PR Definitions Past & Present

            In the beginning of this year, my blog about public relations reflections included what I thought public relations was, without researching anything about it. What I have said was, “I reflect upon public relations as the idea of networking and getting ideas, thoughts, comments, suggestions, and more out in the open; where people can then analyze and prioritize among them.” I believe this to still be a true factor within the definition of public relations. Though, throughout the year I have learned about PR in much more depth. I learned the multiple different factors that are included within a public relations campaign and how to create, execute, and assess things in the proper way. I have also learned how to identify the difference between strategies and tactics much more thoroughly than what my original thoughts and ideas consisted of.

            Public relations entails a great deal of organization and management within all different positions people may acquire. “The most common definitional components appear to be “management,” “organization,” and “publics.” Practitioner definitions tend to focus on “management,” “organization,” and “publics” as well.” (Hutton, 1999). This probably makes sense to most people in the PR field considering their duties may relate to managing one thing or another, which requires organization, and of course you can’t have public relations without the publics.

            Another way to think about public relations is to think of it within the behaviors of people as a result of PR. “One vehicle that provides such an alternative basis for conceptualizing public relations is the symbolic interactionism of Herbert Blumer.” (Gordon, 1997). To think of public relations within a symbolic interaction is quite awkward at first. But if you think about it, PR images are everywhere. It is especially hard to avoid these images when they are constantly popping up everywhere you go. Not only is it difficult to just avoid being exposed to these images, but it is also very hard to completely ignore the images. One way or another, many images can take a toll on a person. They can be influenced by symbolism of one item, culture, idea, or another. People have their own opinions and favorite symbols, including brands and logos within clothes, companies, or other types of marketing.

            The media is constantly exposing us to a great amount of images and ideas. Public relations has a vast, yet very specific definition, or definitions for that matter. Unless you examine all parts of PR, it is hard to create a concrete definition because of the many different aspects it contains. I believe PR consists of organization, management, and publics, as well as the idea of symbolic interaction. All of these ideas can have a role within each other. In fact, it seems difficult to have management without organization, or to have symbolic interaction without publics. As you can see, it is clear that public relations contains a wide range of concepts. Though, as extensive as these concepts may be, it is clear the ideas are significant factors to one another.

Innovation Techniques Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration



Gordon, J.C. (1997). Interpreting definitions of public relations: Self assessment and a symbolic interactionism-based alternative. Public Relations Review. Vol. 23 i.1, 57-66.

Hutton, J.G. (1999). The definition, dimensions, and domain of public relations. Public Relations Review. Vol. 25 i.2, 199-214.


Crisis Communication in PR

Risk Management Process Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration

               Crisis communication within public relations can be referred to as a sub-specialty. When a crisis, or detrimental situation happens to an organization or company, public relations professionals are responsible for protecting and defending that individual, company, or organization. In order to deal with problems, professional PR people have to be well-versed in solving problems strategically and executing the fix in the most proper manner. They have to make sure each member within the team communicates their part in detail to the whole team, as well as understanding each other’s jobs throughout the plan.

            “An organization’s reputation is as important as any other corporate asset, and many organizations have some kind of crisis plan intended to protect that reputation should something go wrong. This is when effective management of information (controlling communications) is so vital – and always difficult.” (Ashcroft, 1997). As I mentioned, the communication is essential in producing management that will be effective and as efficient as possible. The company/organization’s brand reputation is a very important part to their overall mission. Each organization has specific wants and needs in order to convey their brand image in a unique and identifiable way.

            Problems occur within a company and/or organization pretty frequently. They are dealt with in the most effective way possible to better the situation. ” Crises represent serious threats to the most fundamental goals of an organization and its stakeholders. These events are unexpected and sometimes unpredictable.” (Fatima, 2013). A crisis can be much more harmful to a company or organization. One crisis could damage the reputation significantly. If there are very little resources available to fix the situation, it can become even more damaging.

Person searchs right solution in puzzles Royalty Free Stock Photo



Ashcroft, L. S. (1997). Crisis management – public relations. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 12(5), 325-332. Retrieved from 

Fatima Oliveira, M. (2013). Multicultural Environments and Their Challenges to Crisis CommunicationJournal of Business Communication, 50: 253-277. Retrieved from doi:10.1177/0021943613487070