Public Relations – What, How, Who?

Public Relations Definitions

“What is Public Relations?” This question gets asked dozens of times daily. A simple question it is, yet it has managed to acquire several definitions throughout the world. Essentially, Public Relations (PR) deals with publicizing the image, reputation, intentions or purposes of organizations, groups and individuals in the best possible way – regardless of the actuality of the situation. In other words, the primary objective of PR is this – the represented body or individual must “come up smelling like roses”. There has been growing concerns that the purpose of public relations is merely to spin the truth of a matter. While this perception is understandable, it arises from the misunderstandings about the role of public relations. The fact that PR agents provide representation for an organization, does not mean they have the authorization to lie on that organization’s behalf. It means however, that PR professionals have the full responsibility of highlighting the positive aspects and benefits of their respective organizations, in the context of that representation.

Other Definitions:

– Public Relations can also be defined as the management of understanding and communications between organizations/individuals and the wider society through various media platforms. It bridges the gap between the two thereby ensuring mutual adaptability and coexistence.

– Public Relations is a discipline in business that measures public perception of and attitude towards an organization or individual and thereby seeks ways to secure its trust and acceptance. It examines the programs and policies of the respective organization and highlights their benefits and goodwill that serves public interests.

As such, Public Relations has developed into diverse areas of specialization so as to focus on specific functions. There are Marketing and Advertising PR, Government PR, Financial PR, Consumer PR (not to be confused with marketing), Industry PR and others. They implement various information technologies (IT) and techniques such as Social Media and Networking; Press Releases; relating directly with journalist among others measures, in an effort to get their messages across. Marketing and Advertising PR, in particular, are even more likely to implement such media and techniques in their campaign strategy. With new forms of IT being introduced daily, they seize every opportunity to reach as many of their niche audience as possible.

With that said, PR professionals are expected to abide by certain Code of Ethics and Conduct that are set in place. This is for the purpose of regulating their activities and eliminating possibilities of misinformation to the general public. As alluded to before, the instances of spinning an issue is also reduced by these measures as Public Relations professionals are held accountable for their actions and any misleading information that they may issue.