Publics and Stakeholders- A public is any group whose members have a common interest or common values in a particular situation. A stakeholder has a stake in an organization or issue that potentially involves the organization. All stakeholders are publics, but not all publics are stakeholders.
The publics in PR can be categorized in many different ways: traditional and nontraditional; latent, aware, or active; intervening public; primary and secondary publics; internal and external; and domestic and international.
There are several questions we ought to ask ourselves about each public involving coorientation. For example, we might ask: What is the public’s stake in our organization? What is the demographic profile? What do members of the public think/believe/feel? Who are opinion leaders and decision makers of the public?
Traditional publics are groups with which organizations have ongoing relationships. Examples of some traditional publics an organization might have are employees, the news media, governments, investors, consumers, multicultural communities, voters, and other businesses.
In sum, it’s important to understand who all of your publics are including those who have many stakes and those who aren’t aware of their ties to your company. More than just knowing who they are we must understand their views of our companies and their values. Categorizing these publics helps make distinctions about how to best use resources in managing relationships with these numerous publics.