PR Is __________

What is PR?

Here’s the industry’s own definition: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

Say what? PR is a channel companies use to gain media recognition, and by extension public awareness.

My definition is easier to understand than a sentence with “adapt mutually to each other” in it, but is my streamlined definition right for today’s consumer-driven media?

According to The New York Times, the Public Relations Society of America is embarking on an effort to develop a better definition of “public relations,” one more appropriate for the 21st century.

“The definition is ripe for a refresh,” said Adam Lavelle, a member of the board of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association who is the chief strategic officer at the iCrossing unit of Hearst.

“Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences,” Mr. Lavelle said. “Now, P.R. has to be more about facilitating the ongoing conversation in an always-on world.”

In other words, PR professionals now have direct access to the consumer, which makes PR much more like advertising than it was before.

Previously on AdPulp: Heard Over Lunch: Spruce Up Your Online Newsroom (Unless You Want To Be Invisible and/or Boring)

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.