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M.Rizwan Sharif
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A mix of PR practice and theory!
A mix of PR practice and theory!

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ANY NEW DEFINITION & THEORY OF PUBLIC RELATIONS MUST PASS  THE 16+ POINT TEST

by +andy green 
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►1. We don’t need new, we need better

PR doesn’t need a new definition, it needs a better definition - supported by a theory of practice that works as a primary guide in directing practice under its name.

Existing definitions and theories have not only been overtaken by events - they weren’t very good in the first place. 

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►2. The T-shirt test

Any new definition needs to be memorable effective as a meme to enable it to be shared and spread virally - and pass the ‘T-Shirt test’: the definition needs to be succinct to fit onto a T-Shirt - and crucially anyone supporting the cause of ‘public relations’ would want to wear the T-shirt.

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►3. It needs to substantiate the very existence of the need for public relations

Ideally, provide an instant response to anyone who questions ‘why do we need public relations?’

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►4. It needs to provide a response to the pejorative term ‘This is just a public relations exercise’

It needs to be a robust and easy to use response.

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►5. It needs to be iconic

Any new definition needs overcome inherent weaknesses of the ‘public relations’ brand. Powerful brands have strong icons - the picture in people’s heads when the name is mentioned. 

Any new public relations brand will needs strong icons.

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►6. Evolution AND revolution

Existing elements of current definitions of ‘public relations’ such as ‘reputation’, ’trust’ ‘Two-way communications’ ‘long-term’ are not necessarily wrong - but need refining and reframing into a new context.

By harnessing evolution makes the development of a new definition and theoretical underpinning potentially more do-able and manageable than revolution

Paradoxically, we still however need to embrace disruptive thinking to breaking existing patterns and ways of doing and thinking.

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►7. Integrate new learning in neuroscience, psychology, social networks, storytelling and memes

Any new theory needs to integrate new knowledge and understanding in neuroscience, psychology, social networks and memes - how ideas spread.

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►8. Embrace complexity and simplicity - but avoid the simplistic

In a world of complexity and chaos any new theory and definitions for public relations needs to recognise complexity and chaos.

It needs to avoid imposing simplification on a complex situation, but can embrace simplicity in any design of its response.

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►9. Created from bottom-up rather than top down

Any new theory needs to be bottom-up, emergent rather than top-down and owned by anyone.

It needs to be born from a collaborative process.

Any definition needs to grow out of a framework of theory rather than be just a soundbite.
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►10. Has to be relevant to everyday doing

Any new theory must be integrated into practice and overcome reality and credibility gap between current PR theory and practice.

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►11. Needs to be measurable

Any new theory needs to address existing weaknesses of measurement in current public relations practice.

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►12. Needs to perform a distinct function and be defendable against encroachment

Any new theory or role must be distinct from other marketing communications disciplines to provide a viable raison d’etre – otherwise there would be no point in having a discipline or role called ‘public relations’.

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►13. Have a wider social relevance

Any new theory must have wider social relevance, going beyond the self interest of existing public relations sector. It has to be in the interest of wider society that public relations exists and where it plays a positive role in the sustainable well-being of the wider society.

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►14. Be economically sustainable

Any new theory must be relevant to successful business to make it economically sustainable.

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►15. Plug existing gaps in conceptual tools and terminology

Public relations currently uses terms like ‘corporate’, ‘corporate reputation’, ‘corporate image’, to describe the issue of managing the totality of perceptions that exist about an entity.

There is a need for either redefining existing concepts or creating a new language that describe for example the issues of the totality of perceptions that exist about you.

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►16. The future

Any new definition needs to engage with time: public relations has always addressed been about the long-term - the future, managing and protecting your tomorrow.

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►17. Any others?
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#PRredefined Vol. 1 is available as a free download for students and reviewers from Tangent books in Kindle and .PUB formats. The paid-for version is on the Amazon Kindle Store at http://amzn.to/1iVhKVg

Ramzan Mubarak to everyone. Though Facebook is still more popular than Google+ to post a wish.

The never ending dissertation...:(

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