What does PR mean to you?

Girl using cookie cutterOver the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get a handle on what PR had become to me.  The industry is in a state of flux and evolution. Instead of the old fare cup of coffee industry that we grew up in the current state is robust with flavors that would make Starbucks blush.

With many PR folks taking the helm of social networking (SN) activities, I’ve also wondered if PR was the correct term for the industry as the space blends PR with many other disciplines like customer service, sales and word-of-mouth marketing.

I asked folks in the #PRBC discussion what PR meant to them and really just got back a handful of generic cookie cutter answers that reflected what the industry used to be.

So I pondered and stared at four letters – P, R, S and N.

Sure I was a PR and social networking guy for a company, but the acronym wasn’t doing anything for me because it was just letters.

All of that changed when I was thinking of the acronym driving to the Home Depot to pick up some paint.

I noticed that everyone in the Home Depot greets you when you walk into the store to see if you need help – EVERYONE. It is kind of like a visitor center of a community. Now when you add the abbreviation to PRSN, you get something that should resonate.


To me, the word just clicked with what PR has become. It is not about media outreach, placements or press releases it is about humanizing a company and making an impression and passing the message along at the customer level.

It’s about people and people relations – customers, media members and bloggers are all people and it’s up to you to make the connection.

That’s my definition of PR and I am sticking to it. What’s yours?

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