“What is…” Wednesday – What is Public Relations? Derek Jones’ Take

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Today’s “What is…” Wednesday will focus again on answering one seemingly simple question: What is public relations?

We welcome a guest blogger to answer a question like this each week. Today, we welcome Derek Jones, chairman at Currie Communications in Australia. Like HMA, Currie is a member of the Public Relations Global Network

So, Derek – What is Public Relations?

Public relations is something of a mystery to most people, part of which comes from the fact that those who profess to have an understanding of it believe that the PR role is solely concerned with generating media coverage or at the very least managing the reputation and/or marketing interface between an individual, a business entity or government. 

While this is part of the job, PR goes a long way further than that.

Someone once said that if you had a group of 10 people in a room and you asked them to write down what they thought public relations is, they would all write down something different and all be correct.
 
While in practice these days, most PR companies call themselves corporate, community and government communications practitioners, the majority are not simply spin doctors but planners, strategists and relationship managers.  This may sound boring but it certainly isn’t in the real world.

So, to establish what public relations actually is, it is helpful to examine the many definitions that exist out there, some of which are rather long and convoluted, and many jingoistic.

Wikipedia has a definition which is certainly long winded.

Public Relations “may consist of a variety of activities engaged in by organizations or celebrities that are intended to promote a positive relationship or image with their customers and prospective customers (members of the public). 

 “Public relations activities may include maintaining relationships with the media and establishing a visible presence at trade shows and other public or private events. It may also include the preparation and distribution of press releases, which are newsworthy articles intended to be published in the media for the purpose of showcasing the company’s activities to the public.”

One of these, which is in widespread use and generally accepted by the major professional bodies such as the Public Relations Institute of Australia follows: Public relations practice is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public.

The Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) of which Currie Communications is the sole Australasian member, details the services that modern-day PR consultancies offer.

For access, go to http://www.prgn.com/services/ and while you are on the home page click on Australia for a look at the services offered by Currie Communications.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

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