Care to be Called a ‘Public Communications’ Pro? Give it Some Time

In it’s latest 10-K filing, Yahoo ceased calling itself a “premier digital media company” and opted for a “global technology company focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining.” A bit verbose, but we get the point. The move revives a question about an issue that's been bandied about in the PR field for the last several: Does "public relations" best describe what communications really is and does?

So we took a quick poll on PR News' website, asking the question: If PR agencies were to stop using the term "public relations," what would be the best alternative? With 128 communicators voting, "public communications agency" (43%) won by a margin over "marketing communications agency" (42%). Trailing were "social marketing agency" and "content marketing agency," 9% and 5% respectively.

While it's probable that the term "public relations" will be with us for quite some time, its integration with marketing, social media platforms and growing connection with the C-suite may eventually result in a different type of language to describe the role that communicators play.

What about you? Have an alternative moniker for PR? We'd like to hear abot it.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

1 Comment


About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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  • MicroSourcing

    Interesting survey. Social media and other tech developments may cause publicists to re-think the way they define PR. “Public communications agency” as a term doesn’t stray too far from PR, though it doesn’t capture the way tech developments are affecting the discipline.