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The challenge (and irony) of defining public relations

We all know this: Defining public relations is no easy task.

Someone once tried to count the number of suggested definitions of public relations, but he or she allegedly gave up after finding 2,000+ different attempts. Sure, this might just be an urban industry legend, but the point remains the same: There sure are a lot of suggested definitions out there.

It’s such an irony that a profession with ambitions to help humanity to communicate more efficiently should have to struggle so much.

The ultimate public relations definition

Whit that in mind, what kind of public relations blogger would I be if I didn’t throw my hat into the ring as well?

So, here’s how I define public relations:

PR (public relations) = the strategic use of communication to develop and maintain relationships with stakeholders, influencers, and publics.

At this point, I guess that a few clarifications is in order:

  • strategic use — to be used by a brand with purpose; i.e. to fulfil business objectives.
  • stakeholders — people or organisations affected by the brand’s business objectives.
  • influencers — people or organisations who affect the brand’s business objectives.
  • publics — groupings of communicative behaviours who affect the brand’s business objectives.
napoleon dynamite GIF
I’m not sure I made stellar job with this post. Worth a shot, I think.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.

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