Defining Public Relations Essay

805 words - 3 pages

When people think of public relations or PR most often a person will think of a business that is in hot water; then they will visualize some company representative standing in front of a microphone trying to rectify the mess that is happening at the time. The thing that many people do not realize is that there is more to PR than this type of situation. Public relations has an impact on a business and should be specifically defined so that the business can gain from the position/department. However, defining PR can be tricky since it generates different types of definitions between people, businesses and industries and tends to have a narrow scope as described above. Beyond defining PR an understanding of just how important it is to a business must be expressed.From a layman’s perception I would define PR as the do-good clean-up guy. Public relations simply put could be the person or department that is responsible for handling the negative press or image a business might encounter; at least that was my take on the subject prior to this paper and having researched the topic more it was found that although the statement is true it is only half-true. There is more to PR than this and once researched and understood it is a very interesting aspect of a business.It is said that “public relations serves a wide variety of institutions in society such as businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, colleges and religious institutions. To achieve their goals, these institutions must develop effective relationships with many different audiences or publics such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders, and other institutions, and with society at large” (PRSA, 1982). This definition from the PRSA contradicts my initial definition of PR. According to the PRSA, public relations seeks to define a company with promotion of positive aspects of a company and coming together with the community surrounding the business in a cohesive way. The PRSA statement goes on to say that the managements of institutions need to understand the attitudes and values of their publics in order to achieve institutional goals. The goals themselves are shaped by the external environment. The public relations practitioner acts as a counselor to management and as a mediator, helping to translate private aims into reasonable, publicly acceptable policy and action (PRSA, 1982). This is interesting considering that much of the research reviewed for this paper said the same thing but in a different way.It is as though public relations is a way for a business...

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