Public relations manages the communication and delivery of communication between an organization or individual and the public and according to some historians dates back to 1800 BC. The primary objective of public relations is to create a deliberate, planned communication strategy designed to enhance the image of a client, be it product, person, destination etc., and generate a positive public image while keeping the interest of the public at the forefront. This would include strategic management of competition and conflict management functions.
With an evolving definition that changes with the changing roles of the profession, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 2011 lead an international effort to create a definition for public relations that was current and precise enough to replace the definition that was adopted in 1982 by the PRSA National Assembly. The definition that was produced defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”. Publics refer to the group of people who follow the issues related to the organization, the term is preferred over stakeholders. ("What Is Public Relations?" PR Definition: PRSA Official Statement. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013). Public relations professionals craft messages and create campaigns designed to positively impact their publics or the group of people who follow their clients closely.
The field is often compared to other communication related occupations such as journalism, advertising and marketing however public relations has its own objectives. Although writing is a critical aspect of both journalism and PR, the channels and scope differs for both and although mass media is used to disseminate messages the format and context differ for public relations and advertising. When a message is paid for it vastly differs from when a media gatekeeper decides to include information in news or editorial content. Unlike putting emphasis on pushing content, product and services to consumers or customers PR differs to marketing by focusing on building relationships and trust with a variety of publics. (http://thethinkspot.com/PR-2011/chapters/1)
THE EVOLUTION OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Public relations, with a mission to influence the opinion of the public, dates back to the early days of Babylonian times when a tablet that told farmers how to harvest crops was created. Ancient craftsman used logos and gospel and political promotions were used in Rome during ancient times. Public relations tactics were noted during American settlement when the colonies implemented techniques of publicity to attract settlers. In 1758, what is now known as Columbia University, issued their first press release announcing their graduation exercises. The practice of public relations became more popular during times of conflict in the country, such as the American Revolution, when the support of the public was in need....