From the Start: What is Public Relations in Japan?

Public Relations (PR) is the work done to raise public awareness about a company or brand. It’s the job of managing a brand’s reputation by providing positive news, earnings reports, job listings, and more to the media and other influential sources.

Originally the concept of Public Relations came from the United States, but the PR in Japan developed differently compared to the US and other western countries. For example, the Japanese Media requests press releases first. They don’t do rapid response, and we normally create press releases or newsletters to distribute to the media before we start media pitching. There are generally many differences, but here are the basics of PR in Japan.

Elements that make up a PR strategy

A public relations strategy consists of five elements:

Crisis management: A rigorous management plan to prevent negative news and information about the brand interfering with business operations.

Media contact and reception: Building relationships with journalists and press staff is paramount When there is newsworthy content, we will send the information via the media. because when there is newsworthy information, these are the people who develop content about that information.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Companies often benefit from being part of the local community, and PR personnel are responsible for establishing communication between the company and the community in an open and smooth manner. Through these CSR activities, companies can attract new talented people and give consumers a positive image.

Internal communication: Internal communication is very important to create a situation where all employees in the business understand the direction the company should aim for. Communication tools include emails, press releases, corporate announcements, and more.

Event Management: When it comes to hosting a press conference or event to share corporate news with an outside audience, it’s common for the PR department to organize it.

Specific examples of PR

Public relations activities are diverse, so here are some typical examples.

Investor Reporting: Providing quarterly investor reports on the status of the business to maintain investor confidence in the business.

Media production: Producing informational video and audio content about companies and disseminating them internally and externally. The goal is to provide valuable information to the target audience in an easy-to-understand manner.

Marketing Communication: Sharing information more efficiently by utilizing a channel dedicated to marketing. It includes activities such as posting articles on Facebook and Twitter to reach more people.

What makes PR important?

With the recent rise of social media, trending news can spread in an instant. In response to this trend, PR has become an even more important function for companies. Here are three important points that PR brings to a business.

Damage Control: Fake news have an instant negative impact on any business. As a result, PR professionals are responsible for properly implementing damage control measures and minimizing the damage that news can do to their company.

Branding: Contrary to common belief, it’s possible to create a recognized world-class brand by sharing company news, maintaining transparent business activities, and regularly publishing profit reports. Doing so may also drive product sales without complicated marketing/sales strategies.

Internal communication: As the company grows and opens new locations, sharing common values and knowledge of the company becomes more difficult for employees. The people in PR can manage these internal communications so that all employees can work toward one common goal.

What is the difference between PR and marketing?

Public Relations and Marketing often work together, but they are not the same role and require different skills to be in their respective fields. Now, we look at the difference between PR and marketing.  The differences:

Targeted Markets: Marketing departments speak to potential and existing customers to encourage them to buy more products. The PR department approaches those who are interested in the brand, who may become investors, journalists, or customers in the future.

Goals to aim for: Marketers focus on increasing ROI (return on investment) through sales. PR professionals, on the other hand, focus on building the brand and telling the story of the company around the world.

Duration of activities: Marketing activities can be divided into long term (SEO measures, content production) medium term (email marketing) and short term (advertising strategy such as PPC advertising), with measures that contribute to a variety of objectives. On the other hand, PR activities tend to emphasize the long-term activities of “building a brand.”

In Japan, there are many companies without separate PR and marketing departments, and companies often have a merged marketing communications department that handles both PR and marketing activities.