Sometimes, you may see competitors within your industry collecting positive mentions in the media or witnessing other brands accumulating shares and likes on various social media platforms. It’s not just annoying. It’s exasperating — and that is where you should think about why they are getting so much attention.

💡 Read Digital PR Explained: Best Strategies and Tools

It becomes apparent that their tactics aren’t any different from what you’re doing in your business. The main difference is in their understanding of the impact of public relations.

Now, let’s give the definition of PR, what it entails and the proper way of using all its instruments. This comprehensive guide will provide all the key information to get started in PR and learn the definition of pr.

PR Definition

The definition of PR stands for Public Relations. So, what is public relations then? Its definition is simple: it’s a vital communication tool that focuses on building and managing relationships between an organization and its stakeholders. To these belong, customers, employees, investors, journalists, regulators, and the general public. What do PR professionals aim to achieve? They want to make sure the image, reputation, or public perception of the company they represent is favorable.

For now, the global PR industry is valued at $100 billion, underlining its importance.

Market size in billion US dollars
Example of the market size in billion US dollars

PR is best used as part of an overall marketing strategy since it’s primarily a tool for extending a brand beyond the limits of sales-driven messaging. In other words, PR influences how the brand is perceived.

The secret truth is that most successful PR campaigns don’t happen overnight. Instead, they need a lot of effort and proactivity to work on the company’s segment, requiring a sustained and strategic vision.

Read The Role of Public Relations in Marketing: How Does PR Fit In?

What Is The Purpose Of Public Relations?

  • Building Trust: PR builds credibility and transparency between an organization and its audience by enabling open and truthful communication.
  • Reputation Management: PR professionals work hard to handle and safeguard a company’s image. They’re ready to manage a crisis of bad stuff just as well.
  • Creating Awareness: PR contributes to creating recognition surrounding a company, its services, products, and achievements. It can also generate public interest and involvement.

Read 10 Actionable PR Tips that Really Work

What Does A PR Specialist Do?

Now that we know the basics of what PR is, let’s take a closer look at who the PR professionals are and what they are dealing with. They are the ones who determine an organization’s public image as well as its reputation. These experts are responsible for strategically overseeing the communication of a company to its intended target audience. Their multitasking role involves various activities, such as::

  • Message creating: PR people know how to prepare a clear narrative and make sure an organization’s message is conveyed.
  • Media relations: Their goal is to establish and maintain positive relationships with reporters and media outlets to ensure coverage of their clients and to shape the public opinion around them in a good way.
  • Crisis management: Public relations professionals are the first responders, crisis managers, and damage control artists.
  • Event planning: They manage events, press briefings, and product launches to get media coverage and stakeholder engagement.
  • Social media management: They execute social media strategies effectively using social media automation tools that attract and engage online audiences. Additionally, they analyze user behavior to refine strategies, making sure they resonate with the target audience. 
A day in the life of a PR specialist
What does a PR specialist do?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of PR specialists will increase by 9% over the next decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is evidence of the escalating demand for expert communicators who can navigate the constantly shifting terrain of media and digital channels. PR specialists are vital to building a positive public image and brand equity. They are essential in today’s competitive market, where a well-thought public relations strategy can mean the difference between triumph and anonymity.

Public Relations Types

Let’s define PR types. There are various kinds of it — each with a different focus and goals. Some of the most common types of PR include:

1. Media Relations

  • Definition: Media relations is about developing and maintaining relationships with journalists, editors, and media outlets to secure good press for an organization or its products/services.
  • Importance: 92% of consumers trust earned media more than any other source in their purchase decision.

2. Crisis Communication

  • Definition: Crisis communication is the process by which an organization prepares for and responds to a crisis to prevent or limit damage to the organization’s reputation.
  • Importance: How you handle a crisis can save your reputation in the long run. According to Capterra, 98% of business leaders who implemented their crisis communications plan found it effective, with 77% stating it was highly effective

Read Three Crisis Communications Examples By Real Brands You Can Learn From

3. Corporate Communications

  • Definition: Corporate communications revolve around creating and implementing uniform messages to internal and external stakeholders to shape an organization’s image and reputation.
  • Importance: Consumer decisions can be swayed by a good corporate reputation. According to Statista, when it comes to choosing where they want to shop or do business, 87% of consumers believe a company’s reputation is important.

4. Government and Public Affairs

  • Definition: Government and public affairs PR is about engaging the government, regulators, and the wider public to shape policy, regulations, and public opinion.
  • Importance: This is important because, though, organizations typically respond to complex regulatory rules. The fact that businesses spend an estimated $3 billion annually on lobbying efforts in the US alone each year illustrates how vital this PR type is.
PR definition plan

PR And Marketing: What’s The Difference?

PR and marketing work on parallel tracks, both aimed at building the image of a company or brand, but they do it in very different ways. Sometimes PR can seem a bit like marketing, but it’s not quite the same

Here are some of the biggest differences between PR and marketing:

  • Objective. Marketing’s primary objective is to boost sales and profits by identifying the desires of consumers and creating products or services that satisfy them. On the other hand, PR is all about cultivating ties with the public at large — customers, media, investors, etc. — to create a good perception and reputation of the company.
  • Audience. Marketing involves persuasion and conversion of leads into customers to increase sales. A press release, on the other hand, addresses a broader audience (including media, investors, employees, and the public at large) to influence or shape public opinion and establish trust and credibility.
  • Channels. Marketing typically uses paid channels such as direct and digital ads to reach customers. But PR deals exclusively with earned media (i.e., press releases, media interviews, and public speaking) to send those messages to the broader world.
  • Control. The brand manages the marketing messages that are consistent and controlled for brand messaging. In contrast to marketing messages, PR messages are distributed through third-party channels (media outlets), giving the company minimal control over how they’re presented.
  • Timeframe. Marketing campaigns are temporary and focused on immediate results like driving sales and product launches. Publicity often takes a long-term approach, seeking to build and maintain a good reputation over an extended period.
  • Measurement. Typical metrics for tracking marketing efforts are sales, conversion rate, and ROI. And whereas PR’s performance is measured by metrics such as media coverage, brand sentiment, or reputation management. Marketing’s performance is taken into account through conversions, lead generation, and revenue.
Public relations vs marketing
Public relations vs. marketing

When Should Business Think Of PR?

PR is important to creating the image and status of an organization. Businesses should consider seeking the consultation of their PR team in a range of situations to protect and enhance reputations effectively. Here are some examples of situations that warrant the involvement of a PR team:

Read How PR Professionals Can Use Media Monitoring And Stay Ahead of the Game

A New Product Launch 

PR can help raise awareness around the new product and help to position it as a viable solution to a customer problem.

Example: When Salesforce released its new Customer 360 initiative last year, the PR team was responsible for generating interest. It was also announced as the next generation of CRM and great Salesforce with Google Sheets integration. They talked about how it can better help clients to understand and service their clients.

A Data Breach

Public relations (PR) definitively can help swiftly and honestly communicate the breach to customers and shareholders, while also explaining the steps the company will take to protect their information.

Example: Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies, had more than 143 million customer records exposed in a cyber-attack in 2017. In an effort to notify customers and investors about the incident and address what it meant to protect their data, the firm’s PR team began to communicate the breach. Equifax made free credit monitoring and identity theft coverage available to all impacted individuals. The stock price for the company fell precipitously upon the breach, but the company’s reputation has managed to recover post-incident.

A Major Product Recall

A PR firm can ensure that the recall is communicated to customers concisely and clearly, minimizing any damage to the company’s reputation.

Example: In 2018, Samsung recalled its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones due to fire hazards. Samsung PR team worked to message the recall to customers and explain company action for customer safety. The company even provided a free replacement for any affected devices.

Examples Of Good PR

PR is instrumental in establishing a good image and reputation for individuals, organizations, or brands. The right PR strategies can immensely move the needle in people’s engagement and perception. Here are some cases of a great PR.

  • Fenty Beauty at the Super Bowl by Rihanna: Rihanna showed off not just her musical skills but also her business smarts. In a short but memorable moment during her set, she touched up her face using a product from her Fenty Beauty line. Following the Super Bowl, there was an impressive 883% rise in Google searches for Fenty Beauty, according to Cosmetics Business.
  • Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign: It was this campaign that motivated people to go to the extreme and give shape to what they dreamt about. It was simple but powerful and helped turn Nike into a household name.
  • Airbnb’s “Night at the Museum” contest: The competition allowed spending a night at Paris’ Louvre Museum to one fortunate tourist. It created great buzz and excitement and helped Airbnb build a fun and adventurous brand.
  • Spotify’s “Wrapped” campaign: This yearly campaign provides Spotify listeners with a personal breakdown of the previous 12 months. It’s a clever and interactive user-engagement tool, helping users to connect with their favorite music while being an effective channel for Spotify Branding.
  • Community Phones Expanding to California. This campaign enabled landline phone service to enter California’s telecommunications market by capitalizing on the news of AT&T, Verizon, Cox Optimum, and others who decided to replace their copper wire infrastructure with internet-based fiber optic cables. This shift posed significant disruptions, particularly for seniors, businesses, and homeowners who depend on landline services, but Community Phone was there to help.
Fenty beauty PR
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

These are only a few of great PR campaigns. The success of a PR campaign hinges on the power to attract favorable media attention and build public goodwill. A successful PR campaign is imaginative, timely, and well-delivered. It should be consistent with the brand’s other rules, goals, and objectives. 

Read 10 Key PR Campaign Metrics for Measuring Campaign Success

Examples Of Bad PR

  • Pepsi and Kendall Jenner ad: The ad is infamous for Peng taking a jibe at marquee signing Neymar. The ad portrayed Jenner in the middle of a protest, handing a Pepsi to a cop — something many viewed as an ill-advised and poorly executed co-opting of social unrest. Pepsi had to take down the ad and apologize.
  • H&M and the “monkey” sweatshirt: H&M received backlash in 2018 over a racist kids’ sweatshirt saying “Coolest monkey in the jungle,” worn by a black child model, which was subsequently pulled from shelves and apologized for.
  • Tesla Cybertruck demo fail: The Cybertruck, Tesla’s electric pickup truck, was introduced by CEO Elon Musk in 2019. At the unveiling, Musk tried to show how strong the truck’s windows were by throwing a metal ball at them. But the windows broke, causing widespread embarrassment.
  • EasyJet and broken seats: An EasyJet passenger posted a photo in 2019 of an older woman sitting on an EasyJet plane without a backrest. The picture was shared over the internet, creating a massive backlash for the airline. They shoe-horned customers onto planes without a thought for their safety and addressed their complaints with indifference.
Pepsi and Kendall Jenner ad
Pepsi and Kendall Jenner ad

These are not only examples of bad PR, but also ar some cases – examples of bad crisis management. Companies need to have an effective PR plan in place. And they must be able to react rapidly and accurately to any bad PR and, ideally, proactively work out preventative measures.


There you have it – PR definition is not as simple as it sounds. And, PR is no longer an option in today’s fast-paced information age — it’s a strategic imperative. It involves different tactics and techniques to develop and sustain good rapport with stakeholders. Businesses can improve their reputation, survive crises, and succeed in our hyperconnected world by understanding and practicing the tenets of PR. 

Olena Kovalova, an avid content writer & marketing manager at GrowthMate. A relationship-based link-building agency that helps small and mid-sized businesses grow in SERP and generate more revenue. Creating content is absolutely her jam! She’s passionate about blog post writing and video production. In her free time, Olena enjoys freediving and reading books. Connect with Olena on Linkedin.

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