In September 2011, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) set out to update its definition of PR to accurately define public relations in the modern era. This was needed, the association said, “given the radical changes that have impacted the profession over the last several years.”
Five months later, the new definition was rolled out. Drum roll please…
“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
While we give PRSA props for crowd-sourcing the definition, we can’t help asking, “Where is measurement? Where are results?”
Effective PR is driven by and supports an organization’s goals, and the success of PR should be measured against these goals. We recently won a new B2B client who told us that he interviewed several PR firms but “yours is the first to mention lead generation as a goal.” Of course, this mapped to his goal of increasing the company’s sales.
That is exactly what’s wrong with this new definition. If you don’t know the goal, how do you know if you’ve reached it?