Defining Public Relations

Essay by BK65University, Bachelor's May 2008

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The question that many scholars and public relations (PR) professionals ask concerns the definition of public relations. In this writers opinion, PR refers to the perception or image the public has of a company. The fundamental goal of a company is to have favorable opinion from current and potential customers. The company needs sales in order to be profitable and any negative publicity can affect the company's fiscal well-being and profits. PR has various definitions and the debates of the definition are numerous. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PSRA), they have formally adopted a definition of public relations which has become the most accepted and widely used. The definition as follows "Public relations help an organization, and its publics, adapt mutually to each other." The definition implies the essential functions of research, planning, communications dialogue, and evaluation.

Seitel states, "PR is a planned process to influence public opinion, through sound character and proper performance, based on mutually satisfactory two-way communication."

Seitel also states that PR is a unique management function which helps to create, and preserve, communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its customers. Seitel's definition would involve the management of problems or issues and would then react in a sound and ethical manner. Seitel's chosen style also helps management to keep informed on, and open to, public opinion. This style would also define and stress the responsibility of management to serve the public interest.

According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), "public relation is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behavior. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics." PR is about reputation the result of...