The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) have recently been working on a project to produce a conclusive, up-to-date definition for PR. As a PR student this is certainly a very interesting project, from day one of our course we were introduced to just some of the hundreds of current definitions. This can certainly be extremely confusing and for the first few weeks many of us were a little bit lost about exactly what we were supposed to be studying. A year and a half later we are a lot clearer however if you asked me to give you a definition for PR I would probably struggle to produce a definitive answer. Is it possible to define PR? Thousands of people work in PR roles, are we to understand that all their jobs can be contained under on umbrella definition? Highly unlikely. One person’s idea of PR is going to differ from other peoples. This does not mean this project is a waste of time, it has encouraged practitioners into thinking about how the PR industry is defined and also how it is understood by the public. And a clear definition would certainly clear up questions my family have about just what it is that I study! The PRSA have now narrowed their definitions to three candidates:
- Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.
- Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.
- Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.
What do you think about these definitions? Which one would you choose? Or would you choose to define PR in a completely different way?