Public relations (known often as just PR) can be and is defined in a multitude of ways. A commonly heard statement in terms of public relations is ‘there is no such thing as bad press. ’ And while that statement may be true, in some cases to much PR can create a situation where a person/company becomes overexposed (and to be quite honest, seen as annoying because the public no longer cares to know about the person/company/situation but the media still is following.
Media around the world reports the news but not just political, sports, and the like but things they feel will keep the population interested in their programming, magazines, and newspapers. In order for the media to succeed they will follow stories (the good and the bad) as long as the public is interested, when disaster strikes (a person, company, or government) they will be there and so will the public.
In order for the person, company, or government to stay on the positive side of the public (of which they may need their support), the affected person/group must use the unwanted media coverage (in some cases, not in others) to their advantage.
Edward Bernays (1961) felt public relations was, “… information given to the public, persuasion directed at the public to modify attitudes and actions, and efforts to integrate attitudes and actions of an institution with its publics and publics with those of that institution.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) (a group on individuals whose daily work focuses on the success of public relations) does not have an exact definition of public relations but instead a statement, “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other. ” (2007). One final definition of public relations is, “The art or science of establishing and promoting a favorable relationship with the public. ”(Free dictionary, 2007). Comparison and Contrast Each person/group’s view of public relations’ definition have similarities as well as differences.
In all instances both the groups affected by the publicity and the public are affected. The public in general can and will affect any business or person and the affect can be completely based on the information the public receives from the media outlets. The advantage seems to be in the hands of the public but some can say the advantage also lies in the hands of the person/company because no matter how bad a situation may first present itself their relationship with the public (whether pre-existing, on-going (in most cases), or new) can turn the possible problem around (i. e. turning a negative into a positive).
The Public Relations Society of America seems to have the most well balanced definition (while no one can find a right or wrong answer in the area of public relations) because the PRSA defines PR as a give and take situation so that they remain balanced with one another. Mr. Bernays definition comes across as how companies/people must spin (turn around) the news in order to make any information seen as a positive in the public eye. Why so many definitions?
In an area the business world that is held to so many different interpretations it is not a wonder as to why there are so many definitions to public relations. Marketing ties in advertising and the media which creates the public relations but that is only a fraction of what establishes public relations. The most important thing to remember in public relations is that most of the media attention (in fact, almost all of it) is not wanted attention (ie solicited) but awareness that was brought to light for no gain for the person or company.
The person/company must then decide how to proceed in the eye of the public (ie public relations) and keep themselves in a positive light. References: Bernays E. L. , Crystallizing Public Opinions, Liveright, New York 1961 Free Dictionary. Retrieved on May 12, 2007 from http://www. thefreedictionary. com/public+relations Public Relations Society of America. Retrieved on May 12, 2007 from www. prsa. org