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Legacy Scholar Grant
The Page Center will award grants to support scholars and professionals making important contributions to knowledge, practice or public understanding of ethics and resposibility in public communication or other principles of Arthur W. Page.
Penn State Live
Interviewer: A moment ago, we were speaking about the importance of naming positions whether it be public relations, communications, marketing, or advertising. In recent years, those terms have become muddled together and especially advertising in public relations and also on the agency side. A lot of mergers. And what not. Now what do you feel that has impacted the industry overall of public relations.
Harold Burson: I think it’s a result of a certain amount of confusion I think that public relations is not really a definition of public relations is really not clear even to many if not most public relations practitioners. Many public relations people equate public relations with communications. And only communications. I think communication is only one half of the overall process. I think the other half is counseling, consulting, with management on strategies on behavior patterns, on decisions, and then communicating one of those most simplistic definitions of public relations that I know of is public relations is doing good and getting credit for it. First you have to do good. I don’t think all the communications in the world can accomplish any real good or lasting good unless it is based on good conduct good behavior. Providing a satisfactory service providing a satisfactory product. I think that the big mistake is when people say shall we use advertising or public relations to help support a product sale or an issue or whatever. Actually public relations is really more of an umbrella term even in advertising. Advertising can be a subset of public relations and is in many kinds of programs. Basically I equate the term publicity with advertising. Getting material to the potential consumer or the person you want to motivate through all of media and doing it in a way other than buying paid advertising space or paying for time on television or radio or the internet.
Interviewer: What do you believe is the single greatest challenge facing public relation executives in today’s business climate?
Harold Burson: In being, in having a knowledge base that qualifies them to be a counselor to the senior management; the CEOs. To be a to have the knowledge base in the business that qualifies him to be a peer of those people they serve with on a management committee.