Re-Purposing Public Relations

JDeragon
Jay Deragon NextGen Digital Strategis, Strategic Intentions

Posted on March 25th 2010

Re-purpose means to use or convert for use in another format or product. It would seem obvious that the definition and purpose of Public Relations (PR) needs to be re-purposed.

The common definition of Public Relations (according to wikipedia) is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics.[1] Public relations gains an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items to….blah, blah, blah.

Given the impact and growth of all things social the means, methods and knowledge about Public Relations are being transformed and yet most PR professionals have yet to recognize the need for transformation.

Back to Intent

Lets breakdown the two words used to imply public relations. First the word public which means:

  1. Of, concerning, or affecting the community or the people
  2. Maintained for or used by the people or community
  3. Participated in or attended by the people or community
  4. Connected with or acting on behalf of the people, community, or government
  5. Open to the knowledge or judgment of all
  6. The community or the people as a whole
  7. A group of people sharing a common interest

Now lets look at the word relations which means: A logical or natural association between two or more things; relevance of one to another; connection. Looking at the essence of the two words, public relations, and comparing it to current PR practices one must wonder where and when PR lost its way. I didn't see the words trick, capture, spin or mislead anywhere in the essence of the two words used behind the term “Public Relations”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What “Creates” Public Relations?

Public relations, marketing and advertising are all tied together. The related practices have emerged to create mass market appeal using old methods to reach an audience.

When you examine the fundamental  meaning of “public and relations” you can see three things that influence human behavior and market sentiment. The three things  are people connecting with knowledge of something or someone.

Corporations historically have adopted PR tactics to manage PR for the benefit of the corporation. However the  intentions have flipped from institutional aims to the aims of individuals.

People, internal and external, are now enabled to  influence “public relations” because they have been given a “voice” that is loud because the signal is not from one but many. People connected with other people “learn” new knowledge about things corporations do, sell and say. If a corporation does things that aren't “socially acceptable” then traditional PR practices cannot drown the noise of “people connected and equipped with the knowledge” of what the corporation has done or intends to do.

Good, bad and indifferent whatever “the corporation” does or intends on doing the “people” are listening and have the power to galvanize many to express an opinion on how the corporations actions impact the “public's relations”. More and more people are voicing their opinion, sharing their knowledge and connecting their voice to many other people inside and outside corporate walls.

The conflict comes when corporations try and use “social media” to extend past “marketing, advertising and PR” practices to manage their “public relations”. These are dangerous practices because the public now influences relations more than traditional PR practices. Subsequently corporations need to not only change their “marketing, advertising and PR” practices but rather the entire ecosystem of the corporation. Why? Because the foundation of any “corporation” rest with what people know.

Individual knowledge about anything is now everyone's knowledge about everything. Soon everyone's “knowledge” will become easier to find and use. What impact will that have on “public relations”?  Intentions can no longer be hidden behind a mask. Just ask Nestle who is in charge of Public Relations.

Brian Solis coined the term PR 2.0 (Putting The Public Back in Public Relations) in recognition of what is needed to make the transformation. Brian is the foremost thought leader behind these emerging dynamics.\

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JDeragon

Jay Deragon

NextGen Digital Strategis, Strategic Intentions

Jay Deragon — is an author, NextGen strategist and speaker based in Nashville, TN. Jay is driven to help organizations realize and fulfill their purpose.

As someone who has grown and sold numerous businesses — from several web start ups to a mobile technology offering and built a management consulting firm plus worked with Fortune 500 firms — over the last 25 years, Jay knows what it takes to make business meaningful and valuable.

He's worked with major companies like IBM, Fox News, Nextel, ESPN, Disney and many others as well as numerous technology startups. He's provided a variety of strategic consulting services to help organizations develop new product strategies, enter new markets, defend against competitors, and optimize revenues. 

He's provided strategic services for companies worldwide. Industries served include: Aviation, Financial, Insurance, Wireless, Education, Cable, Non-Profit, Healthcare, Entertainment, Media, Retail and Technology.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Soulati.com
Posted on March 25th 2010 at 9:56AM
So, my comment just disappeared out of the blue. Let's see if I can re-create it:

Not certain your exact point(s) here...are you suggesting public relations is a dying breed and we public relations practitioners (me, 25 years) are irrelevant? If that's one takeaway, it's not one I accept.

Social media has altered public relations more than any new "tech" revolution since I began this profession. It's spawned immense opportunity to innovate, align with marketing, and measure (the biggest negative we face).

If you're suggesting PR practitioners, as a whole, are not worth their weight in salt, I have no data to suggest differently, but I'll argue that one, too. Based on my professional growth curve in the last two years, which has been fast-paced, everyone must seize the opportunity presented by social media to innovate, learn, utilize, grow and re-invent. If they don't, then that they are surely irrelevant.

 

 


JDeragon
Posted on March 25th 2010 at 10:45AM
Jayme

Thanks for your comments. By no means am I saying PR is dead rather I am illustrating that methods, means and practices are being transformed because it is now "Public's Relations" that have the influence that traditional PR seeks to obtain.

As stated in the post:  The conflict comes when corporations try and use “social media” to extend past “marketing, advertising and PR” practices to manage their “public relations”. These are dangerous practices because the public now influences relations more than traditional PR practices. Subsequently corporations need to not only change their “marketing, advertising and PR” practices but rather the entire ecosystem of the corporation. Why? Because the foundation of any “corporation” rest with what people know.

Hope this helps and thanks again for the comment.

AnnMarievandenHurk
Posted on April 7th 2010 at 10:32AM
To me, public relations is all about educating, sharing, and connecting people with opportunities and information. It is a two-way communication. That's how I practice public relations. Social media is allowing for public relations to move into this direction. Organizational mindsets and culture will need to transform, but with early-adaptor champions, it can and will happen.
Posted on January 22nd 2011 at 9:09PM

I like the way you suggest that we need to tell a story across several media platforms.  There is so much to learn.
Can you also blog about the legal issues with twitter, and blogs, and other social media?  I know of one company that is about to sue a blog owner because they cut and pasted some nasty twitter tweets that are not really costing the company money, but they are costing them time and energy to deal with the negative phone calls and emails generated from the blog post.  Strange...the company actually saw an increase in sales because of the attention, but fears their reputation may be tarnished in the future, so they may sue.  
Along the same line, what does everyone think about legal issues with twitter, and blogs, and other social media?  I know of blog owner who is being sued because they posted some tweets from twitter that started a lively debate.  The debate turned nasty, and some of the comments got out of hand and exaggerated and mean spirited and ended up hurting some celebrity's reputation.  It started innocently about the celebs clothes, or hair or both, but turned into name calling.  So who is at fault the blog owner, the individuals?  If what people are saying is not factual, then can the blog publisher be held accountable?  And even if it factual, if the post was intended to cause the celeb harm, is that enough to land in court?  I'm not one for silly law suits, but there are those out there that seem to live for it.