What is PR?
Sourcing our textbook, our group of three masterminds set out to create a definition. We combined the six key words and phrases provided: deliberate, planned, performance, public interest, two-way communication, and strategic, to come up with:
Public Relations is thought out, on-purpose, collaborative interactions of sending and receiving information with publics.
Through my reading I have discovered that we should have used the phrase: mutually beneficial relationships, because that part is typically emphasized in definitions of PR. (Cite every single source I read, PRSA’s website, our book, our professor, various blog posts online, etc.)
When I think of who works in public relations, aka a Public Relations Professional, I picture a business dressed woman (or man, not an important detail here) sitting at their desk writing a statement for an athlete, or some other public figure who has screwed up, and sending it to their agent so that they [our athlete] can stand up at a podium and read his proper apology.
Public Relations Professionals do more than that. I like my image, but the more I read on the subject, the more my image is turning into a movie of a-day-in-the-life. One image doesn’t suffice to describe who and what is involved in Public Relations.
The skills that a Public Relations Professional must have, listed in our textbook, include: writing, interpersonal communication, research, negotiation, creativity, logistics, facilitation, and problem solving. (Wilcox, 2013)
I began reading an article titled, The Missing PR Skill posted by Dick Martin that I found in PRSA’s journal articles. He adds the skill of ethics.
(side note: my CAP 380 class is currently Advertising/PR Ethics and Law. I LOVE when life comes full circle. It nerds me out. Seriously.)
I had a breakup with a company I really loved this summer. It is a wellness company that believes in supporting families. They grew, passing 1 billion in sales, and adding tons of new products to their store. I love their original products, they’re clean and natural and safe. The new ones have not-so-natural ingredients and, my own opinion here; the growth sacrificed the original ethics. I broke up with it.
“Now, to many people, ‘ethical public relations’ sounds like an oxymoron along the lines of ‘jumbo shrimp.’ But if the experiences of some of our leading institutions — secular and religious — have taught us anything in the last few years, it’s that large organizations can easily lose any meaningful connection with the ethical principles they espouse. Companies are just as vulnerable… So gather your communications skills, your technical skills, your knowledge of business. But in all your gathering, remember — to counsel clients, you have to know more than what to say, you have to know what to do.” (Martin, 2013)
Public relations is done by people. The ethics of the people who are doing the relating to publics defines what public relations actually is.
Martin, D. (2013, Aug 23). The missing PR skill. ComPRehension, doi: http://comprehension.prsa.org/?p=5449
Wilcox, D. L., Cameron, G. T., Reber, B. H., Shin, J. (2013). THINK: Public Relations. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.