According to the renowned Excellence study, public relations is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and its publics. One might argue that one can't aim to please (benefit) everyone, so it might be more appropriate to emphasise mutual understanding rather than mutual benefit, as indeed the CIPR's current definition of PR does.

Despite the common association of PR with spin (spin a yarn, make up a story), the PR professional focuses on symmetrical communication based on truths and understanding. Indeed, I like to say that whilst 'perception is reality' may have been a dominant axiom for 20th Century practice, the 21st Century professional acknowledges that changes to media, communications technology and societal expectations now renders 'reality is perception' more appropriate.

But what is truth? Read more