Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Defining Public Relations

It is amazing what clarity your mind has when walking through woodland above the Vale of Pewsey, where this photograph was taken.

Business and Marketing have rolls that are well described by Peter Drucker. He wrote: "Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two, and only these two – basis functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are ‘costs”. “ Marketing,” he says “ is the distinguishing, unique function of the business. A business is set apart from all other human organisations by the fact that it markets a product or service...”[i]

This neatly places public relations as a cost. It is an essential cost of doing business and an essential cost that we learned from the evolution of the semantic web. Of course, public relations extends to many other areas of life beyond business and yet its role remains constant.

With our new knowledge about semantic concepts and their synergy as values, (and here we use values in way described by Phillips[ii] (2006) Amaral and Phillips[iii] (2009) where values of the individual, group, organisation or representation of an intelectual property are percived in terms of a grouping of values into tokens that are specific and  are recognisable by people) the Public Relations practitioner can now use semantics to identify an approximation to organisational and constituent values.  

Public Relations is the care taker of corporate, product, brand and organisational tokens being the nexus of values recognisable by constituents. The relationship between the dominant coalition and all other constituents is wholly dependent on public relations as the guardian of organisational values, interpretation of tokens and their role in building, sustaining and maintaining (in the culture of many PR practitioners ‘managing reputation’) relationships.

This capability extends beyond business to every form of organisation and social construct.

Because Public Relations has the concern for internal and external constituencies, it is public relations, and only public relations, that has this essential role as an organisational discipline.

Without public relations, we are discovering from research we can conduct using the internet, there can be no organisations without public relations.

Extract from ‘Towards Relationship Management’ JCM 2006
”For example, you recognise a rose as a plant, and flower and also recognise it as a social token associated with romance etc. The rose is the token, its description and associations are values.
“We know that people associate different values with tokens. A rose grower may have a completely different set of values for a rose compared to a love-lorn student.
“Where two people recognise tokens and also have the same or similar values for the token, they are attracted to each other and, as for people so too for organisations and people and organisations.”

[i] Druker, P. 1999 Management pp 57 Routledge.
[ii] David Phillips, (2006) "Relationships are the core value for organisations: A practitioner perspective", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 11 Iss: 1, pp.34 - 42
[iii] Amaral, B and Phillips, D. 2009 A proof of concept for automated discourse analysis in support of identification of  relationship building in blogs accessed May 2013.

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