The definition of traditional public relations is PR 2.0

“Public relations is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”

“public relations means relations with the public”

“Managing the strategy and tactics of communications as an integral part of a business’s policy making and decision taking and is also about managing the reputation of a business. Ultimately, PR is concerned with the management of behaviour – the behaviour of organisations and of publics important to them”

“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”

Lots of different definitions of traditional public relations. Definitions of PR 1.0. They all say broadly the same thing. Somebody please tell me how PR 2.0 is different to what is contained in these definitions. Perhaps PR 2.0 types would prefer a Wikipedia definition (health warning – like most of Wikipedia it is bit too USA-centric):

“Public relations is the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key publics. It is concerned with communications management.”

… or maybe not since it says much the same thing as the first few culled from dog-eared 1980s PR text books and today’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations website.

The problem with PR 2.0 is it only works on people who don’t understand PR 1.0 or only see or practice a small part of traditional public relations. Yes, maybe for press relations agencies things are different. For public relations professionals they aren’t. What was bad public relations practice in PR 1.0 is what is bad public relations practice in PR 2.0.

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://12commanonymous.typepad.com/my_weblog/ Lauren Vargas

    Curious to know the answer because I was actually posting almost the same message. Yesterday, as I was reviewing the text suggested for APR study, I could not get over the archaic definitions.

    As for PR 1.0 and 2.0, I am a strong believer there are no such groupings. Segmentation is made by level of understanding. Bottom line is we must go back to basics to understand our mission.

  • http://www.accmanpro.com Dennis Howlett

    I thought PR 1.0 was about command and control of the message. PR 2.0 is about facilitating the message – isn't it?

  • http://leverwealth.blogspot.com David Phillips

    I agree. A lot of the practice was about 40 years of press agentry bondage. It trapped sensible people on and the floors between reception and the C Suite (a big telesales operation that can easily be offered to India). It is a model that is no longer sustainable. It is not a model that we should even accept into the ranks of the practice.

    PR 1.0 is, as you say, Public Relations. The Internet opens new doors but, in practice, no new thinking about the fundamentals.

    A press release always was a simple statement. Some thought it was the end output. Now it is less than fifth of the output because the story is in web, social media and much more. Here are some hints for those soles who fall on your site and need to get it (Q …what do you call an SMS media release? A …news. Q …How do you say 'give me a call'? A … RSS Q …What is a blog rant? A … intelligence).

    But why even worry about media releases any more. Its not much of a conversation.

    I hope that we just jump over PR 2.0 and go straight to PR 3.0 where the puck is going – adding assets (not value or ROI) through effective relationship constructs.

    Thanks Bruce… Now I've got that off my chest I can go back to work.

  • http://strumpette.com Amanda Chapel

    "Public relations is the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key publics.”

    That captures it. But, one needs to expand on the word “relationships.”

    Remember this scene in When Harry Met Sally:

    Sally: We are just going to be friends, OK?
    Harry: Great, friends. It's the best thing…You realize, of course, that we can never be friends.
    Sally: Why not?
    Harry: What I'm saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape, or form – is that men and women can't be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.
    Sally: That's not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
    Harry: No, you don't.
    Sally: Yes, I do.
    Harry: No, you don't.
    Sally: Yes, I do.
    Harry: You only think you do.
    Sally: You're saying I'm having sex with these men without my knowledge?
    Harry: No, what I'm saying is they all want to have sex with you.

    BOTTOM LINE: There's no such thing as a platonic relationship in business. One party ALWAYS wants to schtup the other. Let’s be real.

    Regards,

    - Amanda Chapel

  • http://www.rainierpr.co.uk/blog/ Stephen Waddington

    Public relations 2.0 (if it even exists) is just another way of performing the required tasks that help ‘maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics’. These have continuously evolved and it’s only now with the advent of web 2.0 that PR professionals have a term that they think they can use. I will still be thinking and working towards the same goals that I have done since I started in this profession 15 years ago – there’s just more ways of doing so than before.

  • http://www.rainierpr.co.uk/blog/ Stephen Waddington

    Public relations 2.0 (if it even exists) is just another way of performing the required tasks that help ‘maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics’. These have continuously evolved and it’s only now with the advent of web 2.0 that PR professionals have a term that they think they can use. I will still be thinking and working towards the same goals that I have done since I started in this profession 15 years ago – there’s just more ways of doing so than before.