Modern Definition of PR

In the past 30 years we’ve seen social media emerge as a powerful communications tool. We’ve seen the line between news and entertainment blur. What we haven’t seen is a definition of public relations to keep up with the times.

But that’s changed with the announcement of the PRSA-led “Public Relations Defined” initiative. Following a public vote in February, the profession’s choice for the modern definition of PR is:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

This definition received 671 votes, or 46.4 percent, of 1,447 total votes. PRSA will adopt the winning definition to replace the 1982 definition of public relations. That was the last time the definition had been revised.

A review of the word cloud from the definitions submitted closely aligns with the winning definition. Among the key words are “public,” “communication” and “relationship.”

In a letter to members Gerard Francis Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, and chair and CEO of PRSA, said, “The ‘Public Relations Defined’ initiative has not only modernized what many considered to be a medley of dated concepts of public relations; it has reshaped an important conversation about the future of the profession and its value in the 21st-century business landscape.”

What do you think of the definition?

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