One of the joys of being in PR is trying to explain what you do to bosses, in-laws and parole officers. For some execuflacks, however, it’s either too simple or too guilty to just say that we use legitimate influence strategies to advance business, social and political interests. No. We have to make it sound like we’re all on a hilltop singing We’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (and Read Our Press Release).
Blogger Heidi Cohen compiled an interesting collection of 31 different PR definitions. Many are full of good intentions, some are academic, a few are smarmy.
But none of them match the inflated, grandiose pomposity of the Public Relations Society of America, which defines what we do for a living this way:
“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”
This is of course news to most of my clients, companies that employ PR staffs and most PR people themselves. Come to think of it, I have never heard a CEO yell, “Get the communications director in here so we can adapt mutually with our publics, dammit!”
Many years ago we issued an April Fool’s announcement saying that we were no longer going to call ourselves a PR agency. From now on, we were going to be a Hype Optimization Solutions Enabler.
If we’re trying to be the center of the universe, I still like HOSE better than Mutual Adaptation Helper.
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