Posts Tagged ‘Publics’
For the past few months, there have been discussions in various PR communities regarding defining public relations and it seems to be a continual challenge. If PR theorists throughout he decades have different definitions*, it makes sense that the industry as a whole might be challenged to operate in one cohesive fashion.
Part of the challenge in defining PR, it seems, is that most companies, agencies and their practitioners consider PR the art of getting ink. Ink slingers, if you will. With such a huge misperception, we should be curious as to what other misunderstandings might be out there.
For this post, the working definition of PR will be:
Public relations is a management function that establishes and maintains two-way, mutual relationships and communications between an organization and the publics and stakeholders that often determine their success or failure. PR management includes on-going research, analysis, planning, and evaluation in order to understand, develop, and nurture strategic relationships.
Stakeholders are Publics, But Not All Publics Are Stakeholders
When PR is looked at as media (or blogger) relations only, a funny thing happens… Every reader begins to look like a potential customer (or donor, etc.). More ink equals more impressions equals more potential customers! (That philosophy usually adds up to a big ‘ol nothing if the only goal is revenue generation.)
It’s key in PR efforts to understand that not all publics are stakeholders. Stakeholders are the groups that have an actual stake in the organization: customers, donors, employees, students, shareholders, investors, etc. Publics are any group that might have a common interest or values in a given situation, but they do not have a stake in an organization. That certainly does not mean that other publics are not powerful groups.