Definition of Public Relations, Functions, Objectives and Methods According to Experts

Definition of Public Relations

Definition of Public Relations

Gealena – Definition of Public Relations, Function, Objective Method and According to Experts is an interactive process in which public relations creates public opinion as input that benefits both parties, and instills understanding, fosters motivation and public participation, aims to instill goodwill, mutual trust in understanding, and good image from the public.


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Definition of Public Relations

Public Relations (PR) is a bridge between a company or organization and the public, especially in achieving a mutual understanding between the company and the public “(Ardianto, 2004: 3).

Another definition of PR is a management function that builds and maintains good and beneficial relationships between organizations and the public that affect the success or failure of the organization.

So, PR is a position in a company or organization as a liaison between companies or organizations and the public (Cutlip, 2000: 6).

Some discussion:

  • definition of public relations
  • definition of public relations in marketing
  • definition of public relations in business
  • what is the definition of public relations
  • definition of public relations strategy
  • definition of public relations by scholars


The definition of public relations is an effort that is planned continuously on purpose, in order to build and maintain a mutual understanding between the organization and its society.

This opinion shows that public relations are considered a process or activity that aims to establish communication between the organization and parties outside the organization (Coulsin-Thomas, 2002).

The definition of public relations is: Interaction and creating public opinion as a beneficial input for both parties, and is a professional profession in its field.

Because it is a very important factor in achieving organizational goals appropriately and continuously because public relations is the survival of the organization concerned (Maria, 2002, p.7).

This is supported by Alma’s opinion that “public relations is a communication activity intended to build a good image of the company” (2002, p.145).

Meanwhile, Marston said, “public relation is a plan using persuasive communication to influence public perceptions” (1999, p.1).

Scholz (1999, p.2) states that “public relations is a plan that encourages to influence public perceptions through the implementation of social responsibility based on a reciprocal communication to achieve benefits for both parties”.

General Definition

Public relation is a process of interaction in which public relations creates public opinion as an input that benefits both parties, and instills understanding, fosters motivation and public participation, aims to instill goodwill, trust in mutual understanding, and a good image of the public.

Public Opinion states that public relations are a profession that deals with the relationship between a company and its public that determines the company’s life Widjaja, 2001,

Special Definition

Public relations is a special management function that helps build and maintain mutual communication, understanding, support, and cooperation between organizations and the public.

Involves management issues, helps management to identify and respond to public opinion, clarifies and emphasizes management’s responsibility to serve the public interest, helps management to stay abreast of and take advantage of change effectively.

It serves as an early warning system to help anticipate trends and uses sound research and appropriate techniques in communication as the main tool (Maria, 2002).


In the book on the basics of public relations (Wilcox and Cameron, 2006, p. 5) also says that:

“public relations is a management function, of a continuing and planned character, through which public and private organizations and institutions seek to win and retain the understanding. , sympathy, and support of those with whom there are or maybe concerned by evaluating public opinion about themselves, in order to correlate, as far as possible their own policies and procedures, to achieve by planned and widespread information more productive corporations and more efficient fulfillment of their common interests ”.

What more or less means that public relations are a management function of the attitude of mind that is planned and carried out on an ongoing basis by public and private organizations or institutions to obtain and foster mutual understanding, sympathy, and support from those who have a relationship or relationship, by evaluating public opinion regarding these organizations or institutions, in order to achieve more productive cooperation, and to fulfill common interests that are more efficient, by means of well-planned and widespread information activities.

Definition of Public Relations

According to experts

  • Crystallizing Public relations

is a process of interaction in which public relations creates public opinion as an input that benefits both parties, and instills understanding, fosters motivation and public participation, aims to instill goodwill, mutual understanding, and a good image of the public.

  • Widjaja, 2001

Public Opinion states that public relations are a profession that manages the relationship between a company and its public that determines the company’s life.

  • Center, & Brown

Other definitions still state that PR is a management function, as mentioned by Cutlip ,:

  • Cutlip, Center & Brown, II000: 4

PR is a management function in particular that supports mutual understanding in communication, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between organizations and the public.

  • John E. Marston (Modern Public Relations, 1979):

Public Relations is planned, persuasive communication designed to influence significant public “

  • Robert T. Relly (The Action of Public Relations, 1981):

Public Relations Practice is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizations leaders, and implementing planned programs of action which serve both the organizations and the public interest.

  • IPRA, “Public Relations

is an activity that aims to obtain goodwill, mutual understanding, a good image from the community. “

  • J.C. Seidel, Public Relations Director Of Housing, State of New York

Which reads:
Public Relations is a continuous process of management’s efforts to obtain goodwill and understanding from its customers, workers, and the wider community, to the inside by conducting analysis and improvements to oneself, to the outside by making statements “.

  • Public Relations according to the definition formulated by IPR (Institute Public Relations) is a public relations practice that is carried out in a planned and continuous manner (continuously) in order to create and maintain goodwill, as well as mutual understanding attitudes that are reciprocal ( Mutual Understanding) between an organization or company with all its audiences. (Frank Jefkins, 1996: 8)

At the 1st Congress of the World Association of Public Relations in Mexico City in 1978 an agreement was reached on the definition of public relations as an art as well as a social science that analyzes trends, estimates every possible consequence of them, provides input and suggestions to organizational leaders, and implements planned programs of action. to serve the needs of the organization or the interests of the audience.

  • Sukatendel (1990) in Ardianto (II004):

A communication method for creating a positive image of institutional partners on the basis of awareness to respect common interests. “

In the definition expressed, there are a number of important points, namely:

  1. Public Relations (PR) is a science whose branch of science comes from the science of communication. As a branch of science, PR is not just an issue but has a basis for thinking that can be explained and accounted for through certain logical methods like testing other branches of science.
  2. An image is an object of public relations that has become a need of institutions like existing resources such as human resources, financial resources, equipment resources, and even knowledge resources.
  3. Partners are the subject of PR in addition to the institution itself. Partners are part of the operation of an institution, without partnering an institution cannot run.
  4. Common interest is what II (two) institutions seek to seek in connection with one another. A real example is that buyers and sellers have a common goal, namely an agreement is reached to make a sale and purchase transaction.
  • Frank Jefkins (1995: 9):

“Public Relations is something that summarizes all planned communication, both inside and outside, between an organization and all its audiences in order to achieve specific goals based on mutual understanding”.

From some of the definitions above, there are some similarities in concepts that can be drawn as keywords for the definition of public relations, namely:

  1. Deliberate, meaning that PR activities are basically deliberate activities.
  2. Planned, meaning that PR activities are well-organized or planned activities.
  3. Performance, meaning that effective PR must be based on policies and actual appearances.
  4. Public Interest, which means that the fundamental reason for a PR activity is to fulfill the public interest and not solely to help the organization increase its profit as much as possible.
  5. Two ways of communication, meaning that basically in PR activities there must be an exchange of communication.
  6. Management functions, meaning that PR is most effective if it becomes part of the decision-making process in organizational management.
Definition of Public Relations

Importance of Public Relations

A survey conducted by the American Advertising Federation (AFF) of 1,800 business executives. Executives were asked which departments were most important to the success of their companies.

These results indicate that PR is in the top three levels after product development and strategic planning, followed by advertising, research and development (R&D), and law. This can be seen from the table:

Department NamePercentage
Product development29 percent
Strategic planning27 percent
Public relations16 percent
Advertising10 percent
Research and development4 percent
Financial strategy4 percent
Law3 percent

Also read: Public Relationship in Marketing Definition, Top 6 Best Explanation

The table above confirms that PR is a very important activity today. In ancient marketing, the concept was introduced to the 4P (product, price, place, and promotion), but nowadays 4P has been abandoned by many people, but now it is introduced with 6P. The other two are power and public relations.

Requirements to be a Public Relations (PR)

Public Relations and the Management of the Crisis of Trust and the Deterioration of Corporate Image

Image is the most important thing in a company. This image is deliberately created to provide positive value. A positive value is needed for a company to gain the trust of the public so that the company’s existence can continue.

When there is a crisis of trust and a decline in corporate image, the role of PR is urgently needed by the company. To know more clearly the role of PR in dealing with the crisis of trust and the decline in corporate image, there are several things that must be considered, namely:

There are basic requirements that must be possessed by someone who wants to carry out PR functions, including:

# Ability to communicate (ability to communicate)

The ability to communicate for a PR in oral and written form,

that is, a PR must be able to speak in public, such as being able to make presentations, able to interview in an effort to collect facts and data, and be able to be interviewed by the press or journalists as a source of news. In writing communication must be able to make Press Release, write reports, write speeches for management, write public service advertisement concepts, write brochures or leaflets, and other forms of written communication.

# Ability to organize

managerial or leadership abilities

Managerial or leadership abilities of a PR can be defined as the ability to anticipate problems within and outside the company, including the ability to plan and implement activities.

# Ability to get on with people

the ability to get along or build relationships

The ability to socialize or build relationships means being able to relate to and collaborating with a wide variety of people, and being able to maintain good communication with people of different or similar levels.

# Personality Integrity

has a complete or honest personality

A whole or honest personality, meaning that a PR must have high credibility, that is, can be relied on and trusted by others and can be accepted as a person who has a whole or honest personality.

# Imagination

lots of ideas and creative

Having imagination (lots of ideas and creatives) in the sense of a public relations person must have broad insight, know the red threads of any complicated problem.

Definition of Public Relations

The Purpose of Universal Public Relations

Public Relations has universal goals including:

  1. Creating public understanding (public understanding). The meaning does not mean approval/acceptance, and approval does not mean acceptance.

Here the public understands the organization/company in terms of products/services, activities, reputation, management behavior, etc.

  1. Creating public confidence (public trust in the company).
  2. Creating public support (there is an element of support from the public for the company) both in material and spiritual form.
  3. Creating public cooperation (the existence of cooperation from the public against the company).


Main Functions and Activities of Public Relations

The function of PR is as follows:

  1. Know with certainty and evaluate the general opinion relating to the company.
  2. Advising executives on how to deal with emerging public opinion.
  3. Use communication to influence public opinion.

The main activities of PR are as follows:

  1. Running a planned and sustainable program as part of organizational management.
  2. Dealing with the relationship between the organization and the public.
  3. Monitor knowledge, opinions, attitudes, and behavior inside and outside the organization.
  4. Analyze the influence of policies, procedures, and actions on the public.
  5. Adjust policies, rules, and actions that are seen as creating conflicts with the public interest and the existence of the company.
  6. Provide advice and input to management in making policies, rules, and actions that are deemed to cause conflicts with the public interest and the existence of the company.
  7. Build and maintain a two-way communication relationship between the organization and the public.
  8. Resulting in specific changes in knowledge, opinions, attitudes, and behavior inside and outside the organization.
  9. Creating new relationships and or maintaining relationships between the organization and the public.

Also read: Public Relationship Skills, Top 10 Skills You Should Know

Public Relations Methods

Public Relations Methods in Handling Crisis of Trust and Decreasing Corporate Image

A good company is a company that manages to achieve its goals and objectives maximally. Likewise, the work of PR practitioners who are tasked with dealing with the crisis of trust and restoring a positive image of the company where this PR practitioner takes shelter.

For the smooth running of the process of achieving these goals, the most efficient ways of organizing work are carried out by considering the factors of objectives, costs, facilities, time, and energy. In other words, PR requires a work method which is an absolute requirement to achieve goals.

The method of public relations work emphasizes research on the public. From the research, a work plan is drawn up, then implemented, then evaluated. Systematically, the process of PR work in dealing with crises and the decline in the company’s image can be described according to the previous stages, namely:


Research has a very important role as a supporting actor in carrying out the PR function, both for obtaining data, field facts about the company’s image, perceptions, views, and public opinion accurately as well as audience responses as targets regarding policies, services, work programs, company activities.

According to Ann H. Berkeley, Senior Vise President of Fleishman-Hillard’s Office, America, explained that the role of research is very important to achieve success or effectiveness in the implementation of PR practices (Cutlip, 2000: 351).

Scientifically, we recognize several types of research: surveys, case studies, activity analyses, content/document analyzes, and follow-up research. All these types of research can be used by a public relations practitioner to achieve his goals.

# Planning

After getting the results of the report in the form of data and facts from the research, PR then compiles a work plan. In this case the work plan is prepared not based on forced and irrational desires. Good planning is rational, flexible, and sustainable.

The goals of PR planning are:

  1. Change image.
  2. Forming a new image.
  3. Introducing the company.
  4. Increase community relations.
  5. Determine the participation of leaders in community life (public life).
  6. Notify research activities.

Planning success depends on the skills and efficiency of public relations practitioners. One of the factors that can be used as a measure of the success of the planning is the formation of opinions, attitudes, and images.

# Implementation (Action)

The implementation is carried out after a thorough plan has received approval from all related parties. Implementation of work is an operational activity in doing what has been planned.

Restoring trust and corporate image is done by combining labor, tools, information, time, place, and money. This implementation is said to be successful when the goals have been achieved.

In this case, various ways and techniques are used, including approaches to employees (internal public) and approaches to the public (external public).

To reverse public trust and corporate image, a public approach is prioritized because it involves the views of the wider community.

There are several instruments that are carried out by PR practitioners in implementing the image of an institution within the company, including:

  • Publicity is communication to the public through the mass media or face to face directly and does not require a fee, either from the communicator (PR) or from the mass media concerned.

In building the image of an institution, this instrument is often used, especially if the institution is in a financial problem (deficit).

  • Advertising (Advertising), advertising is an activity related to two areas of everyday human life, namely economics and communication. With advertising, the image of a company can be better.

The ads only mention the positive side of the company. Continuous advertisements that are shown can affect behavior patterns, views, and public beliefs.

  • The demonstration is something that can accelerate the influence on the target audience and enhance the image that is demonstration. In this case, the public’s sight, hearing, and thoughts can be consolidated immediately, giving rise to judgments that can lead to positive public action. Especially the view or image will be better seen by the public
  • Propaganda, so that the public accepts what is being presented and wants to instill a positive image and build trust, companies and PR officers should carry out propaganda. Propaganda is a persuasive activity to influence a person, group, or crowd with psychological bases to accept an idea that at a certain time may not be accepted.
  • The exhibition, one of the interesting ways to instill a positive image in the company is by holding exhibitions. The main purpose of the exhibition is to invite the public to know, see, and understand things about the company, especially the results of its production.
  • Sales Promotion. In addition to enhancing the company’s image, promotion is carried out aimed at increasing sales by providing stimulation or inducement that stimulates the purchase of goods and services.
  • House Organ (Publishing Company / Institution Magazine). In order to maintain the image that has been achieved, information is provided to the public or external parties through a special magazine published by the company, commonly called the house organ.
  • Open House, introducing the company’s image can also be done by inviting and receiving guests for the purposes of the image. The main goal is to make the company known and popular among the community.

# Evaluation

This assessment is the stage where an examination of the programs and plans can be carried out. This stage is useful for identifying problems that need further attention.

Definition of Public Relations

Purpose of Public Relations

The main purpose of public relations is to influence the behavior of people individually or in groups when connected to each other, through dialogue between all groups, in which perceptions, attitudes, and opinions are very important to the success of a company (Davis, 2003).

The objectives of public relations are as follows:

  1. Growing and developing a positive image of a company for the external public as well as for the public as well as for consumers.
  2. Encouraging the achievement of mutual understanding between the target public and a company.
  3. Also, develop a synergy in a marketing function with the existence of public relations.
  4. Effective in building brand recognition as well as brand knowledge.
  5. Supports the marketing mix.

Jefkins (2003, p.54) defines many things that can be used as the goal of a company’s public relations, some of which are the main ones, among others, as follows:

  • To be able to change the general image in the eyes of the public in connection with the presence of new activities carried out by a company.
  • To be able to increase the quality weight for prospective employees.
  • To be able to disseminate a success story that has been achieved by a company to the community in order to get recognition.
  • To be able to introduce a company to the wider community, and also open up new market shares.
  • To be able to prepare and condition the stock exchange community for a company’s plan to issue new shares or additional shares.
  • To be able to improve the relationship between a company and its community, in connection with an incident that has resulted in criticism, doubt, or misunderstanding in the community towards the good intentions of a company.
  • To be able to educate consumers so that they are more effective and also understand in utilizing the products of a company.
  • To be able to convince the public that a company is able to survive or even rise again after the crisis.
  • To be able to increase the ability and resilience of the company is facing a risk of expropriation by other parties.
  • To be able to create a new corporate identity.
  • To be able to disseminate information about the activities and also the participation of the leaders of the organization’s company in their daily social life.
  • To be able to support the involvement of a company is to sponsor an event.
  • To be able to ensure that politicians really understand or understand the positive activities (activities) or products of a company, so that the company concerned is protected from regulations, laws, as well as detrimental government policies.
  • To be able to disseminate research activities or activities that have been carried out by the company, so that the wider community can know how much a company prioritizes quality in various ways.

Overall, the purpose of public relations is to be able to create a good image of a company so that it can generate public loyalty to a product offered by the company.

Apart from that, public relations also aims to be able to create, foster, and also maintain a pleasant attitude for institutions or organizations on the one hand and also with the public on the other hand with communication that can be harmonious and reciprocal.

Definition of Public Relations

Public Relations Functions

According to Maria (2002, p. 31),

“Public relations is one part of the same breath within an organization, and it must also provide the identity of the organization properly and correctly and also be able to communicate it so that the public trusts and also has a clear and correct understanding of an organization”.

Also read: 6 Best Description of HRD Duties in Companies, Especially Startup Companies

This only provides an overview of the function of public relations, which is as follows:

  1. Activities that aim to gain goodwill, trust, and mutual understanding, and a good image from the public or society in general.
  2. Having a goal to be able to create public opinion that is acceptable and can also benefit all parties.
  3. An important element in management in order to achieve specific goals, in accordance with public expectations, but it is a peculiarity of an organization or company. It is very important how the organization has a color, culture, image, atmosphere, which is conducive and also fun, increases performance, and optimally achieves productivity.
  4. Efforts to create a harmonious relationship between organizations or companies with the public, as well as to be able to create public opinion as an effect, which is very useful is as input for an organization or company concerned.

From the explanation above, it can be concluded that public relations are more oriented towards the company to be able to build a positive image for a company, as well as better results than before due to getting opinions and also criticism from consumers.

However, if the public relations function is carried out properly, it is truly a powerful tool to be able to improve, develop regulations, organizational culture, or company, as well as a conducive working atmosphere, and is also sensitive to employees, it is necessary to have a special approach and motivation in improving its performance.

In short, it can be said that the function of public relations is to maintain, develop, maintain the existence of a reciprocal communication needed in dealing with or also overcoming problems that arise or also minimizing the emergence of problems (Black, 2002).

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