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                  ‘Pub Relat                    blic  tions Defined’ Can                                           ndidate...
     o   As one commente wrote: “I d not see w we need to include ‘i an ethical                             er         do ...
 II.    Synopsis of Responses       S                   s** Comme   ents are liste in reverse chronological order of when ...
     se why we need to inclu "in an et      ee         n           ude         thical manne as that im                    ...
     Im not too ke on any o these defin      m          een          of         nitions beca                              ...
     I am sad to sa but if the 3 definitions is all, th resulted f                   ay,       ese                     hat...
     ex     xercise (use also for o                 eful          other professions who a dwelling s                      ...
     Public Relatio is a man    P            ons                                  establishes, builds and/o maintains     ...
 B.   Candidate Definition No 1     C         D           o.     “P      Public relatio is the ma                   ons   ...
     I like #1, but would drop "                   w          "collaboratin from the list. I also pr                      ...
 C.   Definition No 2     D           o.     “P      Public relatio is a strat                   ons           tegic commu...
     Number Two looks best. In Number o    N                                       one, I dont like the ethic part beca   ...
     — Ercia Aust professor and directo Murrow C               tin,                  or,       Center for Media & Health P...
     While many have "voted" for #2, I think it present some real limitations w the adv    W            h           "     ...
 D.   Definition No 3     D           o.      Public relatio is the en     “P            ons        ngagement b between or...
 III.   Excerpts fro Blog Pos       E          om       stsJim Grun in resp        nig,     ponse to a P Conversations pos...
     CEOs can, of course, ma    C            f           anage their o                                         own commun ...
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions
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Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions


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Public Relations Defined — Feedback of Candidate Defintions

  1. 1.   ‘Pub Relat blic tions Defined’ Can ndidate D Definitions Feedba Analy ack ysisThe following report represents a synopsis o the public comments, blog posts a other of andcommentary submitted for the thhree candida definition of public r ate ns relations. All responses w wererecorded during the two-week pu d t ublic comme period (J ent Jan. 11–23, 2 2012), and hhave beenanalyzed in this repo d ort.Note: In some cases comments have been b s broken up in parts to r nto represent mu ultiple opinio onsof the wrriter regardin specific ca ng andidate def finitions. In t those cases, the parts of the comme , entreferring to a specific candidate d c definition are included in the analysi of that def e n is finition, while eother par may be li rts isted elsewh here in the re eport.I. General Ana G alysis • Public comme period open from Ja 11–23, 20 P ent an. 012. • 152 comments received o PRDefinition website in response to candida definitions. on e e ate • Overall tone of comments was positiv toward th initiative. O o s ve he o Comm menters expr ressed intere in fleshin out the re est ng easoning beh hind the speecific wordin of each c ng candidate de efinition. o Early on, many co ommenters e expressed ggratitude for having the oopportunity too public voice thei opinion of each candid cly ir date definitio indicating the profess on, g sion appreeciates the openness and transparen of the initiative. d ncy o Appro oximately mid dway throug the two-w gh week public c comment period, some comm ments turned negative tow ward the candidate definitions. Som commenters me found them either too broad a homogenized or too narrow and strictly defining. r and o d • The T comments revealed a preference for definitio No. 2. e on o Many noted that it reflected th most mod t he dern and releevant definit tion of public c ons, and was the most s relatio s succinct while also providding for univ versal adaptability. o Sever comment also expre ral ts essed an appreciation fo the word “ or “strategic” in the definittion, noting tthat it helps set public re elations apar from other disciplines. rt r . Similar appreciation w seen for the phrase “mutually be was eneficial relationshiips.” • A majority of comments e expressed a desire for th candidate definitions to be more he e si imple, succinct and univ versal. o Many commenter expressed concern tha whichever definition r rs d at receives the final vote will not be sim w mple enough in its word ding for the c common “person on the street” or the CEO to fully und O derstand. • Several comm S menters exp pressed conc cern over the inclusion o the phrase “in an ethic e of e cal manner” in de m efinition No. 1. 1  
  2. 2.   o As one commente wrote: “I d not see w we need to include ‘i an ethical er do why in manner,’ as that implies we w would do otherwise if not included. D other t Do professsions includ terms suc as ‘done legally’ or ‘in accordance with existing de ch n statutees’? Ethical practice sho ould be a givven.” o Anoth comment added that “Since [pu her ter ublic relation professionals] are eth ns hical, at leas we should be we dont have to sa that since WE SHOUL BE.” st d ay LD o Anoth comment said that including et her ter thics in any ddefinition “w wakes doubts s, that PR could be unethical in the first plac It is thus a mediocre attempt to P ce. legitim mize PR.” o In genneral, few ca ame to the defense of the inclusion o the word “ of “ethics” in an ny definittion. Several coommenters w wrote their oown versions of a definiti that inclu s ion uded the word “ethics” or “e ethical,” mak king it difficult to draw any definitive conclusion as to whether the public expresses an appreci n s iation or disd dain for includin “ethics” in a definition of public re ng n n elations. 2  
  3. 3.  II. Synopsis of Responses S s** Comme ents are liste in reverse chronological order of when they w ed e were receive In cases ed.where there is repeti ition of comm ments, the m most succinc and releva comment has been ct ant tpublished Therefore not all 152 comments received via the PRDefi d. e, 2 a finition websi are publis ite shedin this rep port.A. General Com G mments My M personal definition: ‘P d Public relatio is strateg communi ons gic ications designed to pro otect and enhance the image a reputatio of an organization, in and on ncluding its p people, products es.’ — Eric Boomhower, Jan. 24, 2012 and/or service nteresting! But the defini In B itions seem bit inflated. T first par covers m The rtly market research. The T second could be a ce c ertain type o advertising campaign. And the third could be of g . applied to an enlightened sales proce d ess. I think they need tig ghtening up. — Marcus Ferrar, Jan. 24, 2012 2 I notice that the notations on the thre definitions have conflicts, for exam s ee s mple sometimes suupporting Publics over "Stakeholde and som ers metimes supp porting what seems to be the t opposite. Th here are othe seeming inconsistenc er cies so I won nder whethe any of thes er se ca the best definition un the individ an d ntil dual words c be agree upon. Se can ed eems the exp perts in communica n ation should grapple with this issue for a while lo onger. Mayb thats wha is be at happening? That would b good. Ver good. — M T be ry Michael F Ke elly, Jan. 24 2012 4, We W are in the business of building br e ridges. I dont want to qu uote any of th hese definitions if someone as me what I do. To be honest, I us sks e sually joke a say I ma other people and ake amous, whic most peop understa fa ch ple and. — Trace Cohen, Ja 24, 2012 e an. Criteria: Any definition of public relations must focus on process, not tact or functions; C tics must be prop m perly aligned with ultimat authority f that proce te for ess; must sttate the sine qua e nons of our societys valu that emp ues power the prrocess; and must articula the nature of ate th process. he Proposed De P efinition: “Pub Relation is a leadership respon blic ns nsibility that applies strat tegic co ommunicatio to facilitat positive, t on te transparent, and ethical relations be etween organizations and stakeh s holders.” — Charles A. Wood, former chairma PRSA Bo A an, oard of Ethic and Profe cs ession Standards Jan. 23, 2 s, 2012 (sent vi email). ia Thanks for un T ndertaking th challenge I like #2 w a bit of # but have difficulty wit his e! with #3, th describing wh we do as a "process." Also, if yo are blend hat s ou ding any of th hem, I do no ot 3  
  4. 4.   se why we need to inclu "in an et ee n ude thical manne as that im er," mplies we w would do otherwise if not included. Do other pr n rofessions in nclude terms such as "do legally" or s one "in accordanc with existing statutes" Ethical pr ce "? ractice shoul be a given — Jeff Da ld n. avis, Ja 22, 2012 an. 2 The T one I use at my job is support marketing and sales by cu e d ultivating fav vorable relations with w its key publics throug the use o a variety o communic gh of of cations channels and too ols. — Carla, Jan. 22, 2012 Who W is the au udience for tthis new definition? If its other PR p professionals I think #1. If th audience is the public I think it ha to be rele he c, as evant and in plain Englis sh...somethinng easily unders stood by all. I think #3 accomplishes that. — Be s elinda, Jan. 2 2012 22, My M public rela ations class put these to a vote yest o terday, with the majority voting on N 2, No. and No. 3 wa the second choice. — Allison, Jan 22, 2012 as n. Where Im at with this now Derrida. W w: Thus, complete meaning is always " "T g "differential" and postpon in langu ned uage; there is never a moment when meaning is co omplete and total. A sim mple example would consist e of looking up a given wor in a dictionary, then proceeding to look up the words foun in f rd o e nd th words de hat efinition, etc also comp c., paring with o older dictionaries from d different perio ods in time, and such a proce would never end." n s ess In short, PR cant be defined. Neither can any wo be. n c r ord Perhaps inste of talking about "def P ead fining" it, we should talk about "oper rationalizing" it, " as we do with scientific experiments in the social sciences (li psycholo and h l ike ogy ociology). Th is, instea of defining what PR is (which is im so hat ad s mpossible) w define it in a we way w that "exp periments" ca be constructed aroun it, in orde to measure observe, an nd er e, ev valuate its effects, results and outco e omes. — Eric Bryant, Gn nosis Media Group, Jan. 22, 2012 PR P is so muc more than what is des ch n scribed in all three of the ese. Really? It appears a ? as hough we ar being forc to define it in on sentence. Is tha the case? If so, it cant be th re ced e at done. It just simply cant. s Im not satisfied with any of these def m finitions. But I will say th definition definitely ne t he eeds in nclude the words "engag w ging and commmunicating in it. Engagement is a KEY part to PR g" o th hese days... This is why the definitio needs to b redefined in the first p on be d place. — Le eigh Fazzina, chai PRSA He ir, ealth Academ Jan. 22, 2012 my, 4  
  5. 5.   Im not too ke on any o these defin m een of nitions beca ause they are full of corp e porate-speak k, and none of them really g to the co values of public relations. NONE OF THEM. We t get ore f knnow PR is a "manageme function." We get it! We know is about building "mutually ent ationships." And we kno its "a strategic commu beneficial rela ow unication pro ocess." Theres nothing new about this and th language is lifeless. A definition is meant to T he e describe, enli ighten and im mbue the reader with ins sight. — Roddger Johnso Jan. 22, 2012 on, This has been really inter T resting and w done on pulling toge well n ether some great ideas and in nspiring so much debate m e. Personally, I dont think "mutually ben P erstanding" h a place in a definitio neficial/unde has on. Yes, it is best practice bu is a norma Y t ut ative approac the best o ch option for de efining a profession. Also, a definit A tion that rais more questions than answers is in a precarious starting ses n position... What exactly do you mea by mutuality? W an C a mutually beneficial in whose e Can eyes? Is this type of relationship always des s f p sirable? If a practitione is seeking a relations f er g ship that only benefits on side do th no longe y ne hey er work in PR? w Will W any of the above def e finitions help us separate PR in relat p e tion to other communica ation fu unctions and describe w d what we do to people out o tside of the industry. Sim mply, No. Yes Y have higher order go oals for the p profession but should a d definition be about clarit e ty and inclusion or vision an morality. Y may no be able to have it all. — nd You ot babbleoftongues, Jan. 22 2012 2, It seems like we have an identity cris if we are d sis defining pub relations again, all ov blic ver again. But tha not my b ats beef with the definition We are c ese ns. creative people, and so t that shhould reflect how we define our wor A definitio is designe to bring c t rk. on ed clarity, period d. B these do not. Unfortu But unately, thes definitions ooze corpo se s orate-speak, which neith her exxplains and enlightens. And that speeaks to a mu deeper problem with our identify uch h y crrisis. Do D we know what we value? A definition like this should speak to our values and off us w s fer a tool to spea to the valu of others This is very personal and at the c ak ues s. core of building elationships. Ive written a post on m blog, Get Social PR, w re . my where I try to pinpoint th o hese va alues and cr them into a definition that is 100 corporate raft o n 0% e-speak free Id like you e. ur co omments, th houghts and disagreeme ents. — Rod dger Johnson Jan. 22, 2 n, 2012 5  
  6. 6.   I am sad to sa but if the 3 definitions is all, th resulted f ay, ese hat from the crowdsourcing project, this undertaking i a massive failure and an intellectu offense, as it adds u is e ual nothing new to the 500+ definitions th are alrea out there and, even worse, falls t hat ady e, n s back to one of the best and most pra o agmatic defin nitions: "Pub relation is the blic s management of commun m t nication betw ween organizzation and its publics.” — Sascha s Stoltenow, Ja 22, 2012 S an. Thanks for all your good work, and w T wishing you ccontinued su uccess. Whe I first star en rted in public relat n tions, I described what I did, fundam mentally, as " "building rela ationships w with [m organizat my tions] variou publics." Hence, "pub us blic" and "reelations." Th seemed s hat short and pointed enough to se e erve as a firs st-level answ wer. I could then quickly add that "th y his nvolves using a variety o communic in g of cation techniques to explain and gain support for n what [the organization] do w oes." Discusssions of eth hics, techniques and mutual benefits s coould follow. Of the three currently p e proposed def finitions, I vote for #2. — Kathryn Wheeler, Jan 22, 2012 W n. As A the 100th comment mmark is being reached, I w worry that th only voice appear to he es o co ome from Am merican or m maybe (...?? Anglo-Sa ??) axon countriees. Clearly, if this exercise is aimed at a global definition, this is a major issu that C s ue oordinators must consid co der! Of O the 4 millio pr profess on sionals in the world, not more than 7 thousan are North 700 nd Americans an possibly a A nd another 300 thousand are from othe Anglo-Sax countries. er xon So, S one out of four profes o ssionals som mehow relate to this disc e cussion whose co onsequence are likely t bear also on the othe three. es to er Solution? S ould be ask commenters to indicate country of o Maybe one suggestion co M s origin. Another would be to urge leaders of a the 67 na A e all ational assoc ciations who belong to th o he Global Allianc (part of th coalition) to urge thei members to participate (for anyon G ce his ) ir ne who w speaks Italian see here as an ex xample of ye esterday http p://www.ferp I am absolute confident that the org ely t ganizers really didnt rea alize the com mplexity of what th were going in for wh they dec hey hen cided to begi the exercise. But now they are in for in w n it and they must come to a conclusion. My M suggestio Every pro on: ofessions tra aditional walls and boun ndaries are c collapsing an nd ev changing Public relations - being one of the more rece ones - ha many less ver g. ent as s cu ultural and historical ske h eletons to ge rid of. No one definitio today can encompas all et on n ss th facets of our (or any o he o other) professsion. The cconclusion o the well wo while of orth 6  
  7. 7.   ex xercise (use also for o eful other professions who a dwelling s are similar issue could well be: e) ra annalistically asking ours ather than a selves who w are and w we what we stand for, we sh hould focus our collectiv and crowd ve dsourcing at ttention on u understandin monitorin ng, ng and advocatin the value we bring to organizatio and socie ng e o ons ety. — Toni Muzi Falconi, Ja 15, 2012 an. I dont know that develop t ping a new definition for public relatio is particularly desira ons able. A others hav stated in this discussion, any def As ve finition inclus sive of the w wide range of f philosophies possessed a activities performed by practitio and d oners of our c craft/profess sion must be so ge m eneral as to be weak an ineffective nd e. However, since you are p H proceeding w this initiative, here is my opinion of the with s n ca andidates: #1 is overblow #3 suffe from the s wn; ers simplistic ge eneralization I mentioned #2 is not m n d; much better, but do oesnt make me wince, a do the oth two. — P as her Pfanning, Jan 15, 2012 n. Why W do none of these 3 p e potential def finitions of our PR profes ssion even m mention the word "m marketing"? Still, I like S Samantha Ba ankeys defin nition, below from Ferris State w, s University tha emphasize "clear, ethical and pla U at es anned" comm munications [“Public s. re elations is a clear, ethica and plann commun al, ned nication proc cess coordin nated by top management to influence educate, a reinforce targeted publics.”] m t e, and e But B 100% of my clients see PR as a marketing discipline - sh hying away ffrom "marke eting" when defining PR is like p w g physicians d defining their role withou using the w r ut words m medicine," "h healthcare" o "wellness." — Paul Maccabee, Ja 15, 2012 or an. I cant help writing this, fo w olks. Can you really hear yourself us sing these w words to desc cribe what you do? If I describe my job th way over dinner with my family, theyd make me w ? ed his pick up the ta ab. None of these definitions are what I w N e would hold u as a callin card for c up ng cogent, conccise coommunicatio Were the folks who write in plain English, rig on. n ght? These definitions s sound lik something the compa legal counsel and H vp edited the life out o ke any HR of. Why W not use Merriam-We ebster? I thin it defines PR something like this: Public rela nk ations is the busines of getting the public to understand and like a person, com s ss o mpany or in nstitution. — Bperry, Ja 15, 2012 an. 2 I agree with #2 the most. The first one focuses on task. The last one see # ems to imply that y PR P just exists as "engage s ement betwe organiza een ations". That doesnt des t scribe strate egic fu unction, but rather a stat of being. — Sarah Go te oldstein, Jan. 15, 2012 7  
  8. 8.   Public Relatio is a man P ons establishes, builds and/o maintains nagement function that e or mutually bene m eficial relatio onships betw ween an orgaanization an its publics on whom, its nd s, su uccesses an nd/or failures depend. — Adam Hoy Jan. 15, 20 s y, 012 Public relations is the pra P actice of sym mmetrical commmunication on multiple platforms t n e that has become an integral p of maint a part taining the re eputation of an organiza ation, through public engage ement and s strategic management of relationships in a rapid changing dly ociety. — Se so elwyn Boston, Jan. 15, 22012 I appreciate everyones e e effort and rea alize alot of eenergy and thought hav gone into this ve process. It ap ppears that 1 10-12 pre-dis sposed word were shuffled around into 3 differ ds d rent seentences. The redefinitions do not t T truly start fro scratch a create a simple om and definition und derstood by a non-PR pe erson. A long gstanding prroblem has b been that noot ev our mot ven thers know wwhat we do. In addition, it is important that we are able to de efine our jobs to no on-PR peopl — Branda Jones Bar le. a rwick, Jan. 13, 2012 8  
  9. 9.  B. Candidate Definition No 1 C D o. “P Public relatio is the ma ons anagement function of rresearching, engaging, c communicati ing, and collabora ating with sta akeholders in an ethical manner to b n build mutuall beneficial ly elationships and achieve results.” re e Comments: C I think the firs definition d st does a good job of incor d rporating mo parts of w ost what PR is... however, a co ombination o all three w of would be bes There are various fun st. e nctions managemen marketing engageme research communic (m nt, g, ent, h, cating, etc, b there nee but eds to be a mutua beneficia relationship between t agency a its publics while being o ally al the and ethical at the same time. — Sawyerm Jan. 24, 2012 mm, , #1. Too much - over the t - and do not connect with the average person and this h top oes definition sho ould not be o that anyo outside of our profe one one ession canno understand. I ot do not like the word ethic in there as I think it im e cs s mplies we need to be rem minded we need to have ethics or we need to convince others tha we have th o s d at hem. That ussually backfi ires. — Jen Ward, Jan. 23, 20 012 From my poin of view, th most appropriate definition for PR is the first one, since it nt he R t encompasses the broad scope of the domain and supports it positioning as a s e ts management function. It refers to the audience a stakehold m t e as ders, which is probably t the best choice fo the term, being thus in line with th Stockholm Accords a the or he m and Barcelona Pr B rinciples. It a also emphasizes the role of ethics as well as tha of proper e s at esearch, planning and evaluation, w re which are pre erequisites fo good resu or ults. — Iulia- - Mihaela Matr M res, Jan. 22, 2012 - "ethical man nner": This wwakes doubt that PR c ts, could be uneethical in the first place. I is It th a medioc attempt to legitimize PR. hus cre e - "mutually be eneficial rela ationships": w live in a c we competitive w world, right? So forget a ? about win-win. A fai competitio is the mos beneficial for everybod The team that wins, gets w ir on st dy. m th trophy. Th team that looses will improve. What´s your next proposa Calling all he he t al? NFL N games a draw by de efault? - "achieve res sults": Come on, you can´t be seriou Everythin we do in a company h e us. ng has to achieve res o sults, and yo know wha The best result PR ca achieve a lasting ou at: an are re elations. — Sascha St toltenow, Jan 22, 2012 n. I prefer definition #1 beca ause unlike t others, it is inclusive of all PR fu the t e unctions as a management role: comm m t munications, f face-to-face relationship the essen ps, ntial aspect of esearch, and the spirit th PR is collaborative a solution oriented not simply reac re d hat and t ctive. — Dan Flores Jan. 15, 2 s, 2012 9  
  10. 10.   I like #1, but would drop " w "collaboratin from the list. I also pr ng" refer stakeholders over key publics. Im also not sure that "mutua beneficia should be included in the definitio a e ally al" e n on. While that can be a great goal on som issues, it often not feasible, especially whe W t me ts en th here are a laarge number of diverse s r stakeholders involved. — Rgiblin, Ja 15, 2012 s an. Heres my ad H daptation of # Public R #1. Relations ser rves as an e ethical mana agement role to e build relations ships and acchieve positi results among comp ive panies, organ nizations, publics, custoomers and th community. — Brend Jones Barwick, Jan. 1 2012 he da 13, 10  
  11. 11.  C. Definition No 2 D o. “P Public relatio is a strat ons tegic commuunication pro ocess that d develops and maintains d mutually bene m eficial relatio onships betw ween organizzations and their key pu ublics.” Comments: C Between the three, I vote for number 2, but I sug B e r ggest the following versioon: Public relations is the stra P ategic comm munication th develops and mainta hat s ains mutually y beneficial rela ationships between orga anizations an their publics. 1) All co nd ommunicatio is on a process, tha a given2 Not all public relations efforts are focused on "key" public ats 2) s cs. Thank you for heralding t T this importan discussion — Kelly B nt n! Byrd, Jan. 24 2012 4, I like number one and two but proba o, ably two the b best. I think the "strategic" part, in sttrategic com mmunication is very impo ortant. — Meegan Bauer, Jan. 24, 2012 My M vote is for number 2 w a slight amendment — add "eth r with t hical." While number 1 does a great job of detailing the actions tha public rela f at ations perfor rms, it is too specific for a general audieence. High-le evel and jarg gon-free — tthats #2. — Erin, Jan. 2 2012 23, I really like De efinition 2 be ecause it uses the term strategic an communi nd ication. Tho ose tw terms rea encompa what PR is all about I also enjo wo ally ass R t. oyed the term key public m cs ra ather than stakeholders which was used in Def finition 1. I w would like to s a broader see te for publics rather th just limit erm hen ting it to key publics. As I learned in my PR 312 cllass, sometimes there a publics w are not in your targe audience b have the are who et but e potential to beecome key p publics. I like the 2. de efinition. But I would add "between A t d AND INSIDE organizatio and thei key E ons ir publics." For companies t inside co the ommunicatio is as vital as talking to your audie on o ence and public. And Public Re A elations mus focus on b st both aspects of the communication s processes. — Alexander Maasik, Jan 22, 2012 n. I think numbe two is the best there; I would add something t it along th lines of er to he participation from, and e "p engagement with the org pushing the effort" so tha ganizations p at th hose mutually beneficial relationship may obtai purpose in ps in nstead of be eing used as a s fa alse insight toward the p t public themseelves. — Jan. 22, 2012 I think the sec cond definition is the best out of all t three. I think its the bes choice k st because of th certain vo he ocabulary wo ords selected. The words "strategic" "process", ", mutually ben "m ganizations" and "key pu neficial", "org ublics", combbined all dem monstrate th he co definition of public re ore n elations. In m own word I think PR is a proces in which a my ds R ss coompany wor with an a rks agency to ga a win-win solution. They must als work with the ain n so h ke publics of the company to get the best applic ey e cable data fo the evolvin needs of the or ng coompany. — Longakerka ayla, Jan. 22 2012 2, 11  
  12. 12.   Number Two looks best. In Number o N one, I dont like the ethic part beca cal ause since w we are ethical, at least we sh t hould be, we dont have to say that s e since WE SH HOULD BE. However, som people a H me arent in this f field so thats why we shhould take it out. To me its ju trying to hard in a sen ust h ntence. As f Number t for three, I dont like the eng t gagement paart. What exactly does that m W mean in this c context? It h me ques has stioning well how? So, Number Two is straight to the point a N o about what w do, which is what we need when we we h te people wh it is we d — Angeli Juarez, Ja 22, 2012 ell hat do. ia an. 2. Definition num D mber two is my vote; see ems to most succinctly d t define what we do in a co oherent fashhion. — Amaanda Lenar, Jan. 22, 2012 Definition #2 is very close to the defin D e nition we use at Washington State U e University an nd in nclude in our book (Aust & Pinkleto "Strategi Public Relations Mana r tin on, ic agement: Planning and Managing E P Effective Communication Programs" We adopt it from C n "). ted Cutlip, Center & Brooms "Effect C tive Public R Relations" tex xt. That definition is: "a management fun T nction that id dentifies, est tablishes and maintains mutually bene m eficial relatio onships betw ween an orga anization an the public on which its nd cs su uccess or faailure depend ds." I think Cutlip et al.s phrassing about ppublics is mo clear (str ore rategic) than the phrasin in n ng th newer de his efinition. Alth hough I agre with other that addin "a manag ee rs ng gement funct tion" to #2 could be useful, I ha a lot of r o e ave respect for the develope concern that the term ers m management seems too "top-down" o "one-way Perhaps a nuanced p m t or y." phrasing focu used on process but including managemen as a desc nt criptive term can satisfy bboth cooncerns. Although ethical practices should be a assumed requirement for any an t "m mutually ben neficial relationship," I ag gree with ma other po any osters that "e ethical" as a descriptive te would be useful to a to #2. R erm e add Research is a requiremen for strateg nt gic practices, so perhaps tha can be ass at sumed witho making a further add out dition. Given that ma posters have noted that their cli G any ients tend to focus on m o marketing, Id like to advocate fo the positio that mark o or on keting has a different go (to cultiva relationsh oal ate hips with w consume that will e ers engender pr roduct trial and loyalty) from public relations (m mutually benneficial relationships serv ving a variet of purpose and repr ty es) resents an application of public relat f tions strategies rather th the pract han tice of public relations m c more broadly. uggest a cou I therefore su uple of edits to #2, as follows: Public relatio is a man “P ons nagement function that e employs ethi ical, strategic ommunicatio processe to develop and mainta mutually beneficial re co on es p ain elationships between orga anizations an the public on which their succes or failure depends.” nd cs ss 12  
  13. 13.   — Ercia Aust professor and directo Murrow C tin, or, Center for Media & Health Promotion, Edward R. Murrow Colleg of Comm E ge munication, W Washington SState Univer rsity, Jan. 22 2, 2012 Number two is the best b far. It enc N i by compasses a the functio and it is clear and all ons su uccinct. On O number one, what does "manage o ement function mean? A on number three, And "r realize strate egic goals," is gobbledyg gook. — j raange, Jan. 22, 2012 Is definitely not a manage s ement functi ion. Definitio 2 is close — Ahahughes, Jan. 22, on est. 2012 #2: in addition to the "mutually benef n ficial relationships" - "key publics How could you possib tell, who y s" d bly your key pub blics are, wh a global hen audience can switch its a n attention to y in the blink of an eye And, depe you e? ending on th he suubject matte they will f er, force you into a relations o ship before y can spel "not my ke you ll ey public". - even if: How would deve w elop and maaintain? — Sascha St toltenow, Jan 22, 2012 n. I immediately gravitated t y toward Defin nition No. 2 b because I ca imagine public relati ant ions being defined as anything less than a strategic p d g process. Cou it be that "modern" p uld t public elations is ac re ctually more of a manag gement funct tion? Yes, pe erhaps it is. And it is ceertainly nice to envision the relations e ships as sym mbiotic, but I think that a its core, pu at ublic re elations is more strategic than collab m c borative. I also feel that describing it as a proces t ss (c constantly ev volving and changing) is much more fitting than characterizing it as a s e management function or a simple engagement. m t — Theresa Souther, Jan. 15, 2012 S Regarding de #2, whene R ef ever I hear someone use the word strategic, I ro my eyes a e oll and th hink: Reaching. — bperr Jan. 15, 2 ry, 2012 #2. I feel it coovers the va ariety or prof fession can hhave well - s some people do social e media, some do public af m sponse. But the bottom line is that w ffairs, some do crisis res t we all develop an maintain relationships in one way or another - the heart o PR after a is nd y r of all our ability to cultivate rela c ationships. I hesitate to suggest add ding someth hing about etthics - is it really so omething we grapple wit today mor so than any other bus e th re siness profession? — Nick Hoga Jan. 15, 2012 an, By B using the kiss theory o public rela of ations, #2 wi hands do ins own. — Graham Dodson n, Ja 15, 2012 an. 2 13  
  14. 14.   While many have "voted" for #2, I think it present some real limitations w the adv W h " ts l with vent of social med What I lik about 1 a 3 is the c f dia. ke and concept of e engagement, and co ollaboration with stakeholders. I thin it is a bit o nk overblown to say that PR pros or the o R e discipline can foster mutu n ually benefic relationships, and mo realistic to find a mu cial ore utual understanding. Also, wha is missing from #2 are the results and goals, w at e which with th he ocus on the business case for PR sh fo hould be incorporated -- PR needs t move beyond to a strategic co ommunicatio process to get to the C-Suite min ons e ndset. — Jennifer Redm mond Baird, Jan. 15 2012 B 5, This is the on we use at Ferris State Universitys Public Rel T ne t e lations progr ram: Public re elations is a clear, ethica and plann commun al, ned nication proc cess coordinnated by top management to influence educate, a reinforce targeted publics. m t e, and e But B out of the three used, I think #2 is the best. V e s Very clear. — Samantha Bankey, Ja a an. 15, 2012 Number two is the most a N i accurate and really the o d only one I co ould see mys saying to a self cl lient or non-PR person a asking about what I do. I do think the clause idenntifying "orga anizations an their key publics" is u nd unnecessary and ations is a strategic communication p estrictive. Simply stating "Public rela re g process that t develops and maintains m d mutually benneficial relati ould have be enough. — ionships" wo een Michael Crisp Jan. 15, 2012 M p, Like some oth hers who ha commen ave nted, I think t phrases "achieve res the sults" and realize strate "r egic goals" a too vague. Of the thr candidat are ree tes, Im favoring #2. Still, I th hink there is opportunity through this initiative to emphasize the "big pict s ture" importaance of public relat f tions. Heres another tak to contrib s ke bute to the co onversation: Public relatio facilitate relationships for organ "P ons es nizations and their public to fulfill cs mutual object m tives for the benefit of bu usiness, com mmunity and society." — Jason Kirs d sch, Ja 15, 2012 an. 2 Iv vote for #2, but wish it in ncluded the word “ethica like defini al” ition #1. Here’s the on I came up with: Public Relations i a strategic communica H ne p c is c ations proce ess used to develop and main ntain ethical and mutual beneficial relationship between lly l ps, organizations and their ke stake holders, to ach s ey hieve busines objectives. — Jennife ss er Keller, Jan. 13, 2012 K 14  
  15. 15.  D. Definition No 3 D o. Public relatio is the en “P ons ngagement b between orgganizations a individua to achiev and als ve mutual under m rstanding an realize str nd rategic goals s.” Comments: C My M issue with #3 is the la words - re h ast ealize strate egic goals. I ddont think in ndividuals, a a as person we target to connect and com mmunicate w with, typically consider re y ealizing their r goals as sommething they focus on. Th focus is for someone to fix their problem or be heir r able to trust a company o organization to do tha In this day the definition needs to or at. y, o nclude the pe in erson we try to reach. I j y just dont ca for all tha wordy unn are at necessary la anguage in. — Jen Ward Jan. 23, 2 d, 2012 I like that defi inition No. 3 has only 17 words, its c 7 clear and prretty concise in my opinion. I e dont care for the fact tha there is no mention of managemen function o strategic r at o nt or coommunicatio process in it. That be on eing said, I th hink No. 3 ha the greatest chance o as of being understood inside ( (and outside the industry and I think it captures the logical and e) s distinguishab character of PR. — R ble r Richie Escov vedo, Jan. 22 2012 2, I prefer versio 3 because of its simp on plicity. It is al the one t lso that, in my o opinion would be d most easily understood b the broade group po m by est ossible. The first two just seem to ha ave been written by a committtee to appea many di ase ifferent inter rests and grooups. I also believe its important that people understan theres a definition (m e nd most formal) and th an eleva speech t hen ator thats where an individual explains in his/her ow words wh e wn hat th do. This can be high personal and reflect o hey hly ones specia and inter alty rests. Trying to g caatch all the specialties a interests in one defin s and s nition will res in one th no one u sult hat uses or understand Thanks t the comm ds. to mittee and tho involved for this effo — Mary ose d ort. Barber, Jan. 22, 2012 B 2 #3: the worst - "between or rganizations and individu uals": Ever h heard of inte ercompany reelations? B22B- Communication? Will the work contra be consid C e act dered as PR as it specif R fies the engagement between an organization (employer and an ind r) dividual? Not to speak of the t f vaague definiti of what a organizat ion an tion is. — Sascha St toltenow, Jan 22, 2012 n. Definition 3. I love the wo "beneficial" very PRis — Kjaco D ord sh. obsen17, Jan 15, 2012 n. 15  
  16. 16.  III. Excerpts fro Blog Pos E om stsJim Grun in resp nig, ponse to a P Conversations post (“A definin moment for public PR t ngrelations Dec. 7, 2011): s,” 2 I have come into this disc cussion late, but let offer a couple of observation about the , r f ns e Canadian def C finition of pu ublic relations s. 1. It is importa to disting ant guish between a definitio and a description of p on public relatio ons. I believe most of the “definnitions” offere are really description of what pe ed y ns eople think iss done in public relations–u c usually only positive, eth hical, and str rategic public relations. A good definitio should su on ubsume as m many types o public rela of ations as posssible–both g good and bad. 2. Public relations is a proocess and sshould be deefined as a p process. Rela ationships and eputations are outcomes not a proc re s, cess. Thus, t Canadian definition m the misses the mmark by describing public relat y g tions as the managemen of relationships. You c manage a nt can e process, such as commu h unication, but you can’t m manage an o outcome suc as ch elationships or reputation. If you manage a proc re cess well, yo can influence the ou outcome, but you can’t m manage the o outcome. Thus, I contin to come back to my definition of public relat T nue f tions from Managing Pubblic Relations writ R tten in 1984. I added a ssentence in a partial revision of MPR that was n R never published: “P Public relation is the ma ns anagement o communic of cation between an organization and its publi a ics. Its purpo is to cult ose onships among organizations tivate relatio and publics.” The T key word in this def ds finition are o organizations (one party to a relation s nship), public cs (t other par to a relationship), ma the rty anage, comm munication, a relations and ships. Communication (of all for C rms) is the pprocess that is managed (both well a poorly). and Public relations must be m P managed (directed) or it is not public relations. R t Relationship ps (a different types and qu all ualities) are t outcome of the proc the e cess. Thus, o can plac all one ce fo orms of public relations i into this definition. The g greatest misunderstanding of this definition has come from those who interpret com s mmunication too narrowl (as only n ly messaging). Remember, communica m ation is a pro udes one-wa two-way, ocess. It inclu ay, syymmetrical, asymmetric listening, telling, interacting, counseling, rese cal, , earching, dialoguing, an other form of communication be nd ms ehavior. I have a personal stake in this discus n ssion, of cou urse, but I ha yet to se a better ave ee definition. … 16  
  17. 17.   CEOs can, of course, ma C f anage their o own commun nication–i.e., do public r relations th hemselves. If fact, Marvi Olasky arg I in gued that ea in its his arly story public r relations actu ually co onsisted of private relati p ions because CEOs inte eracted direc with the publics in th ctly heir co ommunities and not thro ough the inte ervention of a public rela ations person (who Olas n sky th hinks corrupt the process). ts My M definition, therefore, m , makes it clea that public relations doesn’t have to be done by a ar c public relation person. ns … A definition of public relattions must ccover both go and bad public relat ood d tions. I could d define playing golf, for ex g xample, as s shooting a 60 or a 120. N all public relations is 0 Not c s done in the public interes but it is st public rela st, till ations. Some public relations is done in e e th public inte he erest, but mu is not. W might qualify the defi uch We inition with a adjective by an saaying that etthical public relations or responsible public relat e tions is done in the publi e ic in nterest, but those adjecti ives should not be includ in the de ded efinition. … According to my Webster Dictionary a process is “a natura phenomen marked by A r’s y, s al non gradual changes that lead to a particular result.” An outcome is “result” o “effect.” W e or We might also sa that a proc m ay cess is ongooing behavio that produ or uces effects. I think that almost all behhaviors of pu ublic relation people an their inter ns nd ractions with publics are ongoing communication b behaviors. TThose commmunication beehaviors hav effects on the ve n lo ong-term qua ality of relationships and the nature of a reputati as well a short-term d ion as m efffects on aw wareness, co ognitions, attitudes, and behaviors of publics and of f d management m t. I think it’s quite clear that communica t ation is a pro ocess. Many “communic y cations”–i.e., messages–m be one ti m may ime phenom mena and not processual. That’s why it’s importa y ant not to use the word “communications when the m e s” more approp priate term is s communication.” Now, th question is whether a relationship also is a process. I think “c he p th most of the processu activities that take pla within a relationship actually are hat ual ace p e coommunicatio activities. At any poin in time, a r on . nt relationship has a particcular quality or sttate. Thus, I should have said that th quality of a relationsh is an outcome. Of e he f hip coourse, no ou utcome is ev static, so the state of a relationsh changes and a natur of ver o f hip re a reputation changes. We try to influe c e ence those ooutcomes through the pr rocesses tha we at ca personally manage (i.e., orient or govern). W cannot manage outco an We omes directly. … 1. Very fundaamental distinction betwe “commu een unications” a “communication”. My and y question is if by accepting it we should also acce that comm g ept munication c only be can 17