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.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 08/29/11

Social Blue Prints15 Case Studies to Get Your Client On Board With Social Media
This Mashable post from Jonathan Rick provides 15 recent social media case studies along with the underlying principles that went along with their success.

Snackable Content: The Key to Engagement
I first heard the phrase “snackable content” a few years ago. At the time, it stood out as a great way to describe the type of content that brands should be creating and offering up to their online communities. Fast forward to this past week, and once again the term resurfaces and remains just as relevant as you’ll see in this MarketingProfs post from Glenn Engler.

Social business holds steady gap behind consumer social media
Dion Hinchcliffe provides a detailed look into the current state of social in the enterprise, complete with stats and links to other resources via this post on ZDNet‘s Enterprise 2.0 blog.

The importance of being human
Next to listening, adding a human element to your efforts in the social space online is one of the best things you can do for your brand. Francois Gossieaux breaks down the concept of “humanization” and explains whey you should care via this post on iMediaConnection.

How Social Media Users Engage with Marketers on Twitter
This post from eMarketer.com shares some highlights from a recent Lab42 survey that revealed how users react to, follow and engage with brands on Twitter. Perhaps the results prove the need for more humanization?  :)

Persuasive Picks for the week of 08/15/11

TomatoesA Tomato Lover’s Guide To B2B Social Media
Renegade CEO Drew Neisser creates a great metaphor between B2B Social Media and growing tomatoes in this entertaining read on Media Post‘s Marketing Daily blog.

Is Your Social Media Strategy Stalling Because You’re Not Doing This One Thing?
HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella shares some interesting stats and advice on boosting engagement of your content through clear and concise calls to action, in this guest post on CopyBlogger.com.

Can Social Media Improve Your Workers’ Productivity?
Contrary to the opinions of many corporate execs, social media can be leveraged to make employee time more productive and less of a time waster. Find out how via this Business Insider post from Ramon Ray & the Smallbiztechnology.com Team.

Take the Grunt Work Out of Monitoring Social Media with mBlast
Take a peek at Diana Huff‘s review of a pretty cool looking tool for taking care of your social media monitoring tasks. I’m definitely looking forward to kicking the tires on this one.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR
Personal Branding Expert Dan Schawbel interviews author David Meerman Scott about the release of the third edition of his best selling book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

BravoTV – Making Reality TV Stars Accessible

BravoHello my name is Claire, and I am a reality TV junkie – and my network of choice is BravoTV.

I can’t get enough of my Bethenny, Real Housewives, Flipping Out, Top Chef, Million Dollar Listing, Matchmaker and Decorators. One might ask what makes these shows so addicting and how is it that Bravo TV continues to runaway with record-breaking viewership ratings.

Here’s why.

Beyond their ability to cast ‘real people’ with larger-than-life personalities (and in some cases, serious issues), which make for amazing television, Bravo has simultaneously created an aggressive social media strategy that feeds into the viewers desire to know more and to engage further with their favorite reality stars.

Andy Cohen

Taking the reality TV obsession to an entirely new level, Bravo and the genius behind the magic, Andy Cohen, provide fans with a 24/7 social media engine that makes our favorite reality TV stars accessible, even when the cameras are off.  (And yes, my husband is thrilled.)

Leveraging the power of Twitter and Facebook, Bravo has not only created a social media presence for its network, but individual programs and fascinating “Bravolebrities”.  Cohen also has a self-titled blog/microsite that features pictures and captions with celebrities, while Bravo TV has a TweetTracker portal that monitors tweets from fans, mobile and iPad Apps, a branded toolbar and The Dish newsletter. Each Bravo personality also has their own blog where they recap show episodes and answer viewer questions.  Bravo has even launched its own Foursquare app where fans can see recommendations from their favorite Bravolebrities!

Taking the engagement offline and on-air, Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live!” is yet another popular program that features Bravo personalities LIVE in studio fielding questions from fans via phone, Facebook and Twitter.  These 30-minute shows are then followed by a live U-Stream where fans can continue to call-in, Tweet and Facebook their questions – WHEW! Some might say this is all overkill, I say keep it coming – and keep it REAL.  Engagement is what it’s all about and if Bravo continues to provide ways for me to actually connect with the people I’ve grown to love (and hate) this junkie says “Bring it”  – @BravoTV and @BravoAndy Got it right!! MAZEL!!

Are you a fan of BravoTV?  What are your thoughts about their level of fan engagement? Share your comments below.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 07/18/11

EngagementsWhat is Engagement in Social Media?
Angela Hausman explores the definition of “engagement” via this post on SocialMediaToday. Be sure to read through the comment thread for additional definitions and view points from the SMT community.

What does Google+ mean for your social media policy?
Technologist David Reinhardt expands on the potential impact Google+ will have on the way we maintain personal and work relationships and the added complexity this new social platform could add to your organization’s social media policy.

How to Turn Customers Into Loyal, Raving Fans
Mike Michalowicz, author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” expands on the value and importance of under promising and over delivering when it comes to building the ultimate customer base, via this post on WSJ.com.

Is Social Media Experiencing the Search Engine Consolidation?
Fast Company expert blogger, JD Rucker, explores the idea of a future where social platforms begin to consolidate and morph into new sources of online search.

Email Metrics: Open, Click Rates Highest in the Morning
Gain some insight into becoming a better email marketer in this MarketingProfs post that shares key findings and great statistics from a recent MailerMailer report.