PR has always been a notoriously difficult profession to define. It’s easy to tell people that it’s not advertising, marketing or publicity (no Max Cliffords here, thanks very much), but it’s much harder to explain to people what it is.
The CIPR’s definition of PR is:
“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.”
While that’s helpful to a certain extent, it’s still not going to make your mum feel like she fully understands your day job.
While I could wax lyrical about how PR professionals build relationships with the media, draft press releases and case studies, manage communications during crises and much more, for me PR is simply about communicating a message to influence opinion and behaviour. The tools you use to do that are what separate good PR from bad.
While a clear definition may still be elusive, the value of PR is much easier to explain. Take these words from some very succesful businessmen, for example.
From Bill Gates:
“If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget I’d spend it on PR!”
…and Richard Branson:
“A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”
They certainly make you feel good about what you do on a daily basis – even if your mum may never understand exactly what that is!