Posts Tagged ‘Public Relations’

A Letter to my Cousin

January 18, 2011 1 comment

Dear Lauren,

It was so good to hear from you! It has been way too long. Like I told you yesterday, I am finishing up a degree in Public Relations at Utah State University. You sounded like you were a bit confused as to what that degree would lead to so I thought I would write you a note to explain a little bit of what PR professionals do and why I chose this as my career.

Public Relations is the art of influencing the public. Short and sweet. It’s been around since, well, mankind came out of their caves and organized into groups. In today’s world, it is everywhere. You feel one way about world news, celebrities, and companies; you have a public relations specialist to thank for a lot of that.  It is similar to marketing in that it is a force multiplier, one person or campaign with the right skill set can influence the perception of millions. Professionals discuss the blurring of the lines between marketing and public relations, but I picture them more as cousins than twins.

Marketing influences the public to purchase the products a company provides.  Public relations is the umbrella that surrounds marketing.  Its focus is the general perception of the company itself.  For example, the marketing behind BP will want to motivate the masses to buy their oil, but the public relations focus on BP will be wanting to mend relationships with the public after the oil spill last fall.  They are similar goals, however they are definitely not the same.

You were also right about public relations being political.  You see public relations all over Washington D.C..  You also see it all over sports promotions, sports agents share two hats by both selling their athletes and nurturing their public image.  You can see public relations at work every night on late night talk shows.  Have you ever noticed that after watching an interview with a celebrity you thought of them as genuine or fake?  I know I have.  The questions they are asked and their responses tend to be carefully thought out and practiced to show the public what they want the public to know, how they want the public to feel about them, and what they want the public to tell their friends the next day at work about the interview.

The reason why I chose public relations is that I feel I can make the greatest influence on the most amount of people.  Part of my personal mission statement is to motivate others for good.  Learning public relations will help me with that.  It matches my personality and I truly enjoy learning about it.

Anyway, those are my reasons.  Again, it was good to speak with you and I’m glad all is well with your family.  I hope to hear from you again soon.