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Public Affairs definition

Public Affairs (© sewcream /

Public Affairs (© sewcream /

Public affairs are another form of public relations that refers to a very specific group. Large organizations have a great deal of information to impart to the public, as well as other groups that they are responsible to, so a PR department at a big company has a lot of jobs. This is just one department under that public relations banner.

Defining Stakeholders

The public affairs department is the PR subsection that deals with the stakeholders of a company. The stakeholders are such an important group, with such very specific needs, that in large companies it requires a specific department to ensure that they get the right information.

What defines a stakeholder is a little more complex. A stakeholder is pretty much anyone outside the company that has an interest in the success or failure of a company. This obviously includes shareholders, but the list is actually quite large. Often, politicians have a vested interest in a company.

That’s why lobbying groups exist; to foster the relationship between the politician and the company that represents their interests. In fact, lobbying is one of the most important functions in the political world, because it allows the views of the stakeholders to be clearly established with the policymakers. Other interested parties that might be known as stakeholders include clients, employees, local communities, business groups, charitable organizations, unions and of course, the media world. 

The Function of a Public Affairs Department

The public affairs department runs very much like the normal public relations department with a few modifications. First, the group of people that the information is going to is very specific. While a public relations department is concerned with public perceptions as a whole, the public affairs department is only concerned with communication between the company and the people that are in a position to influence company policy and decisions.

The public affairs department exists to provide the right kind of information to the right parties. As such, it is a little more complex than public relations. While PR is mostly about the image of the company in general, public affairs is about channeling information from the company to a specific person or party, and then channeling the feedback information to the company once again, to the right person within the company.

As such, public affairs is much more about maintaining tenuous relationships than PR. PA representatives are tasked with making sure that the shareholders of a company get the right financial information, as well as information on movement within the company that may affect their shares, but they are also responsible for ensuring that lobby groups, unions and the press gets the right information. In the last one, the public affairs department will often work directly with the public relations department.

openPR-Tip: It is not easy working in public affairs, but it can be extremely rewarding. The public affairs department is responsible for some of the most important company relationships, and fostering these relationships can be a very rewarding thing to do.

See also:

Press releases

Public Affairs Specialist to kickstart SMi Group’s #milsocialmedia Twitter Chat series for 2017
SMi Group will once again be conducting a series of Twitter chats in the lead to the 7th Social Media within the Defence & Military Sector conference in London. Opening the #milsocialmedia Twitter Chat series this year is Dr Stuart Thomson, Head of Public Affairs, Government and Infrastructure at Bircham Dyson
Strategic Analysis Market Future Growth with Worldwide Players (Strategic Public Affairs, Strategic Analysis Incorporated, The Strategic CFO, Strategic Compliance Partners, Strategic Insight, Strategic BCP et el) During 2019-2025
Global Strategic Analysis Industry 2019-2025 Market Research Report explores an in-depth insight of Strategic Analysis Market covering all important parameters including development trends, challenges, opportunities, key manufacturers and competitive analysis. Strategic Analysis Market report includes Development data, Future Growth, and this factor which is valuable & supportive to the business.
direct/ Glitnir (IS) - Invitation to investors, analysts and media
Glitnir Capital Market Day 13th of September Reykjavik/Oslo, 21 August 2006 - Please find detailed program for Glitnir´s first Capital Market Day in Reykjavik, Iceland, on Wednesday 13th of September. For input or questions; or mobile +47-47 800 100. Best regards, Glitnir Bjørn Richard Johansen International Communication and Public
direct/ Glitnir (IS) - New dial-in numbers for todays conference call
INTERNATIONAL TELEPHONE CONFERENCE Glitnir will host a telephone conference in English at 12.30 PM Iceland time, 2.30 PM Stockholm/Oslo and 1.30 PM UK time today Wednesday August 30. Bjarni Ármannsson, CEO, will give his comments to the Fitch Rating and answer questions. To participate, call +44 (0)20 7162 0025 (UK), +47
BCW Appoints Andrew Cecil as New Brussels CEO
LONDON / BRUSSELS, 8 April 2020 - BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), a leading global communications agency, today announced the appointment of Andrew Cecil as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BCW Brussels. Cecil takes on the role with immediate effect and will report to Scott Wilson, President, BCW, Europe & Africa