It may sound unusual to note that even at the dawn of the twenty-first century, there are still a handful of disciplines with a variety of interpretations. Public relations encompass a lot of opinions such as; interviews on the media, reputation management, managing perceptions, selling a product or an idea, or simply doing good and getting a compliment for it.

On the average, you will likely get some appraisals for doing good as well as having a lot of tantrums thrown at you for some ‘little’ flaws. This being a consistent trend, it’s quite funny to know that the focus at most times is based on the effects of public relations – but what is the end benefit of public relations? To what measure do we hold public relation accountable to?
Usually, people act based on the opinions they have on different subjects and this is the major reason behind every behavioral pattern we come across each day. But when certain ethics defined by public relations come to play, it restructures the default perception of these individuals – causing them to act in a different way which has been proven to be acceptable globally. This persuades an individual to change their perception towards certain instances in order to maintain a better perception of an organization, personality, and general public conduct. With this achieved, it can be said that the main purpose of public relations is accomplished.
It is believed that in order to get a perfect competitive advantage, an organization must ensure that its public relations investment is quite focused towards influencing the right set of audiences. In doing this, they must also pay a good attention to the quality of the tacticians involved in the delivery of this service. The messages passed to the targeted shaped towards influencing their perception and behavior.

What is the alternative when we see some public relations people managing to go through their entire careers without a firm grasp of the fundamental premise of public relations? Their responses to crises, or to requests for well thought-out solutions to public relations problems, reveal a serious lack of understanding. They confuse the basic function of public relations with any number of tactical parts that make up the whole, such as publicity, crisis management or employee relations. Understandably, they feel unsure in approaching public relations problems, then uncertain about what counsel to give their clients. Many, relying on career-long misconceptions about public relations, forge ahead anyway advising the client ineffectively sometimes with damaging, if not dangerous counsel.

In seeking a solution to this challenge to understanding, we cannot rely solely on tactics or even emulate the artillery training commander who tells his student gunners "point your guns in any direction and fire when you feel like it!"

Instead, just as that artillery commander teaches his newbie gunners to carefully analyze their target and precisely what they must do to reach it, so it is with public relations.

Our best opportunity resides at the get-go where we really can make certain our public relations students CLEARLY understand the basic premise of public relations at the beginning of their careers. AND that they have an equally clear understanding of the organizational context -- business, non-profit or public sector -- in which they will be expected to apply what they have learned, and in which they must operate successfully.

Author's Bio: 

If you want to learn more about what it’s like in the trenches of a public relations firm, check out the Konnect Agency
blog. They post about some of the daily challenges and victories achieved for their clients. It’s definitely an insight into how a PR firm works their magic.