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Why redefining PR is not unlike herding cats

By Linda Forrest

The PR industry has been aflutter with activity in response to the recent efforts of the Public Relations Society of America to crowd source a new definition for PR.

Rather than leave it open ended, PRSA has gone with a fill-in-the-blank (in this case, parentheses) approach:

Public relations (does what) with/for (whom) to (with/for) for (what purpose).

If you wish to weigh in, submissions will be accepted at the above link until the end of the week, with a new definition targeted for publication before the end of the year.

It has indeed been quite some time since the term has been defined, nearly 20 years, during which time the means by which public relations is conducted has evolved markedly from dead trees to digital zeros and ones, shifting from a one-way conversation to a multi-stakeholder conversation.

From the PRSA website:

The PRSA 1982 National Assembly formally adopted a definition of public relations, which remains widely accepted and used today:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

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Recent Comments

  • Phil : I agree, but I think that the author missed one of the elephants in that room.. Those SR&ED claims are substantiated by technical people, but they are verified not by engineers, but to a large degree by.. BUREAUCRATS, indifferent officials. If an engineer/researcher want's to make a 'paper claim' and get back real money, it is not only very difficult for an official to check whether this claim is real expense on a real reasearch risk or just a legal loop-hole to cut the taxes, but it's also not quite motivating for that official to do so - he is not a professional in that field, so for him the main thing is that the field form looks like it is supposed to look. So the system can just produce lots of houses of cards on the one hand, and to breed the culture of fictitious engineering and research on the other hand. So the whole story is not only about marketers but also about those very technical people who make and spruce up those claims.

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