Your Public Relations and Communications Community

About the Public Relations Industry

Q. How does PRSA define “public relations?”
A. PRSA has adopted the following definition of public relations: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” For additional context surrounding this definition, please visit the “Public Relations Defined” page on our website.    

Q.Where can I find industry statistics, best practices and case studies?    
A. PRSA has recently improved the search functionality of our website, making it easier than ever before for users to find helpful industry information. Please visit the Intelligence page of our website, where you can search PRSA’s case studies, white papers, blog posts, podcasts, publications and news releases by keyword. To locate Silver Anvil case studies by entry category, campaign outcome, topic and/or industry, use Silver Anvil Search. To locate case studies in public relations ethics, visit Ethics Resources.

Some basic facts and figures on the public relations industry also may be found in the PRSA Overview section of the PRSA Newsroom. In addition, there are a variety of trade associations, universities and vendors who publish meaningful industry data and benchmarks.    

Q. Has PRSA taken a public stance on the use of advertising value equivalencies (AVEs) or audience multipliers?    
A. Today, much of the industry discussion concerning measurement is shifting away from the use of volume of clips, social media activity, AVEs, multipliers, etc., as barometers of public relations’ effectiveness, and toward outcome measures that show how public relations is driving business performance.

In 2010 PRSA formed a partnership with AMEC (The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications). Developed at the second European Summit on Measurement, and the result of a successful collaboration between PRSA, AMEC, the Institute for Public Relations, the Global Alliance and the International Communications Consultancy, the Barcelona Principles are the industry’s first step toward the establishment of global standards for public relations measurement.

The Barcelona Principles are:

  1. Importance of Goal Setting and Measurement
  2. Measuring the Effect on Outcomes is Preferred to Measuring Outputs
  3. The Effect on Business Results Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible
  4. Media Measurement Requires Quantity and Quality
  5. AVEs are not the Value of Public Relations
  6. Social Media Can and Should be Measured
  7. Transparency and Replicability are Paramount to Sound Measurement

PRSA supports the Barcelona Principles and has resources on how to implement them as part of The Business Case for Public Relations™.

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