PR Definition

We work in PR – and soon we’ll be able to tell you exactly what that means

A while back I jokingly joined a Facebook group called, “I Work in PR and My family and Friends Have No Idea What I Do,” partly out of curiosity, but mostly because it’s true. Chances are the description will strike a chord if you work in the industry:

“They know we spend all day at an office and that we are very busy, but no one we know understands what it is we do all day. We are equally unable to explain it to them.”

But that’s all about to change, hopefully.

It’s no secret that public relations has a PR problem. Forget the tension with the media (it’s high time to declare a truce and move on…but that’s another post); I’m talking about the fact that – while a myriad of definitions are floating around – existing descriptions are neither intuitive nor able to encompass PR’s ever-evolving scope of work.

PRSA’s definition of public relations was last updated in 1982. Over the course of the past 10 years, the organization has assembled two special committees to explore modernizing the definition of public relations, but recent discussions, blog posts, tweets and mainstream articles have called for more decisive action. Public relations professionals, having grown tired of lack a de facto industry definition and unhappy with current descriptions, want to both modernize the definition and increase its value.

So late last year the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) decided to tackle this conundrum with its “Public Relations Defined” initiative, setting out to answer the question, “What is public relations?” After collaborating with partners in allied associations and calling for open submissions, PRSA unveiled its three definition possibilities this past week:

1. Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.
2. Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.
3. Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.

We’ve got until January 23 to review, react and comment, and then the collective feedback will be aggregated and analyzed for use in a second “Definition of PR” summit. The goal of that meeting will be to produce three final definitions, on which the profession will be invited to vote, and then the final definition is slated to be announced at the end of February. For more information, annotated versions of the definitions and to leave your thoughts for consideration in the process, click here.

Do you think the definitions above are on track? If not, how would you better define PR? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Thanks From PerkettPR

It’s that time of year again when we take a day off in the U.S. to breathe a little more, slow down (even if for just one day), think about the blessings in our life and thank those around us who make it better every day. I asked the PerkettPR team what they’re grateful for this year, and here are some of the answers:

  • I’m grateful for great friends, family and food this Thanksgiving – not to mention four days of being able to sleep in (forget those Black Friday lines; I’m thankful for online shopping!) – Jennifer
  • I am thankful for my kids – they are the funniest, smartest, craziest kids I know. They teach me more than I teach them and I am amazed by their generosity, patience, understanding, humor, intelligence and politeness every single day. – Lisa
  • I am thankful to have found such a great group of people to work with; I have been renewed with an overall sense of optimism and positivity. Thank you! – Vic
  • A lot can change in a year and this year especially I am thankful for good health, family, and best friends. – Johanna
  • This has been a rough year, but with the hard times, comes the much needed reminder of all the blessings in my life. I’m so grateful that my kids were able to spend some time with my dad before he passed away this fall. I’m grateful for my husband who is endlessly supportive and generous. I’m thankful to have a good job and a fantastic group of colleagues – and one amazing boss — who not only inspire me with their work ethic every day, but understand and respect that we each have personal lives and responsibilities and graciously offer their support when needed. Finally, I’m grateful for this moment — a few minutes in the midst of a busy day to reflect on what’s truly important and give thanks. Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – Crystal
  • Things I am grateful for this year – My Dad surviving his first (and second) heart attack last week, the doctors who saved him and the wonderful family and friends that have been so supportive with it all.  Also thankful to have a career I love, the great community that I live in and the health and happiness of my family and friends. – Susan
  • I am thankful for good health! – Stephanie
  • I’m thankful for so many things but one thing I actually smiled about the other day (as I was driving home from helping my son’s first-grade class make cookies for charity) is how thankful I am to have a job that I love that also allows me the flexibility to be so involved in my children’s lives and take part in moments like that that are so special to them and me. – Kristen

From a professional standpoint, I can say that I am most grateful for my team at PerkettPR. They are hard working, intelligent, creative, patient, supportive of each other and fun to work with. They are also extremely loyal and committed to our clients. They get results, and they have a camaraderie that makes our culture what it is – leaving egos at the door, digging in and working together towards mutual success every day. Thanks guys, I’m proud to work with each and everyone of you.

I’m also grateful for our clients. Each time we build a positive new relationship, it’s a feeling of pride. The best clients are honest, open communicators and I’m grateful for what I learn from them – and the respect that they give us in listening to and learning from us – as well as the respect they give me and my team. I’m especially grateful for those clients that rehire us time and time again as they move along to other companies throughout their careers. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with them over the years – even decades! It means they respect us, our work and what value we provide, and we build long-lasting, fruitful relationships and friendships. Special thanks to those clients like Donna Parent at Aternity Inc., Parker Trewin at Mindjet and others who have recently returned that I can’t yet mention!

I’m also extremely grateful for the community that supports PerkettPR every day through reading or participating in interviews on our blog, liking our Facebook or Google+ pages, interacting with us there, sharing ideas, spreading the love for our clients, trying their products and apps, following us on Twitter, inviting us to speak at events, etc. We have met many clients, friends, supporters and industry colleagues through these networks, and it has enriched not only our daily work, but our business.

Thank you!

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Please share in the comments!

 

Love Your Accountant? PR Firm? Vet? Last Day for Make A Referral Week to Help SMBs!

As a small business, and one that often promotes relevant technologies, product and services, we are passionate about supporting the SMB community. Small businesses are the crux of our economy – stimulating new ideas, new jobs and new creations every day. So we wanted to remind you that today marks the last day to make a referral on “Make a Referral Week” -  an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small business economy one referred business at a time.

“The goal for the week is to generate 1000 referred leads to 1000 deserving small businesses in an effort to highlight the impact of a simple action that could blossom into millions of dollars in new business,” writes John Jantsch, creator of the effort and author of Duct Tape Marketing. We couldn’t agree more, so please, join the cause – show the power of referrals and make one here, today.

 

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Pay It Forward

We’ve kicked off 2010 here with a new attitude. You didn’t know? We announced some exciting agency news recently and today I’d like to introduce you to a PerkettPR benefit that is designed to foster the personal gain that can be found by giving back. Ohio State University football coach, “Woody” Hayes said it best when he said, “You can never pay back; but you can always pay forward."

PerkettPR employees receive 40 paid hours of community service time a year, in addition to our regular paid time off. 40 paid hours to get out of the office and use our talents, passion and energy to support an initiative that’s important to us! I love it.

Most of us already spend personal time doing volunteer work but when we have busy jobs, families, professional development commitments, etc., it can be hard to find the extra time to contribute where and when we want to. I’m excited to have this opportunity to supplement the work I’m already doing and I hope you’ll be interested in hearing about what we’re all doing with our #CommunityService time here and on Twitter.

We have found that giving back to our communities makes us better people and provides a sense of accomplishment that is different from what we achieve at the office. How do you strike a balance? Where do you find time to give back? Who supports you?

How I’m Spending My Time

As a two-time Melanoma survivor the work of the Melanoma Foundation of New England is close to my heart. The programs they support, like the monthly support group I attend, are vital to cancer patients in the region. For the last three years I have volunteered my time and energy to help raise money for the foundation and awareness for our cause.

Heather Fraelick with Head Field Hockey Coach/Senior Woman Administrator for Wheaton College, Rebecca Lanseigne Begley.Since January, we have gathered 5,000 signatures from high school students across New England, for the Your Skin Is In program, who have pledged NOT to tan before their prom. I will personally be out speaking at high schools and colleges – sharing my own struggle with Melanoma and encouraging young adults to think about beauty and health as one in the same. Last week I spoke to 50+ female athletes at Wheaton College, my alma mater. As a collegiate lacrosse player, I wanted to convey the life altering events that happen when you go from being an athlete to a patient, facing months of recovering from surgeries where you’ve had tumors and lymph nodes removed. Melanoma is the most common cancer among women aged 25-32. I want these young women to hear my story and see the face of skin cancer – mine and theirs.

People who use tanning beds once a month, before the age of 35, increase their melanoma risk by 75%. This additional 40 hours of paid community service time means that I can speak to more students, educate more young people, and save more lives. I take this advocacy work seriously and I’m proud to say my employer supports me in my mission.

Here is a video the foundation just released – it’s a powerful teaching tool about how indoor tanning causes skin cancer. Won’t you watch it and consider sharing the facts with those you care about?

Tanning Is Out: Your Skin Is In:


Tanning Is Out, Your Skin Is In (60 seconds) from Amy Mason on Vimeo.