Explaining Public Relations is not so easy for many people even if they have heard the word “PR” before. Lots of people might think that all Public Relations professionals do is make advertisements or promote things, but that is a misconception. They do more, and the reality of Public Relations is deep inside a creative process full of new things.
Public Relations Society of America says, of defining PR, “The earliest definitions emphasized press agentry and publicity, while more modern definitions incorporate the concepts of ‘engagement’ and ‘relationship building’.” The PRSA National Assembly adopted the following definition in 1982: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” See, Public Relations is not focused on advertising, but on building relationships between organizations and public.
The first time when I thought about Public Relations, I vaguely misunderstood the meaning of it too. When I took an Introduction to PR class, I learned what Public Relations is, and learned how people worked in the Public Relations field. The professor used to work at a PR agency, and he told me lots of his experiences. One anecdote that struck me particularly was when he was working with a company in Taiwan, and said the hardest thing to work with them was to understand the time and cultural differences. Sometimes he had to stay at his office until 9 p.m. just to call the office in Taiwan at 1 p.m. their time. He said understanding these differences was instrumental to build a good relationship with these Taiwanese companies.
I learned a lot of things from that class, and now I know what Public Relations is whole heartedly. Relationship building isn’t an easy thing sometimes, but I think it’s so important for almost everyone. I will be thinking about doing an internship this coming year, so I can learn even more about the field of Public Relations and hopefully help dispel some of the misconceptions out there.