Although experts in Public Relations make products like events or official statements to the press, what they do, in fact, is to offer services. The value of the product comes from the time spent on its development, from the importance of the information and the manner of presenting it. The time spent on organizing the event is usually longer than the event itself. The variable – and the value – are given by the creativity, intelligence and involvement that the expert brought to the project (either those mentioned above, or booklets and web-sites). Writing or drawing a booklet or a web-site could cost less than producing them but its success stays in how efficiently it can see, shape and deliver the message.
The difficulty of the services’ value stays in the fact that they have little to do with the physical action. The intellectual abilities and creativity of an individual or an organization / institution may allow him take a responsibility he didn’t have before and do a better thing than the experts may who have been working in that field of activity for years. Actually, what measurement does is to strengthen the status quo, when the development of new approaches would me more important.
The first rule of selling skills is to establish the need for a product or a service. It is difficult to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it. This is another barrier in evaluating services in Public Relations. Even nowadays some managers don’t use Public Relations so much and even if they do it they are not willing to pay too much for them. The idea is that perception of a circumstance is as valid as the facts of the circumstance, in terms of value.
On the relative scale of values, in what business services are concerned, Public Relations are under counciling, legal advice, publicity and marketing. Why? It might have to do with the old thinking about relations perceived as a part of the field of the organization’s survival and success and the perceived quality of the services’ providers.
The second way of evaluating services in Public Relations is by comparing them with similar services. Nevertheless any estimation is uncertain because if the programme has a different aim from Public Relations programmes that were carried out before, this one’s cost will be different. Then, even if the programmes were identical, the conditions of the business environment and general environment could make it more expensive to implement. For example, it is easier to deliver information about sexual education of students from a liberal university than to deliver the same information for students in a conservatory university.
By Raluca Filip