The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines Public Relations as follows:
“Public Relations is all 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 supporting 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 politics.”
The roles are varied and challenging and there are opportunities in all types of industry and sector.
Public relations professionals use many different techniques as part of their PR campaigns; from media relations and lobbying, to speaking at conferences, to online viral campaigns, to sponsorship and more.
PR isn't always about short-term campaigns such as product launches. It can encompass longer-term strategic aims, such as brand building and working with local communities.
PR is different from advertising because the PR company does not pay newspapers and TV channels for the media exposure it secures. It's this free, third-party endorsement that gives PR its power and credibility.
Public relations can play a critical role in achieving a competitive advantage by, for example, opening new markets, attracting high-calibre employees, giving more access to funding and investors, creating a high value for products and services and protecting businesses in times of crisis.
All organisations, whether local or international, big or small, benefit from public relations. Public Relations can help shape an organisation as well as tell its story to the public.
PR is a thriving industry employing 48,000 people in UK and is now seen as an integral part of business communication.
The growth of online and digital marketing with its potential for immediate global reach is transforming the way that the reputation of an organisation or brand develops.
PR businesses that relied upon government spending on communications campaigns will feel the pressure in the future as will those who work in the public sector.
The Annual CIPR Survey on the state of the profession summarised the current situation:
"Online reputation management, crisis management and internal communications are expected areas of growth, linked to organisations' need to communicate and engage in difficult times. Activity areas under downward pressure include event management and sponsorship."