Defining Public Relations Essay

1009 words - 4 pages

The question that many scholars and public relations (PR) professionals ask concerns the definition of public relations. In this writers opinion, PR refers to the perception or image the public has of a company. The fundamental goal of a company is to have favorable opinion from current and potential customers. The company needs sales in order to be profitable and any negative publicity can affect the company's fiscal well-being and profits. PR has various definitions and the debates of the definition are numerous. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PSRA), they have formally adopted a definition of public relations which has become the most accepted and widely used. The definition as follows "Public relations help an organization, and its publics, adapt mutually to each other." The definition implies the essential functions of research, planning, communications dialogue, and evaluation.Seitel states, "PR is a planned process to influence public opinion, through sound character and proper performance, based on mutually satisfactory two-way communication." Seitel also states that PR is a unique management function which helps to create, and preserve, communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its customers. Seitel's definition would involve the management of problems or issues and would then react in a sound and ethical manner. Seitel's chosen style also helps management to keep informed on, and open to, public opinion. This style would also define and stress the responsibility of management to serve the public interest.According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), "public relation is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behavior. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics." PR is about reputation the result of what an organization does, what it says, and what others say about the company. PR, as stated by CIPR, is a discipline that attempts to protect the reputation by understanding and influencing opinion and behavior. Public relations are the planned and constant effort to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between the consumer and the company.Based on the these definitions and explanations of public relations, public relations is a complex part of organizations that involves much more than dealing with the public/customer. While there was a variance in each definition of public relations, each of the definitions had a common theme: communication between the public and the organization. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the public's opinion is essential when trying to maintain a certain image. If the public's opinion is negative, public relations must have a strategy to change this and influence society to remain positive about the organization. By simply analyzing the...

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