‘PR is the discipline that works to align what others think of you with what you think of yourself and seeks to elevate both.’
We both teach the subject (Chris is programme leader for public relations at Lincoln University) and see the virtue of a simple, memorable metaphor for teaching purposes. I think it also serves to elevate the significance of internal communications in the equation.
What no definition can or should do is say how the PR practitioner sets about achieving this balancing act. This is more than a question of tools: it’s about ethos. While the marketer works with products and brands, I view the PR practitioner as engaged in a battle for ideas. How to establish company X as the best place to work in its sector; how to make campaign Y succeed; how to ensure company Z remains trusted. Where there are ideas, there are abstractions, and this is what makes public relations challenging to teach (and, sometimes, difficult to learn).