Reaction to the New Definition of PR

Last Thursday evening, the results from the PRSA and partners months-long search for a new definition of public relations came to an end. So if your parents/spouse/friends/extended family ask what you do, the answer you should give is:

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Of course, PR pros had plenty to say about it.

And a good deal of it was positive. On Facebook, Elise Brown called it “clear, direct, and succinct.” Many people who praised it did so because it summed things up simply. Interestingly, those who weren’t happy with it criticized it for the same reason.

Marlene Neill wrote in our comments section, “It doesn’t match what I’m hearing from my research with Senior PR practitioners.  It’s too narrow.” That word “narrow” was used a number of times by those who aren’t happy with the outcome.

Trylon SMR pointed out a previous definition from 1952: “Public relations is a management function that seeks to identify, build, and maintain mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and all of the publics on whom its success or failure depends.”

“PRSA should have done a Google search first, would have saved everyone lots of time,” they continued.

@MobileProfessor agreed, saying in a tweet that the definition isn’t new and it’s “missing some crucial points.”

@LuxuryPRGal added via Twitter: “If this is a ‘definition’ then we’re in trouble.”

PR is a hard thing to sum up, particularly with things changing as drastically and quickly as they are these days. However you define it, it’s on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of best jobs, topping the list in the creative service category, so something is making it popular.

Publish date: March 5, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT