Defining Public Relation by Mariana Pires Essay

Defining Public Relation by Mariana Pires Essay

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The definition of Public Relations practice can be a difficult task for its professionals, in order to outline their functions and what it is as a whole, without having their work commonly confused with Marketing and even with Advertising. Therefore, as an attempt to simplify its parameters and distinct the activities, this piece of work aims to explain the differences and similarities of these professions. Focusing in particular on an overview of the main definitions of Public Relations, such as its origin and practice. Thus, this essay will be taking into consideration important factors such as its various roles in society, how the communication process works in Public Relations, and some of the challenges faced by their practitioners using a case study as an example.

Public Relations is considered an emerging profession and has had a rapid expansion throughout last century. Initially, the term Public Relation Counsel was coined in 1923 by Dr Edward L Bernays (Black, S., 1993), nephew of Sigmund Freud, who wrote his first textbook on public relations called Crystallizing Public Opinion. However, the period in which the book was delivered at the New York University and onwards was a particular time characterised by the Great Depression and the Second World War, which affected the society and the acceptance of Bernays' theory. Only years later, and along other books released about the same subject, Public Relations became recognised as a profession, with dissociation to publicity and press agentry. Then, in the 21st century, the amplitude of concepts and various functions of the profession made the definition of the practice being considered as a dilemma. Notwithstanding, amongst many approaches, the Institute of Public Relati...

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...actice. In addition, analysing the similarities and differences between Public Relations, Marketing and Advertising, it highlighted the broad definition of Public Relations practice. It also showed the discipline should be fully understood in order to avoid misconception of their roles. Furthermore, it is important to prevent further encroachment with other disciplines and possible misrecognition of their professionals' effort and work not only in the organisation, but also in society.


Theaker, Alison, The Public Relations Handbook, (London, Routledge, 2012)

Black, Sam, The Essentials of Public Relations, (London, Biddles Ltd, 1993)

Gregory, Anne, Public Relations, (London, Kogan Page Limited, 2008)

Cutlip, Scott, Center Allen H & Broom, Glen M, Effective Public Relations, (New Jersey-USA, Pearson Education Inc., 2006)

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