Ahh, these misconceptions about what PR people do persist! A recent article in PR Daily gave me pause and caused some chuckling. What really struck me is the thought that we often have ourselves to blame if we can’t articulate how PR involves research, action planning, communication and evaluation–the oft-used R.A.C.E. acronym by PR people to define the strategy involved in the PR process. And it was only this year that the professional association PRSA finally adopted an approved description of the profession. Here it is in all its glory: ”

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Above all, a PR person must be a good writer, an effective advocate and counselor with the wit and wisdom to express ideas and adapt to challenges. Now that you know more about what is expected of PR people, does that influence your opinion?


30 thoughts on “PR people are party planners

  1. I think it is interesting that we are commenting on this topic. In my marketing class recently my teacher told our class that the use of PR is dwindeling fast, and they are losing significatnt power in the field. I personally think that PR is very important and regardless of the way the world turns that there will always be use for it. I think the big misconception is that PR is used in the same way as advertising and marketing, I think in some aspects PR is a harder job.

    1. I agree with that misconception on PR being the same as advertising and marketing. To be honest, prior to this class, I was one of those people! But, have since come to learn the important role that PR does have within a company. In particular, I had not realized the vital role they play in the company’s communication– the function they have between the media and executives, as well as maintaining and improving a company’s public perception. Since learning some more about the profession, I’ve also found myself realizing how often PR is in the news — whether it’s a quote, or an incident that requires its attention. I too had also thought that PR involved “spinning” the truth, but can now understand that PR has to be ethical, otherwise it really does lose its role within a company.

      1. I agree with Whitney! I didn’t realize how much PR is in the news everyday, whether I’m watching ESPN or the local news. Either way PR is present in almost every news story because it wasn’t just randomly placed in the broadcast, someone wanted it there.

    2. I agree. I don’t think PR is the same as advertising or marketing at all even though they do some of the same things. I see how some people may think that the need for PR is dwindling but I don’t see that. In the world of business, we need people who can write well, communicate well, and speak well for the company. We need those that are experts in that. Too many people try to wear too many hats and I don’t think it is good business sense.

  2. This is a tough topic, I do not think that PR will ever go away, no matter what kind of advertising you do, it will never give the companies message the same credibility and legitimacy that a press release will. PR is an often misunderstood profession. Because they are often a jack of all trades person in a company.

    1. I agree with you Alex! PR will never go away. I think PR is extremely important. For example when Trimet has any sort of accident or incident which occur on the bus or the max the PR representative explaining the situation on TV has the ability to encourage the public to look at things in a different perspective or negatively.
      Most companies will face some kind of crises situation and that is why a PR person is absolutely necessary.

    2. I dont think PR will go away either. I actually think that te profession will continue to grow and be in demand. It seems that as time goes on and technology increases, that there is more room for error and misinterpretation. PR reps will be needed internally and externally in regards to an organization. You are also right about them being jacks of all trades. They have to know the comapny, the customer, know how to research, communicate and analyze. Furthermore they have to deal with varing personalities and often have to struggle to stay ethically and honest. They truely have a difficult job. I also think that they will oneday get more respect and credibility.

  3. Yes PR is hard work, it is stressful and you have to respect deadlines, and be aware of everything going on around you and the minutest detail, which always makes it interesting. Every job has its down sides anyway.
    About the character of Samantha Jones as portrayed in Sex and the City who lives a life of non stop parties and cocktails, the message that I take from it, is that in every episode it seems that she fails, something goes wrong because she doesn’t pay enough attention to details.
    And of course it depends on the field you’re working for, for me doing PR for the government is less fun than doing fashion PR (a big part of the job is to organize fashion shows – which is also stressful but more galmorous).

  4. After this class I have a better understanding about PR too, and I don’t believe PR will ever “not” be part of an organization. PR is just as vital as any other business operation, it’s a way for the company to express and relate to the consumer on a consistent manner. When companies are hit with problems their only way of expressing concern/solution to any issue is to have the PR department efficiently communicate it… much different from marketing functions.

    1. I agree Harpreet. I think if anything PR is going to continue to become a bigger part of an organization, and should be taught more in early stage business classes. Small business owners always think about what their marketing and advertising budget is, but I think its time that they start including a public relations budget as well.

      1. I agree with Harpeet and Lucas of how important of PR to an organization. Organizations will always need PR.

    2. I agree with you as well, I think the biggest problem with PR is how misunderstood it is to everyone else that is not in PR or at least taken a class. Almost everyone on this blog has stated that before this class they didn’t realize how important it is or all the aspects of the job.

    3. I agree with you harpreet before taking this class i had little to no clue what PR actually stood for. After taking this class i got a better insight of what a PR individual actually does. I dont think PR will ever go away

    4. I agree. I believe there should be an expert in any field in a business. A PR “expert” is much needed especially in large organizations who need a professional spokesperson and front-person of the brand.

  5. Yes, something people often forget when thinking about PR, is that it is the department of the company that directly deals with every crisis that happens. And if people PR don’t react the right way, the whole company is jeopardized, because it has to do with its legitimacy, and customers’ trust. Even if PR people sometimes have to organize parties, they do much more than only that.

    1. I agree. A PR person does more than just set up parties. They have to be both proactive and reactive to the situations and potential crisis that may arise in their organization. Not only that, but they also need to be highly effective communicators and be able to handle pressure. Research is also a big part of their job. They have to know who their publics are and what they want from the organization. The PR field is way more tham parties and glitz and glamour, it takes hard work and sacrifice to be good.

  6. It didn’t change my thinking towards what a PR person does, because I think I understood how the PR person works. It’s not just about the communicating and the writing, but its about being an executive to the people. Its about understanding the business from an entrepreneurs side, and then communicating that idea from the customers side. That said, being a people person is very important because you have to contact and build relationships with many different people in the industry.

  7. For the most part, I was aware that PR professionals are not party planners of that nature and not what some people think they are. Although before this class, I was not aware of all that they did. It was interesting to learn even more after reading this article about what can be expected and looked for in the profession. For instance, I did always assume that a PR professional has to be an extrovert, it makes sense…but at the same time, its better to be knowledgeable than a people person, makes sense as well. In a way, this article did open my eyes more as to what is expected from a PR perspective. Sounds like a lot of hard work to me but if you have a talent in a certain business it could come naturally as well.

  8. Hate to admit that up until a couple months ago, Samantha Jones on Sex and The City was the most exposure I had to the PR profession. After learning more about the industry and what it’s all about, I think it’s better than party planning. The idea of being “damage control” in some cases and having to come up with quick solutions to big issues, is exciting to me. But there’s so much more to it than being able to talk to people and be outgoing, PR professionals have to be business savvy and have a deep understanding of their consumers/marketing in general.

  9. I think with all of the misconception about PR,Public Relation will be still here in the future because the PR gets to know the problem first before the public.PR will never go away.

  10. I believe unlike Advertising, and Marketing, PR is earned but not bought.
    The people who work in PR industry should be un-bias in opinions and stay true to the facts. Its unfortunate that people misused the true purpose of PR to increase their popularity or gaining personal interests.

  11. I am not a PR major, but i didnt have all those misconceptions about PR. I always thought that PR reps worked for companies and would inform the public when there was a crisis within the company or that would affect the public. I have thought in the past that many PR were dishonest and only told the public wnat they wanted to hear. i also thought that they would twist the information so it would still make the company look good. But through the course you are teaching, i have found that much more goes into PR. It takes a lot of research and comunication. And if you want to be a good PR person, you will be objective and take in consideration all parties. You will be honest and ethical as well.

  12. I too had a misconception about the public relations profession before taking this class. This class really gave me a better appreciation for what PR people do for organizations and how hard they really have to work. Its also tough because it seems like PR people do much of the work to get the name of the organization out there but then all of the credit goes to the marketing dept. because most people really do not understand the difference between the two.

  13. I work for a company who uses its PR department a lot. It’s not necessarily for good or bad but maybe just to get the word out about something. So with my experience here at work, I have and had a pretty good idea about PR and what PR reps do for companies.

  14. I understand the misconceptions about PR because even if PR is representing the whole organization. I think that even if PR people are not promoting and marketing a product as in marketing, they are still hired to defend a company no matter what compared to publicity for example which is free and made from a voluntary basis. I think that since PR people are hired and paid to defend a company they can be considered as marketing people by people not enough aware of the characteristics of the job.

  15. It’s funny to hear that some people think a public relations professional’s only job is to “rub elbows with celebrities” and plan parties. This can certainly be a highlight of the specific career path, but there is obviously a lot more planning and strategy that goes into a PR pro’s schedule. A public relation specialist is usually hired or used during a company’s time of crisis! This can be a stressful career for some, but also rewarding. Knowing more about what this jobs entitles is important if an individual is serious about attaining a career in PR.

  16. This class gave me a better understanding of PR. I believe PR should always be a part of any organization. It is just as important as any other departments. If there is no PR, who would address concerns/issues the company is facing with its publics? PR is different from marketing. I think part of the reason PR and marketing gets confused is because PR is so misunderstood. I think that marketing is more proactive while PR tends to be a bit more reactive.

  17. I do enjoy that the RACE acronym has to be applied to be a sound PR representative. PR is not about shaking hands after a podium speach, but about delivering a message whether in good or bad times. And making sure that the message covers all bases needed and all points considered.

  18. Public Relations obviously has a relatively unclear definition in the eyes of most. A lot of people view it as another angle of marketing, which I agree that it is, but there are areas of marketing that public relations does not do. On a side note, as an event planner, I definitely don’t think that promotions and pr is the same.

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