What the Heck is PR?

Lisa Curiel Parker, Deputy Managing Director


This is going to upset some people but public relations is the art of b*** s***. Time and time again people ask: What is public relations? What is communication? Well, it’s almost everything you see, listen and hear. Unless you live under a rock you’re surrounded by mass amounts of information being consistently spewed at you.

Receiving a Bachelor’s in Communication and eventually a Master’s in Strategic Public Relations I grasp the importance of both fields. To break it down simply, communication is apprehending the art of seeing, listening and hearing everything around you. Fathoming how individuals communicate, why they do and its affect on others. Say, if you go on a date with someone who shifts their eyes everywhere but yours, communication theory helps one understand why the date is so horrendous – there is a lack of proper communication occurring between the two of you. In a professional setting, it’s studied by observing leaders and work environments. What’s the proper lighting for highest productivity of employees? What proper tone of voice should I speak to a co-worker? What ways can I relate to a customer to sell a product? Studying communication assists individuals understand these key factors in everyday life.

Public relations on the other hand, uses these theories and creates something out of them. Implementing marketing campaigns, writing press releases and creating websites is just a small fraction of PR’s totality. Every successful company uses PR to explain to their customers why they are the best choice, a political campaign uses it to convince constituents why their candidate should win and individuals use it to put their best face forward in everyday life. PR practitioners are jacks(or janes)-of-all-trades. To be effective, we must have a creative eye to create beautiful things, a business skill set to speak to future partners and a strategic mind to out-think competitors.

So, the next time someone asks you what public relations is you can tell them exactly what it is.

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