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Who Are Your Publics?

Public relations activities are directed to an organization’s publics, groups of people with something in common. While your publics will include your target markets – consumers who currently or could potentially buy your products or services – your publics also include other influential groups and individuals who appreciate personal, engaging communication.

For example, a hospital’s customers are its patients, and the hospital’s mission is to do the best it can for the individuals in its care. In order to achieve this goal, the hospital has to strategically target and communicate with many other publics, sometimes referred to as its stakeholders (groups who have a stake in the hospital’s success).

A hospital’s internal and external publics or stakeholders would include:

  • Consumers – past, present and prospective patients
  • Family and friends of patients
  • Employees, including various categories of the hospital’s administrative, medical and maintenance staff
  • Doctors and other professionals affiliated with the hospital
  • Volunteers (those who help patients and those who help with fundraising)
  • Board of Directors
  • Donors
  • Investors
  • Neighborhood residents and businesses
  • Government officials – local, regional and national
  • Professional associations
  • Vendors selling services and products to the hospital
  • Media that would cover hospital issues

Given your marketing communications savvy, you know that you must attract new customers while keeping your current ones through repeat business. We should all, however, identify and remember our other publics: individuals and groups whose abilities, dedication or influence keep your business viable.

Thus, a public is a group with something (shared interests, demographics, goals, etc.) in common. Can you identify five of your publics?






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