In America today, the Obama Administration are clearly masters at public relations – and getting attention for their extensive use of PR executives. The former communications director of the White House, Anita Dunn has visited the White House 100 times since leaving her post, and during that time, while serving clients that lobby the Obama Administration the PR agency she is a partner at has doubled in size. The Health and Human Services Department of the Obama Administration is spending $20 million for a PR agency to publicize Obama Care, and refusing to answer questions about the scope of the work.
With the imminent election, there has been contrasting PR messaging from both sides of the political aisle about the Navy SEAL mission that resulted in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and of course the Romney Administration is rightly concerned about last minute-media bias before the elections, despite their strong public relations efforts.
At 5WPR we regularly hire people after every campaign cycle as it’s a great training ground for PR professionals who understand pressure, deadlines and the need to “win.” And in recent years with the rise of the importance of digital media it’s become even more challenging to succeed at Public Relations.
So, what exactly is public relations? Lord Chadlington who owns Huntsworth, one of the world’s largest communications companies said: “PR is about creating content and managing communications—in whatever format it is.” The Public Relations Society of America, a leading trade organization studied the topic for a year, and today defines PR as: “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
In Mosby’s Dictionary, Public Relations is defined as: “The art and science of promoting good will within the public by a corporation or governmental agency.” Barrons Dictionary defines PR as a “Form of communication that is primarily directed toward gaining public understanding and acceptance. It tends to deal with issues rather than specifically with products or services. Public relations uses publicity that does not necessitate payment in a wide variety of media and is often placed as news or items of public interest. The practice of PR is used to build rapport with the various publics a company, individual, or organization may have (i.e., employees, customers, stockholders, voters, competitors, or the general population).”
In my book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” I define great public relations as: “Helping to make the impersonal personal, Bridging divides, Creating excitement and builds equity for businesses, personalities, politicians, and others, Managing crises and catastrophes, and telling stories, having conversations, and making impressions.”
As far back as 1928, Edward Bernays, who is considered the father of modern day Public Relations wrote a book where he argued about the importance of Public Relations and said “In the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy.”
Clearly, in 2012 it still rings true today.
The CEO of 5WPR, Ronn Torossian is NY based.