relations (PR) is the art of managing communication between an organization
and its key publics to build, manage and sustain a positive image.
of the earliest definitions of PR was coined by Edward
Bernays. According to him, "Public Relations is a management
function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies,
procedures and interest of an organization followed by executing
a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
relations is the art and science of managing communication between
an organization and its key public constituents to build, manage,
and sustain its positive image. It may also be used to support political
agendas and social change social
Evaluation of public attitudes and opinions.
2. Formulation and implementation of an organization's procedures
and policy regarding communication with its publics.
3. Coordination of communications programs.
4. Developing rapport and good-will through a two way communication
5. Fostering a positive relationship between an organization and
its public constituents.
Corporations use marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information
about the products they manufacture or services they provide to
potential customers to support their direct sales efforts. Typically,
they support sales in the short and long term, establishing and
burnishing the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.
Corporations also use public relations
as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians, seeking
favorable tax, regulatory, and other treatment, and they may use
public relations to portray themselves as enlightened employers,
in support of human-resources recruiting programs.
Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals,
and human and social service agencies, use public relations in support
of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting,
and to increase patronage of their services.
Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise money,
and, when successful at the ballot box, to promote and defend their
service in office, with an eye to the next election or, at career's
end, to their legacy.
to public relations are found in publicists who specialized in promoting
circuses, theatrical performances, and other public spectacles.
In the United States, where public relations has its origins, many
early PR practices were developed in support of the expansive power
of the railroads. In fact, many scholars believe that the first
appearance of the term "public relations" appeared in
the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature.
PR practitioners were-and are still often-recruited from the ranks
of journalism. Some journalists, concerned with ethics, criticize
former colleagues for using their inside understanding of news media
to help clients receive favorable
many journalists' discomfort with the field of public relations,
well-paid PR positions remain a popular choice for reporters and
editors forced into a career change by the instability of the print
and electronic media industry. PR historians say the first PR firm,
the Publicity Bureau, was established in 1900 by former newspapermen,
with Harvard University as its first client. 
First World War also helped stimulate the development of public
relations as a profession. Many of the first PR professionals, including
Ivy Lee, Edward Bernays, and Carl Byoir, got their start with the
Committee on Public Information (also known as the Creel Commission),
which organized getting
publicity on behalf of U.S. objectives during World War
I. Some historians regard Ivy Lee as the first real practitioner
of public relations, but Edward Bernays is generally regarded today
as the profession's founder. In describing the origin of the term
Public Relations, Bernays commented, "When I came back to the
United States, I decided that if you could use propaganda for war,
you could certainly use it for peace. And propaganda got to be a
bad word because of the Germans.. using it. So what I did was to
try to find some other words, so we found the words Council on Public
Lee, who has been credited with developing the modern news release
(also called a "press release"), espoused a philosophy
consistent with what has sometimes been called the "two-way
street" approach to public relations, in which PR consists
of helping clients listen as well as communicate messages to their
publics. In the words of the Public Relations Society of America
(PRSA), "Public relations helps an organization and its publics
adapt mutually to each other." In practice, however, Lee often
engaged in one-way propagandizing on behalf of clients despised
by the public, including Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller.
Shortly before his death, the US Congress had been investigating
his work on behalf of the controversial Nazi German company IG Farben.
was the profession's first theorist. A nephew of Sigmund
Freud, Bernays drew many of his ideas from Freud's theories
about the irrational, unconscious motives that shape human behaviour.
Bernays authored several books, including Crystallizing Public Opinion
(1923), Propaganda (1928), and The Engineering of Consent (1947).
Bernays saw public relations as an "applied social science"
that uses insights from psychology, sociology, and other disciplines
to scientifically manage and manipulate the thinking and behavior
of an irrational and "herdlike" public. "The conscious
and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions
of the masses is an important element in democratic society,"
he wrote in Propaganda. "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism
of society constitute an invisible government which is the true
ruling power of our country."
of Bernays' early clients was the tobacco industry. In 1929, he
orchestrated a legendary publicity stunt aimed at persuading women
to take up cigarette smoking, which was then considered unfeminine
and inappropriate for women with any social standing. To counter
this image, Bernays arranged for New York City débutantes
to march in that year's Easter Day Parade, defiantly smoking cigarettes
as a statement of rebellion against the norms of a male-dominated
society. Photographs of what Bernays dubbed the "Torches of
Liberty Brigade" were sent to newspapers, getting
media exposure convincing many women to equate smoking
with women's rights. Some women went so far as to demand membership
in all-male smoking clubs, a highly controversial act at the time.
1950 PRSA enacts the first "Professional Standards for the
Practice of Public Relations," a forerunner to the current
Code of Ethics, last revised in 2000 to include six core values
and six code provisions. The six core values are "Advocacy,
Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness." The
six code provisions are "Free Flow of Information, Competition,
Disclosure of Information, Safeguarding Confidences, Conflicts of
Interest, and Enhancing the Profession."
to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately
122,000 public relations specialists in the United States in 1998,
while there were approximately 485,000 advertising, marketing, and
public relations managers working in all industries, with roughly
proportionate numbers in Canada.
Public relations practitioners deliver information through the media
to target audiences or, with the advent of the Internet, directly
to specific stakeholder groups. Because similar opinions tend to
be shared by a group of people rather than an entire society, research
may be conducted to determine a range of things such as target audiences,
appeal, as well as strategies for coordinated message presentation.
PR may target different audiences with different messages to achieve
an overall goal. Public Relations sets out to effect widespread
opinion and behavior changes.
public relations uses a variety of techniques including opinion
polling and focus groups to evaluate public opinion, combined with
a variety of high-tech techniques for distributing information on
behalf of their clients, including satellite feeds, the Internet,
broadcast faxes, and database-driven phone banks to recruit supporters
for a client's cause. According to the PRSA,
of the knowledge that may be required in the professional practice
of public relations include communication arts, psychology, social
psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and the principles
of management and ethics. Technical knowledge and skills are required
for opinion research, public issues analysis, media relations, direct
mail, institutional advertising, publications, film/video productions,
special events, speeches, and presentations."
public relations professionals are stereotypically seen as corporate
servants, the reality is that almost any organization that has a
stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs at least
one PR manager. Large organizations may even have dedicated communications
departments. Government agencies, trade associations, and other
non-profit organizations commonly carry out PR activities.
relations should be seen as a management function in any organization.
An effective communication, or public relations, plan for an organization
is developed to communicate to an audience (whether internal or
external publics) in such a way the message coincides with organizational
goals and seeks to benefit mutual interests whenever possible.
property development PR
* real estate
* retail sector PR
* agricultural PR
* food service PR
* health care
* technology/IT PR
* public affairs PR
* on-line PR
* employee/member communications
* community PR
* not-for-profit PR
* crisis communications
As industry consolidation becomes more prevalent, many organizations
and individuals are choosing to retain "boutique" firms
as opposed to so-called "global" communications firms.
These smaller firms typically specialize in only a couple of practice
areas and thus, often have a greater understanding of their client's
business. And because they deal with certain journalists with greater
frequency, specialty firms often have stronger media contacts in
the areas that matter most to their clients. Added benefits of smaller,
specialty firms include more personal attention and accountability
and as well, cost savings. This is not to say that smaller is always
better, but there is a growing consensus that specialty firms offer
more than once considered.
of specialties exist within the field of public relations, including:
* reputation management
* issue management
* investor relations and labor relations
* grassroots PR (sometimes referred to as astroturf PR)
tools and tactics
relations and publicity are not synonyms. Publicity is the spreading
of information to gain public awareness in a product, service, candidate,
etc. It is just one technique of public relations as listed here.
technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience,
and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience. It can be
a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often
a segment of a population. Marketers often refer to economy-driven
"demographics," such as "white males 18-49,"
but in public relations an audience is more fluid, being whoever
someone wants to reach. For example, recent political audiences
include "soccer moms" and "NASCAR dads."
addition to audiences, there are usually stakeholders, literally
people who have a "stake" in a given issue. All audiences
are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders
are audiences. For example, a charity commissions a PR agency to
create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for
a disease. The charity and the people with the disease are stakeholders,
but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money.
the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to
a PR effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but still
complementary messages. This is not always easy to do, and sometimes
- especially in politics - a spokesperson or client says something
to one audience that angers another audience or group of stakeholders.
(also called a "news conference")
conference consists of someone speaking to the media at a predetermined
time and place. Press conferences usually take place in a public
or quasi-public place. Press conferences provide an opportunity
for speakers to control information and who gets it; depending on
the circumstances, speakers may hand-pick the journalists they invite
to the conference instead of making themselves available to any
journalist who wishes to attend.
is also assumed that the speaker will answer journalists' questions
at a press conference, although they are not obliged to. However,
someone who holds several press conferences on a topic (especially
a scandal) will be asked questions by the press, regardless of whether
they indicate they will entertain them, and the more conferences
the person holds, the more aggressive the questioning may become.
Therefore, it is in a speaker's interest to answer journalists'
questions at a press conference to avoid appearing as if they have
something to hide.
questions from reporters - especially hostile reporters - detracts
from the control a speaker has over the information they give out.
For even more control, but less interactivity, a person may choose
to issue a press release.
(also called a "news releases or media
release format The typical press release announces that the statement
is "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE" across the top (some may instead
be embargoed until a certain date), and lists the issuing organization's
media contacts directly below. The media contacts are the people
that the release's issuer wants to make available to the media;
for example, a press release about new scientific study will typically
list the study's lead scientist as its media contact. The bottom
of each release is usually marked with ### or -30- to signify the
end of the text.
"W"s and an "H" There are 6 vital facts to convey
in the first paragraph of a release to ensure that it doesn't end
up in the bin.
release is a written statement distributed to the media using media
lists. It is a fundamental tool of public relations. Press releases
are usually communicated by a newswire service to various news media
and journalists may use them as they see fit. Very often the information
in a press release finds its way verbatim, or minimally altered,
to print and broadcast reports. If a media outlet reports that "John
Doe said in a statement today that...", the "statement"
usually originated in a press release, or a direct quote from an
interview with a John Doe.
text of a release is usually (but not always) written in the style
of a news story, with an eye-catching headline and text written
standard journalistic inverted pyramid style. This style of news
writing makes it easier for reporters to quickly grasp the message.
Journalists are free to use the information verbatim, or alter it
as they see fit. PR practitioners research and write releases that
encourage as much "lifting" as possible.
journalists believe it is unethical to copy from a press release-they
believe it is a lapse of good judgement (for instance, a direct
quote, as in: Senator Smith said, "This is the most fiscally
irresponsible bill that the Congress has passed since the Buy Everyone
A Mercedes Act." In this case, a journalist may copy the quote
verbatim into the story, although ethical reporters prefer to try
soliciting an individual quote from the speaker before filing their
story). Public relations professionals believe that press releases
and other collateral material aid a journalist's job, and it is
the job of the journalist to decide whether or not reprinting material
verbatim tells the real story.
press releases reflect their issuer's preferred interpretation or
positive packaging of a story, journalists are often skeptical of
their contents. The level of skepticism depends on what the story
is and who's telling it. Newsrooms receive so many press releases
that, unless it is a story that the media are already paying attention
to, a press release alone often isn't enough to catch a journalist's
the advent of modern electronic media and new technology, press
releases now have equivalents in these media_video news releases
and audio news releases. However, many television stations are hesitant
to use VNR's that appear canned and are not newsworthy.
groups are established to influence government policy, corporate
policy, or public opinion. These groups purport to represent a particular
interest. When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support
base it is known as a front group.
an artificial "grassroots" movement is known as astroturfing.
A typical example would be the writing of letters to multiple newspaper
editors under different names to express an opinion on an issue,
creating the impression of widespread public feeling but being controlled
by one central entity.
public relations, spin is a, sometimes pejorative, term signifying
a heavily biased portrayal in one's own favor of an event or situation.
While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation
of the facts, "spin" often, though not always, implies
disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics. Politicians
are often accused of spin by commentators and political opponents,
when they produce a counter argument or position. Media spokespeople
often undergo media
training to prepare them for their contacts with the media.
term is borrowed from ball sports such as cricket, where a spin
bowler may impart spin on the ball during a delivery so that it
will curve through the air or bounce in an advantageous manner.
techniques of "spin" include:
Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one's position
* Non-denial denial
* Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths
* Euphemisms to disguise or promote one's agenda
spin technique involves careful choice of timing in the release
of certain news so it can take advantage of prominent events in
the news. A famous reference to this practice occurred when UK government
press officer Jo Moore used the phrase It's now a very good day
to get out anything we want to bury, (widely paraphrased or misquoted
as "It's a good day to bury bad news"), in an email sent
on September 11, 2001. The furor caused when this email was reported
in the press eventually caused her to resign.
Publicity events or publicity stunts
* The talk show circuit. A PR spokesperson (or his/her client) "does
the circuit" by being interviewed on television and radio talk
shows with audiences that the client wishes to reach.
* Books and other writings
* After a PR practitioner has been working in the field for a while,
he or she accumulates a list of contacts in the media and elsewhere
in the public affairs sphere. This "Rolodex" becomes a
prized asset, and job announcements sometimes even ask for candidates
with an existing Rolodex, especially those in the media relations
area of PR.
* Direct communication (carrying messages directly to constituents,
rather than through the mass media) with, e.g., newsletters - in
print and e-letters.
* Collateral literature, traditionally in print and now predominantly
as web sites.
* Speeches to constituent groups and professional organizations;
receptions; seminars, and other events; personal appearances.
* The slang term for a PR practitioner or publicist is a "flack."
Politics and civil society
used in political campaigns is known as "defining one's opponent".
Opponents can be candidates, organizations and other groups of people.
the debate over abortion, pro-abortion rights groups defined their
opponents by defining themselves instead: "pro-choice."
Anti-abortion rights groups responded in kind, branding themselves
"pro-life." Extrapolating their respective rhetoric, pro-choice
groups refer to their opponents as "anti-choice," and
pro-life groups refer to their opponents as "anti-life."
Issues related to Israel
Palestine are similarily contested, as are issues related
to private health care vs. public
recently, opponents of same-sex marriage in the U.S. have declared
that their opponents are not the gay couples suing for the right
to marry in various state courts, but rather the judges who rule
in their favor. They are now calling them "activist judges,"
implying that they impose their personal beliefs instead of objectively
interpreting the law. This sidesteps the thorny issue of making
millions of gay people an "enemy," and instead focuses
attention on the much smaller judiciary, who all Americans can ostensibly
agree should be prevented from being "activists" on the
a politician or organization can use an apt phrase in relation to
an issue, such as in interviews or news releases, the news media
will often repeat it verbatim, thus furthering the message. (This
may be considered an example of a meme.)
Deal" became a description of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's
anti-Depression economic plans, and "states' rights/state sovereignty"
became near-code words for anti-civil rights legislation.
examples include: "death tax" for estate tax, "racial
preferences" for affirmative action, "faith-based"
instead of religious, "climate change" for global warming,
and "partial-birth abortion" for pro-choice.