What is Public Relations?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Public Relations as the ‘professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.’

PR, Marketing and Advertising are normally and incorrectly grouped together as the same thing.

Most people see them all as tools that help a business seem more saleable and therefore more commercially viable. Most people associate PR with the upkeep of a public image for the rich and famous.

However, Marketing, PR and advertising are completely different in aim and in the means they employ.

PR is the endorsement of a third party without monetary influence. Traditionally PR was the use of the influence of editorial within the press that could communicate a certain type of business or personal image. PRs are sometimes journalists, sometimes sales-men, sometimes advocats They are strategic and creative people who appreciate what people are talking about and what’s trending said in and around the world.

They see how their client is part of a greater content-rich narrative.

‘For example, John Brown wants brand-recognition for his business. Unlike advertising, which is where John Brown pays a lot of money for John Brown to toot his own horn, PR is normally when third parties endorse John Brown. This, obviously, can go positively or negatively for John. That is why John needs Mr PR to help him understand the media and create and mold a story about himself that makes sense for the press. Good press is never guaranteed and therefore that much more valuable when it comes out.’

It requires more than money, more than wit, and more than good organization: it requires a combination of instinct, strategy, mind, focus, processes and energy.

The best PR can make a company and the worst PR can break a company – advertising rarely has that impact.

PR, whether corporate, consumer, governments or arts and culture, can help subtly define and develop the identity of a brand, person or policy.

Through intelligent mechanisms and unique instinct, PR is essential for any enterprise that has, needs, or wants a public persona on the world stage.