Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What is PR?


There is a huge debate going on in Facebook as to the nature of Public Relations. Every student and practitioner in the field should take a look. It shows that there is a great deal of research and thought that has gone into the subject. This is not a passing fashion and anyone wanting to re-define PR has to be pretty brave.

I tried in a paper some years ago and have been rewarded in the fact that my perspective is now able to move forward with the development of social and communication technologies.

The paper posits that material value is released through a process of relationship change and a public relations practice of relationship management is put forward as a management discipline that can create value when the process of relationship management acting on material tokens is deployed.

The basic requirement of PR is to deploy a capability in relationship development that will optimise the mission statement.

The mission statement will identify the organisation as a historic and present day entity and will explicate its capabilities to implement desired outcomes short and long term. Long term ambitions are required as a surety for ethical behaviours.

In future PR will be the means by which an environment is created in which the mission is delivered.

This requires that Public Relations practice has a need to identify entities and their relationship with other entities relevant to the interests of the organisation.

PR practice has a requirement to identify the drivers of relationships between the organisation and its relevant third party entities and as between such entities.

The practitioner will then need to identify the means by which entity relationships can be influenced in relationship development that will optimise the mission statement. 

That is as dry as it comes when describing what we do.

As can be envisaged, this is pretty complicated. It always was but now is more complicated because of the evolution of relationship technologies from the aeroplane to Facebook.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology is already working in areas that can be used in further development of relationship management PR.

"The project aims to develop and evaluate a coherent set of methods to understand behaviour in complex information systems, such as the Internet, computational grids and computing clouds. Such large distributed systems exhibit global behaviour arising from independent decisions made by many simultaneous actors, which adapt their behaviour based on local measurements of system state. Actor adaptations shift the global system state, influencing subsequent measurements, leading to further adaptations. This continuous cycle of measurement and adaptation drives a time-varying global behaviour. For this reason, proposed changes in actor decision algorithms must be examined at large spatiotemporal scale in order to predict system behaviour. This presents a challenging problem."
This helps us to take the idea of relationship PR much further and also shows that there is technological disciple that will be at the core of the debate over the nature of public relations, of which, more later.