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Definitions of Public Relations (PR)

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1. I need to understand what Public/Relations mean? I need your personal opinion about what P/R means and three definitions.

2. What does it mean when they say compare and contrast, because I have to compare and contrast these definitions in my paper?

3. Also, why do you think there are so many different definitions of PR?

Thank you!

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Please see response attached, which is also presented below (extra definitions are ONLY at the end of the response below). I hope this helps and take care.


1. I need to understand what Public/Relations mean? I need your personal opinion about what P/R means and three definitions.

Theories and definitions of concepts change over time, mainly because history itself changes, which demands new ways of explaining things. In fact, the formal practice of what today is called public relations is less than 100 years old. Yet during its relatively brief history, public relations has been defined in many widely differing ways.

A. Not surprisingly, the earliest definitions emphasized the roles of press agentry and publicity since these were major elements from which modern public relations grew.

B. Later as public relations was recognized and employed by more organizations, definitions began to include:
· the need for research prior to initiating actions, careful planning and thorough evaluation or measurement of results.
· a continuing, systematic process instead of a one-time or single activity.
· multiple audiences or publics.
· its role as an essential function of management.
· public participation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration and accommodation as important tools.
· the need, in most instances, for long-term commitment. (1)

Notice that many of these definitions are quite lengthy, so much so that they tended more to describe what public relations does than what it is.

C. In 1988, in an attempt to solve this dilemma the governing body of the Public Relations Society of America -its Assembly -formally adopted a definition of public relations which has become most accepted and widely used:

"Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."

This definition seems to be a good one. In this definition, the essential functions of research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation are implied. Key words are "organization" rather than the limiting implication of "company" or "business", and "publics" which recognizes that all organizations have multiple publics from which they must earn consent and support (1)

D. Public Relations is any activities or events that help promote a favorable relationship between a company and its customers and prospects; activities used to influence the press to print stories that promote a favorable image of a company and its products or services (www.garyeverhart.com/glossary_of_advertising_terms.htm).

In fact, the meaning of the term public relations (PR) is controversial. The Public Relations industry would describe it as the means and industry of influencing public opinion towards an organization and its products or services. To critics of the public relations industry it is also the means and industry used by corporations to deceive the public and to manipulate public opinion for economic and political gain. PR is distinct from advertising as it is generally not aimed at selling a particular product from a particular business, and, for further comparison, propaganda, sometimes carried out for political purposes by governments. Many of the same PR techniques may be employed in all these areas. Within the industry, those involved in marketing may consider public relations a subfield of marketing; those involved in PR may disagree. (See full article online at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations).

Please see other definitions of PR to consider at the end of this response, which are not included in the attached response.

2. What does it mean when they say compare and contrast?

Let's look by example:

If you were comparing the different definitions of PR it might look something like this:

Whereas the earliest definitions emphasized the roles of press agentry and publicity, the later definitions focused on the role ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the meaning of public relations (PR) through discussion and three or more definitions. It also explains what it means to compare and contrast definitions of PR and why there are so many different definitions of PR.

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