Building an Enduring Brand in a Transitory World
by Lynn Casey, chair and CEO
An excerpt from Inside the Minds: Public Relations As A Branding Tool, published by Aspatore Books
Search for a description of public relations, and you will find just as many definitions as there are public relations textbooks - and maybe more. That should surprise no one who works with public relations practitioners, and it probably will not surprise the practitioners, either. This is a broad-based and evolving field. If you look closely at the definitions, however, you will see common themes: Earning understanding and acceptance...influencing opinion through good character and responsible performance...aligning perceptions...building connections...actions and communicating about those actions - all driven toward meeting an organization's business objective.
Every organization co-exists among a variety of stakeholders, many with conflicting agendas. Whether you are building a corporate brand or a product brand, building relationships with people who are important to your success does not have to be a zero-sum game. Which brings me to the definition that has become my favorite over the years. Quite simply, Public Relations is Performance Recognized.
Performance recognized. At its best, that means that a publicly held company, for example, walks its talk with all the people who are important to its success - customers, employees, Wall Street, lawmakers, special interest groups, and the communities in which it operates. Then it communicates with them about its performance - clearly and consistently - so they will recognize that the company is trying to do what it said it would do.
Performance first. Recognition second, achieved by professionally planned and executed communication.
When I started practicing public relations in the late 70s, it was safe to say that most definitions of public relations - especially the part about it being a management function - were still aspirational. At the risk of oversimplifying, public relations departments and the PR firms that supported them served primarily as news bureaus. After the marketing and advertising plan had been set in stone and a new product was about to launch, the rep would be brought in to "PR it" ...
The complete article is published by Aspatore Books in Inside the Minds: Public Relations As A Branding Tool