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The Role of Public Relations and Branding

We all know that public relations is the art (or science) of developing a public face for a person, product, or company. There are simply no large companies in this day and age that can afford to allow their public relations to run on its own. This is something that needs to be controlled, sometimes on a daily basis, and that is done with public relations and branding.

Public relations and branding go hand in hand as they are both concerned with establishing a feeling or a need in the consumer or other entity. If you take Kentucky Fried Chicken, for example, you will see how much public relations and branding has gone into developing and sustaining this company over time.

Kentucky Fried Chicken was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, known to many as “The Colonel.” In fact, to many people who are old enough to remember, this was how the company was branded. Instead of someone saying today that they were going to “KFC” for dinner, if you were eating it back in the 1970s, you would say that you were having “The Colonel” for dinner.

Kentucky Fried Chicken as a brand has continued to evolve, to the point where most young people today only know it as “KFC.” This is no accident. Public relations and branding worked together to steer clear of the “F” in the name, which stands for “fried.” Once sentiment toward fried food started to change, Kentucky Fried Chicken used the abbreviation to obscure the fact that the food was fried.

Further branding changes have actually resulted in an altered menu, offering grilled chicken, as this is what the public is demanding. But their initial branding was so powerful that most people will still recognize the cartoon Colonel and the shape and color of the building and think of fried chicken! That goes to show how extremely powerful a brand can be.