The Constant Debate Around PR’s Definition
Public relation, which is now a formal practice dates back in the 20th century. It has been defined in different ways with its definition evolving around the roles played in technology advancement and communication. The explanation we used for the class is that public relations are the management of communication between an organization and the public. Although this is right, different organizations have a different perception of public relations definition.
The Constant Debate Around PR’s Definition
Public relations can be defined as how the organizations or the companies and individuals communicate with the media and the public. In this type of definition, a PR specialist is perceived to pass information to the target audience through media, either directly or indirectly, to create public and maintaining a positive image to the public. According to Prowly Magazine, this definition was adapted in 1982 by PRSA National assembly. In 2011 and 2012, this organization led international crowdsourcing campaign and a public vote to update the meaning of public relation to the strategic communication process between public and organizations that builds mutually beneficial relationships.
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has a different view on the definition of public relations. They argue that for organization survival and success, be it large or small depends on its reputation with the public. Reputation In today’s market is considered as an asset because it’s the only thing that makes an organization stand out among other organization and crowd having an excellent competitive ground. Effective PR helps in managing reputation by ensuring the co-existence of a good relationship between the organization stakeholders through communication. In their candid definition, CIPR defined public relations as “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour or the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its public”(Kowal 2020 ).
The Public Relation Institute of Australia (PRIA) defines public relation as a “ management function involving effective communication between an organization and the people, and the organization that may be interested in, concerned about or need to know how they may be affected by the activities or plans of the organization.” Their definition is based on effective communication that is of considerable significance in successful operations of the organization. Between the organization and the people. Their definition describes public relations as a two-way process between the organization and the public (Media Asset, 2019).
According to Prowly magazine PR practitioners also have different ways of defining public relations. One of the practitioners by the name Daniele Hibbert who is a senior project manager at Belfast is quoted in the Prowly magazine describing public relations as to how different organizations and individuals are perceived in relevance to their reputation. His argument is based on heavily media relations. Other public relations practitioners like Rafat Salak who is the lead communication at Prowly magazine defines public relations as a communication of an intended message that aims in the shift of the public attitude, who is the audience (Kowal, 2020).
Although there are many definitions of public relations, they all tend to be close to the class definition of public relation. Their definition revolves around how an organization presents itself to the public intending to create a positive image or reputation by either use of media like radio and television or other communication like feature stories in magazines and newspaper and interviews. Their definitions revolve around the organization, the public and communication. Public relations can be defined further by their goals (Kowal, 2020).
Organization success in today’s world is determined by the power to sell products and services to the public in the competitive market. One way they get this done is through public relations. With this in mind, public relations can be defined as a way organizations set certain activities designed to persuade the public to purchase their products and services through specific set goals.
Public relation can be defined as a way of creating awareness to the public of goods and services an organization offers. Organization public relations and communication goals are to create awareness of their products and services to the public. Despite organization goods and services being the best in the market, they are considered of no use if the public is not aware of them. Public relation and communication are essential in creating awareness of the organization brand. This can be done through simple steps that involve the use of concise and clear words that are easily understandable.
In addition to that, the other goal of public relations is an attitude adjustment. Public relation campaign well used can change the consumer attitude against the organization product. Several organizations have endured negative press media varying from the fraud to unsatisfied customers. During this period organization uses effective public relations to shape the public attitude towards organization products. The most effective public relations of changing the attitude of the people include; giving to charity, community involvement, and positive advertisement such as the use of commercial billboards or advertisement that invokes the feelings.
Moreover, good public relation and communication should receive feedback. The feedback enhances interaction with the public and allows the organization to hear the truth from the consumers. The public aids to the success of an organization; hence if the organization listens to the feedback and diligently working on them, it will lead to organizational success.
Public relation can also be defined by how an organization provides information to the public about their products and services. This is done through media advertisement and campaigns done at providing valuable information about goods and services offered by the organization.
When public relations is defined in terms of goal, one can quickly notice that’s all goals of public relations ranging from creating awareness, product information, attitude adjustment and feedback are based in building and maintaining credibility with the target audience. Such credibility, which is also known as the reputation, is what sells the brand of the company. The process involved in creating credibility with the target audience always consists of the use of public relation to communicate or deliver information to the public through the media or campaigns.
Public relations can also be described or be defined in the way it builds brand recognition. Public relations helps the brands tell their stories. Generally, public relation is perceived as storytelling. This helps greatly the brands bring their stories in an authentic manner and away that will attract buyers. Its always about the process of telling the story and determining who to tell the story through media advertisement or campaigns.
In addition to that, Public relations plays a vital role in helping brands identify their target audiences. For a brand to sell, it must engage the right audiences. A good example can be shown where a brand engaging medical devices that help the elderly in the community who are losing their eyesight should focus on the elderly and their caregivers(Pietsch, 2019).
Moreover, Public relations help the brand select the right channel for communication. Once you identify the target audience, its easy to come up with ways to communicate with them. One needs to know who are the key influencers and the topics they are sharing in social media. There are many ways that one can create a communication channel. This ways vary from the media advertisement to billboards, newspaper and magazines and also campaigns (Pietsch, 2019).
In conclusion, although many people think of public relation as bold, front-page feature stories in the newspaper, high profile press conferences or the glitz and the glamour of TV interviews, we can say with certainty. However, public relations has to deal with many more than that; communication and media are essential factors in public relations. The class definition of public relation and other definitions of public relations by different public relationship institution and the practitioners revolves around one thing of maintaining a good relationship between the organization, media, and the public in a bid to create a positive image or reputation. When public relation is defined according to the goals, we arrive at the same point that indeed the primary purpose of public relation is to build and maintain credibility with the target audience. Others term this credibility as a reputation, and it’s a great asset to a company in selling its brand to the public. Public relation is also seen to build a brand in a different communication channel. These channels include the media and the campaigns that are carried to enhance brand awareness. We can also see that it’s through the public relation that creates the brand positive relationship with the public, which aids the brand to stand out alone in a competitive market.
Goals of public relations. (2020). Retrieved April 30, 2020, from
Kowal, E. (2020). What is the definition of Public relations? Prowl Magazine. Retrieved from
Media Asset. (2019). What is it? Retrieved April 30, 2020, from https://www.pria.com.au/public-
Pietsch, V. (2019). Guest Blogger: Victoria Pietsch – Pushkin Public Relations. Retrieved April
30, 2020, from http://insyntrix.com/about/marketing-tips/5-ways-pr-can-build-your-brand
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