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PR Defined - the winner is...

In January, we told you all about the search for a new definition of PR.

On Friday the results were announced by the PRSA and covered in the New York Times.

So here it is:

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

The last definition was written in 1982.

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

So at least this is an improvement. But is is good enough?

OK - so they managed to get a definition that is just under 140 characters...

My problem is with the last word - publics.  I will admit that adding an apostrophe would considerably change this definition, so just to be sure I looked up what defines 'publics'.

According to Wikipedia, this is, "Publics are small groups of people who follow one or more particular issue very closely. They are well informed about the issue(s) and also have a very strong opinion on it/them. They tend to know more about politics than the average person, and, therefore, exert more influence, because these people care so deeply about their cause(s) that they donate much time and money."

Most dictionaries don't think this word exists except as the plural of pub.lic (Noun).

I think what the PRSA is hoping, is that the wider definition as on is applied: "Communities of people at large (whether or not organized as groups) that have a direct or indirect association with an organization: customers, employees, investors, media, students, etc"

Anyway, PR now has somewhere to hang its hat. What do you think?



PR Defined

Can you really define something like the definition of PR through consensus?

Well at this point I would have defined consensious, but of course Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, is blacked out today (good for them).  Webster is my second go-to and they provided:

a : general agreement : unanimity <the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the border — John Hersey>  
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned <the consensus was to go ahead>
Anyway, this is the long and seemingly very drawn out process the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) is going through as witnessed here.

The Candidate Definitions (love that definition in itself) are:

1 - Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.

Ummm... OK.  what makes it  management function? I can also think of plenty of unethical PR (aka Political PR) which much as I wouldn't want to be involved in it, should still be defined as PR.

2 - Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.

Well... I can think of plenty of times when PR does not set up a 'mutually' beneficial relationship.  And can we really say that PR is always strategic?

3 - Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.

As such... I'm not sure I can agree here either.  I don't think the process is always between organizations and individuals - but maybe I am reading too much into that.  And there is that word 'mutual' again.

Straight up - I do have an answer (and it's superb), but don't think for one moment I have the answer that everyone will agree with.  But as Margaret Thatcher said:
consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects.
Actually, the quote that is even more apt for this situation from old Mags is:
Consensus?  Consensus is the negation of leadership!
So is the PRSA trying to keep everyone happy (and in the process we know that will piss everyone off), or can they come back from the abbys and lead?