Every time I tell someone I’m a communications major, they always ask me what I’m planning on doing with my degree. My response is “I’m thinking about going in Public Relations”, than they respond by asking “What is Public Relations exactly?” Throughout my Intro to PR class I have learned that there is no universally accepted definition for public relations. Perhaps the reason why public relations has no universal definition is because it is so complex; no two PR jobs are exactly alike. Taking what I have learned from my intro to PR class, here is my own personal definition of public relations.
Public relations is about understanding people, and how they operate. PR professionals know people’s consumer habits, understand demographics, and can relate to the general public. Furthermore, public relations is about making a company look good by enhancing the company’s reputation in the eyes of their target audience. Because PR professionals job to “make people look good” they are often called then masters of “spin”. (To “spin” a situation is to make people look at it in a more favorable light). PR people are often employed during crises to recreate a company’s image, or to explain, the unexplainable. Public relations crisis management situations may include the BP oil spill, the President Clinton affair, and the Kardashian Divorce. Public relations people employed during a crisis have a goal to make the organization or individual look better in the eye of their target audience. Furthermore, PR people suggest campaigns to these organizations in order to gain back the respect of the press, and key stakeholders. For example, PR campaign for the BP oil spill included BP making an “I’m Sorry Commercial”.
PR professionals themselves must be able to handle high stress situations, must be a good at multitasking/adapting to changing environments, an affective communicator, and must understand the public. PR is perhaps one of the misunderstood and misinterpreted professions within the job market. Therefore, at its core, PR isn’t just able taking people to lunch, it’s about the “behind the scenes” reasons the public respect the company or individual the PR professional represents.