PRSA’s New PR Definition – 3 possibles



A few months ago when PRSA announced that it was engaging the PR community in an ‘open and collaborative effort’ to modernize the definition of PR, there was a spate of posts from PR people.  Many applauded the crowd sourcing approach, but there were also detractors.

As with any such effort, there’s always the risk that individuals or groups with zero, limited or even slanted knowledge of public relations will chime in. There will also likely be a number of agenda-driven folks aimed at unfairly smearing PR.  Phil Gomes

Not sure PRSA’s “fill in the blanks” crowd-sourcing approach will yield the type of definition that truly reflects the enhanced role of PR in the era of social media. Inside PR.com

Edward Bernays, father of PR, defined PR as:

A management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interests of an organization. . . followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.

Here are three possible definitions PRSA published  this week:

  1. 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.
  2. Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.
  3. Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.

What do you think of these definitions?  Are they better than the original?  Do we need a new, more modern definition, or did Bernays get it right and all we need is an update on how we do it?

There is no doubt that we have new media and new tools.  The media has been dramatically impacted by the online world.  The way people get news and information has changed too.  But do the Internet and social media change the basics of what we do in PR, or do they just enhance the way we do it  – and give us more options so we can do it better?

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Posted by Sally Falkow On 12 January 2012 one Commented



One Response to “PRSA’s New PR Definition – 3 possibles”

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