We’ve Defined PR, By Jove!

It was inevitable this journey in frustration and innovation (or innovative frustration) had to culminate somehow. After 15 (?) blog posts in this series where I, supported by you = we, try to earn consensus on defining public relations, it’s time to close phase one of this discussion with the grand finale about What Is PR, or What PR Is (whichever way you’d like to read that).

Now, mind you, we’ve reached a semblance of consensus and that is “no one can agree on a single definition of PR.” And, the sweat equity invested in this exercise by moi and many others has been fierce. I think I lost weight.

In one of the most recent posts in this series,  I tried to take it to a different level…down to fifth-grade understanding. In that article, I included a collection of simplified definitions by Beth Harte (please hire her for her next position); Erica Allison, Heidi Siefkas, Shakirah Dawud, Gini Dietrich, and me.

That blog garnered a high number of comments from the likes of PR credibles including Patty Swisher, John Falchetto, Danielle Kelly, Davina Brewer, JGoldsborough, and nearly all of those folks quoted in the original article.

While no one settled on a singular definition (and the very long one I tried to cull from about 50 different definitions went down in flames as jargon), I tossed out two very simple definitions without much thought:

1. Public relations (uses technology to) creates relationships with everyone, everywhere.

(This one was preferred by Gini Dietrich yet some took an opposing view to “technology” because we can do PR with a simple handshake or posted letter.)

2. Public Relations helps people say the right things to the right audiences at the right time.

This second attempt was made to truly simplify the definition of PR for any audience imaginable; it was acknowledged by Danielle Kelly who is a Canadian practitioner also known as a reputation fiend!

Why I’m bringing up this last simple definition again is this:

Today, many in the PR community gathered over at Waxing Unlyrical, Shonali Burke’s blog, to share disbelief about a young’un in the PR profession who took measurement to task by comparison to ad value equivalency. Shonali wrote a rebuttal to that poor, un-knowing PR newbie that appeared in PR Daily today.

(Please stay with me, I’m getting to the punch line…)

At the bottom of Shonali’s rebuttal in PR Daily she writes: “All of these are examples of impact that can be measured; impact that can be quantified; impact that tells you you’re telling the right story, to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way.”

Let me show you the punch line if you missed it:

I defined public relations on March 28, 2011 as:

Public Relations helps people say the right things to the right audiences at the right time.

Shonali Burke defined PR impact as:

…telling the right story, to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way.

I think we need only to adopt one more “right” from Shonali and make it all alright — please excuse my shouting from the rooftops:

PUBLIC RELATIONS HELPS PEOPLE SAY THE RIGHT THINGS TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCES AT THE RIGHT TIME AND IN THE RIGHT WAY.

By jove, I think we’ve got it…!…?