Can anyone agree what Public Relations is? The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the industry’s largest trade organisation, has just announced a working definition. It’s a thoughtful attempt to work out what most people feel they understand but have trouble articulating.
The PRSA announced the project as a competition and encouraged suggestions via its website. As might be expected the project, “Public Relations Redefined and Deconstructed” was given an exemplary PR launch, with the NYTimes covering the process. Entries poured in from a diverse group including PRs, academics, as well as Joe Public. Over 900 definitions were submitted over the two-week period.
The final winning definition is:
Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.
While it may not set the world on fire it does focus on the heart of the work; building a relationship between an organization and its various stakeholders.
The PR Verdict: “B” for the working definition of PR. It makes sense and is clear. Just a shame it doesn’t make the industry sound more exciting.
Relationships are tough to manage; for individuals and for organizations. It is no surprise that relationships are at the heart of the definition. On a practical level though what would really help eliminate a lot of confusion would be a sub question to identify what is the difference between marketing and PR. Here there is never ending confusion and disappointment as expectations fail to be set in advance. If the PR industry wants to improve its image, then the difference between the two needs clear articulation.
To read more about the PRSA working definition click here.
For futher reading on this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/business/media/public-relations-a-topic-that-is-tricky-to-define.html
What is your PR Veridct on this definition? Have your say: