PRSA Rolls Out Its New Definition of Public Relations: Winning Description was Agreed Upon By Org's “Public Relations Defined” Campaign with 12 Global Partners — PRSA Explains Why Each Word Was Chosen

The Public Relations Defined campaign, led by the Public Relations Society of America and incorporating 12 global partners, has revealed the winning description of the PR sector, following a public vote. The chosen definition, which received 46.4% of the vote, with 671 votes, was: "Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics" — even though the announcement comes on the heels of Gerard Corbett from the PRSA saying that "no universal definition exists" that clearly delineates the modern scope of public relations in the 21st century. "Simple and straightforward, this definition focuses on the basic concept of public relations — as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing ‘mutually beneficial relationships,’" the PRSA said in a statement announcing the new definition. According to the statement, "process" is preferable to "management function," which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one-way communications, while "relationships" relates to public relations’ role in helping to bring together organizations and individuals with their key stakeholders, and "publics" is preferable to "stakeholders," as the former relates to the very "public" nature of public relations, whereas "stakeholders" has connotations of publicly traded companies.

There were 927 definitions submitted to describe the sector, but these three were chosen as the finalists, with the public given two weeks in February to choose their favorite. "Public relations is the strategic process of engagement between organizations and publics to achieve mutual understanding and realize goals." came second with 30.1%. "Public relations is the management function of researching, communicating and collaborating with publics to build mutually beneficial relationships." came in third out of the three definitions with 23.6% of the vote.

"One of the things that characterizes this profession is the wealth and variety of the roles we undertake, which creates a vast range of different understandings about the nature of public relations," said Jane Wilson, CEO of CIPR, the UK’s professional body for the PR industry. "Our own research has highlighted the need for a better definition of the discipline in order for the profession to continue to secure a successful future. However, one size may never fit all and this is a debate that will continue even beyond the publication of this new definition."

As a management function, public relations also encompasses the following:

  • Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
  • Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions, courses of action and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
  • Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs.
  • Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy. Setting objectives, planning, budgeting, recruiting and training staff, developing facilities — in short, managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.

We've updated our Privacy Policy. Read the updated policy →

PR Biz Update PR Agency News PR People Marketing Trends
contextual content, local marketing, Local Search Association, Marketing, marketing solutions, Pr, Public relations, purchase decision, shopping influencers, shopping patterns, Thrive Analytics, Why Before the Buy, YP
The Why Before the Buy: Study Reveals New Insights on Consumer Behavior and Local Business Impact

New research from local marketing solutions provider YP, publisher of and...

culture-centric, Employee engagement, Halloween in the workplace, Halloween party, Klick, Leerom Segal, Marketing, Pr, Public relations, work celebrations, workplace creativity, workplace expression
Celebrating Halloween at Work Leads to Higher Employee Engagement: Two Thirds of Employees Plan to Dress Up

With Halloween around the corner and office celebrations on the rise,...

Accenture Interactive, brand strategy, brand website, irrelevant recommendations, Marketing, overwhelming options, Personalization, personalization maturity, personalized experiences, Pr, Public relations, retailer website. streamlined customization, stunted growth
Stunted Growth: Consumers Want Personalized Offerings—But Brands Are Still Struggling to Deliver

Most Brands Still In Stage 1 or 2 of a 5-Stage...

Thought Leaders On Deadline
cyber attack, cybersecurity, Denial of Services, Domain name system, Dynamic Network Services, junk data, Marketing, Pr, Public relations, Solomon McCown, T.J. Winick, website attack
Cybersecurity PR: How Last Week’s Impacted Sites Should Respond

By T.J. Winick, Vice President, Solomon McCown On Friday morning, some...

Content marketing, content promotion, Earned media, engaged followers, industry leaders, influencers, Marketing, Media monitoring, Media strategy, MediaMiser, Pr, Public relations, social platforms, writing reviews
Utilizing Influencers to Move Your Content

By Research Staff, MediaMiser Influencers are more than just experts within a...

Media Relations Perspectives: How To Be an Effective Media Spokesperson

By Mackenzie Whitfield, Harden Communications Partners Love it or hate it,...