How do you define PR? PRSA’s deadline is tonight

The Public Relations Society of America’s campaign to crowd-source a definition heads toward 1,000 entries. On Friday morning, Cisco endorsed the effort.


With mere hours remaining, the number of submissions to Public Relations Defined has reached 848 and the Public Relations Society of America hopes it will top 1,000.

Public Relations Defined is an effort by the PRSA to crowd-source a new definition of PR. You can take part by visiting the campaign’s website and adding your entry, but you’d better get it in before midnight tonight (officially by 11:59 p.m.).

Along with the hundreds of submissions, the effort from PRSA also scooped up endorsements from the U.K.’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations, PRWeek‘s U.K. editor, and Cisco Systems’ PR team, which offered its take in a recent blog post.

“It’s one of the best discussions the PR industry has had in years, and we see no signs of it abating any time soon,” Keith Trivitt, associate director of public relations at PRSA, told PR Daily.

Visitors to the Public Relations Defined website can view a word cloud that displays the first eight days’ submissions. A glance shows that “organization,” “public,” “communication,” and “relationship” are the four most-used words.

PRSA will collect all the submissions—including those submitted via email—and hand them over to the Definition of Public Relations Task Force, which will work with the organization’s 11 global partners to develop three draft definitions.

(Here’s a link to see those partners.)

The organization will put those three definitions on its website in mid-December for a public vote. The goal is to announce the definition by the end of the year.

“Ultimately, what we are trying to achieve is a dictionary-like definition that is universally applicable and relevant to audiences around the world, whether they be PR professional, marketers, business leaders, CEOs, academics, HR professionals, the public, media, etc.,” said Trivitt.

Here’s what the current definition of PR, drafted in 1982, says: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

You can see why an update is in order.

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