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Reich Communications, Inc.

  • Reich Communications, Inc. is a boutique public relations agency in New York City offering full service in a variety of areas, with specializations in business-to-business; advertising, marketing and media firms; transportation safety; non-profits, and select consumer products and services. For more info, visit www.reichcommunications.com or call us at (212) 573-6000. We are located at Suite 11 South, 228 East 45th Street, New York City 10017

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    March 02, 2012

    Comments

    gayle taryn

    i would agree with everything you say here, david, including the Canadian version as a more accurate description of PR minus the public interest part, which often has nothing to do with it. public "awareness," yes. public interest not really.

    Rocco Sacci

    Kudos to our Canadian cohorts, eh.
    With your edit, it definitely is much better definition than PRSA's, which is so lame and non-descript, it doesn't deserve acceptance.

    Jeanne Byington

    My first reaction: Let’s forget succinct definitions the length of a tweet and get back to work.

    The best thing that's happened, as you point out David, is that PR is front and center in a prominent venue for positive reasons--not because one of us has done something sleazy. What a blessing that PR is being discussed at all. So for that, kudos to PRSA, even if they didn't realize the kind of splash they'd make with their constituents--a contingent of opinionated, undisciplined cats.

    David Reich

    Gayle, Rocco and Jeanne -- Thanks for your comments.
    As I just saw someone say on Twitter, "What does this all really matter for us, in the everyday world?"

    Toni Muzi Falconi

    via PR Conversations...

    hi david!

    as a sworn tobacco consumer (and of course -disclosure- past consultant...) I consider my daily habit as a mutually beneficial one and have no intention to quit, and I am sure that many other hundreds of millions around the globe agree with me.....

    As for PRSA I actually had voted for the first definition, but the second suits me as well although I don't like the mutually beneficial either, but because it is mutual and excludes the public interest, which instead is where you disagree with the canadian definition that I instead support as far as the public interest bid is concerned.
    So?


    As far as I am concerned we now know what we do and let's get on with it...

    David Reich

    Here's a good variation of the PR definition, from Jim Grunig, commenting at PR Conversations...

    "Lots of relationships benefit one party more than the other so it's difficult to always get a mutually beneficial relationship. That's where my relationship variable of mutuality of control comes in. A relationship is a good one when each party feels it has enough control over the relationship--not necessarily equal control.

    Here is how I would edit it:

    "Public relations is a strategic communication process that, when practiced ethically and effectively, builds mutually satisfactory relationships between organizations and their publics."

    Sherry Goldman (twitter @sherrygoldmanpr)

    I applaud everyone for trying to get a definition for public relations, but I"m not sure this 'final one' is going to be much of a help. I don't know that it conveys to prospective clients what we do or can bring to 'their party' and I know it doesn't explain to my family/friends what I do. Oh well -- it's a good first step, albeit one in "PR Speak."

    Bill Huey  via PR Conversations

    via PR Conversations...

    I would argue that the words “strategic” and “mutually beneficial” (or mutually satisfactory) are, in most cases, mutually exclusive.

    Does a military commander use strategy to benefit an enemy? Or just to create the appearance of a benefit? That’s called strategic deception, and a practice that is “as old as governments and militaries” (U.S. Army War College).
    Likewise, corporations use strategy for a variety of reasons: to achieve a competitive advantage; to prevent loss of a competitive position; to stave off devastating losses or counter pernicious shifts in the business model.

    For example, BP’s recent settlement to avoid a trial is a strategic move. The $7.8 billion settlement will benefit some of the parties injured by the spill (as well as a good number of lawyers who weren’t), but by no means all. In return, BP gets off for less than a quarter of the $200 billion that some experts estimated the company might be forced to pay, and avoids the introduction of evidence that could result in criminal prosecutions after the civil trial was over.

    Elaine_Fogel

    David, we seem to be devoid of decent marketing terms these days. As we embraced technology, some traditional definitions just didn't apply any more.

    As much as I welcome newer versions, this one for public relations doesn't quite work. I agree with you that PR is not always "mutually beneficial." In our dreams.

    Although my fellow Canucks did one better, the CPRS definition still isn't right. I don't believe that PR achieves "mutual understanding" or is always in the "public interest."

    One thing I will add, in which PR specialists may disagree - PR is a communications activity designed to fulfill an organization's overall strategic marketing strategy.

    Do you agree?

    David Reich

    Hi Elaine.
    Yes, "mutually beneficial" or "in the public interest" are really not accurate descriptions of what PR is about. Those phrases may be true in some cases, but certainly not all, as I and others have pointed out.

    Your suggestion of "fulfill an organization's overall strategic marketing strategy" sounds good, but there are cases when that wouldn't be accurate either. Community outreach, for instance, to get neighbors or local government to understand and hopefully accept an organization's plans to, say, expand a facility is not marketing related, although perhaps relevant to an organization's overall operating strategy.

    This all shows how difficult it is to define our field in one brief sentence.

    victor

    Unlike the PRSA definition and its process orientation, the CDN definition has its sights set on the end game – managing relationships. Good relationships beget good reputations and powerful brands.

    I would add that the thought leaders who carved out the Canadian definition gave PR a future bridge to the professions by referencing 'public interest'. Today's lawyers, accountants and engineers maintain their professional status by paying homage to the public interest, or risk being stripped of their rights and privileges.

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