations planning for a fictious company -- First Prize Glass. If you have not read the description of the company, please do so now. You should also have read the articles Developing a public relations plan and Planning starts with mission statements before beginning this exercise.

For the best learning experience:   Write your own public relations mission statement for First Prize Glass before reading the article below. Then, compare your draft to those discussed here. Remember, however, there is not just one correct mission statement. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of ways to express an organization's mission, any of which can be acceptable if the communication team and top management agree that it adequately reflects what needs to be done.

Michael Turney, Ph.D., ABC
Professor Emeritus, Northern Kentucky University

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Just as an organization's mission statement summarizes what the organization is, what it does, and what it wants to accomplish, a public relations department's mission statement should reflect what it is, what it does, and what it hopes to accomplish. However, neither a public relations department nor any other operating unit within an organization functions solely for its own ends. These units exist to help their parent organization achieve its goals, and their mission statements should reflect and support the organization's overall mission.

A mission statement can be as short as a slogan, or it can be fleshed out to several pages in length. The best public relations mission statements probably fall somewhere between these extremes. They're long enough to be somewhat specific about what the public relations department does but short enough that they'll actually be read and not just be left in a desk drawer.

First Prize Glass practices mutual satisfaction public relations.

The first example below is a typical "short and sweet" mission statement that could be used for First Prize Glass. It's a very short and largely generic statement that's almost a definition of public relations. It could be adapted to almost any organization simply by changing the name, as long as that organization and its public relations staff believed in and practiced third phase public relations that emphasizes mutual adaptation. It would, however, be wholly inappropriate for a public relations unit whose primary activity is publicity in the classic first phase mode.

Version 1
Mission of the First Prize Glass
Public Relations Department

The public relations department’s primary responsibility is to help First Prize Glass maintain positive, mutually beneficial relationships with all of its associates and publics through open and effective two-way communication.

The second possible mission statement is a bit more detailed and identifies some of the specific activities and supporting roles the public relations unit is expected to perform. However, it too provides a quick summary of how the public relations staff thinks about public relations and what it's supposed to be.

Version 2
Mission of the First Prize Glass
Public Relations Department

The public relations department is the company’s primary channel for telling the First Prize Glass story.

Customers, potential customers, vendors, suppliers, and the general public are informed of First Prize Glass products and operations through advertising, packaging, and plant tours, as well as news releases disseminated through the mass media and trade press. Employees and stockholders are informed of internal developments and external conditions that affect First Prize Glass through meetings, announcements and various publications.

The public relations department also monitors what other companies, activist groups, government agencies, customers, and individuals say and do that might affect First Prize Glass and keeps the management team aware of developing concerns and issues it may need to address.

The third example starts with a concise general statement similar to the first one but adds several themes and long-term goals as bullet-points. It is an unusually long departmental mission statement and would not be acceptable in all organizations. But, it could be acceptable at First Prize Glass in light of the level of detail included in First Prize's overall mission statement.

Note that each of the bullet-points in the public relations department's mission statement directly corresponds to a similar bullet-point in the company's overall mission statement.

Version 3
Mission of the First Prize Glass
Public Relations Department

The First Prize Glass public relations department strives to maintain positive, mutually beneficial relationships with all of the company's employees, shareholders, associates, and publics through open and effective two-way communication. Toward this end it will ...

  • foster the image of clear and sparkling crystal as being as precious and sophisticated as diamonds;
  • present First Prize Glass as the world's foremost maker of fine stemware, crystal awards, and glass sculptures;
  • emphasize First Prize's long history of producing exceptionally high quality products in all promotional materials from product packaging to news releases;
  • significantly expand media contacts overseas and develop language and culture appropriate mechanisms for expanding the awareness of First Prize Glass outside the United States;
  • cooperate with the marketing department to showcase new products as they become available;
  • develop positive relationships with the investment community – brokers, investors, SEC, and other regulators – which had previously been unnecessary when First Prize was a family-owned company;
  • reassure family members that their legacy is safe and that First Prize Glass will not turn into a cold-hearted and aloof corporation.

Once an appropriate public relations mission statement has been developed, planning can move ahead into the audience and goal identification phase of the strategic planning process. If you've already read about this, you can click on the yellow link below to move into this stage of the hypothetical planning exercise for First Prize Glass.

Move on to the next step in the planning process.
Identify appropriate target audiences for First Prize Glass
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