[Written for the CIPR Friday Roundup]
Following the momentum the PRSA's #prdefined initiative is achieving, and the CIPR's statement of support, I thought I'd take a deeper dive into current definitions, and throw one in the mix myself.
I reproduced the section of my book that addresses the definitions of marketing and PR in my last post, and since then I've been able to have some insightful conversations, on- and off-line, with Jay O'Connor, Jon White, David Phillips and Terry Flynn.
Is it worth it?
There has been some valid criticism of the PRSA initiative pivoting around the question: shouldn't we invest time and energy in improving practice to live up to current definitions than review those definitions we already have? The counter to this argument is apparent for those tracking the thousands of comments on line; it appears that more than a few practitioners indirectly criticised by those holding this point of view are actually questioning their own appreciation of public relations, if not actively revising it.
PR is the discipline that looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.
My favourite definition, no word of a lie! I obviously love the reference to influence, but also the apparently unique and skilful avoidance (intended or otherwise) of communication, thereby emphasising the objective not the means. But when 'reality is perception', as is increasingly the case with the radical transparency lent by social media, reputation is built by everything an organisation does (or indeed does not do), not just what the PR team does; every one must be involved in "looking after" reputation. Read more