From the Centre - Our Blog

30 Jul 2013:
PR is dead
Written By: Wayne Burns

Indian philosopher and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, last century mused: ‘Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come’.

Public Relations – ‘PR’ for both who deride and embrace it – is dead as a strategic management function in large organisations and corporations, its original intent and utility surviving only on the tactical fringes of marketing communications areas within corporations.

This should not come as a shock, as many a death does, because PR has long been on life support. Its utility and usefulness for most corporations as a core management function has been terminal since the late 1990s: in the 21st Century, its outcomes more readily align with marketing communications objectives than those of the corporate public affairs functions managed in most companies.

In 2012, only one per cent of corporations nominated they managed a ‘public relations’ function (2012 State of Public Affairs in Australia, Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, 2012).

In good and best practice corporate public affairs functions in Europe, Australia and in most global corporations in Asia and the US, elements of what was once seen as ‘good PR’ – positive and frequent news media coverage and reporting, well attended corporate events and product launches, market-segmented marketing/communications campaigns – are not an end in themselves.

In 2013, the ‘end’ is most frequently value in the form of socio-political ‘outcomes’, defined and generated by organisational strategy, and by public affairs strategy that contributes to and underpins broader organisational objectives.

The full article is available at

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