I am the Communications Manager at the Happier Lives Institute, helping to build a community of researchers, influencers, and decision-makers who use subjective well-being measures to identify the best ways to improve the lives of others.
Before that, I was part of the Events Team at the Centre for Effective Altruism, helping to produce EA Global and EAGx conferences.
I practice secular Buddhism and try to meditate for two hours each day. Buddhist philosophy drives my commitment to effective altruism and doing the best I can to reduce the suffering of others.
I have a postgraduate diploma in public relations and I was a member of the UK Chartered Institute for Public Relations for several years. I'd like to defend the honour of the public relations profession by sharing the definition used by the CIPR:
Every organisation, no matter how large or small, ultimately depends on its reputation for survival and success.
Customers, suppliers, employees, investors, journalists and regulators can have a powerful impact. They all have an opinion about the organisations they come into contact with - whether good or bad, right or wrong. These perceptions will drive their decisions about whether they want to work with, shop with and support these organisations.
In today's competitive market, reputation can be a company's biggest asset – the thing that makes you stand out from the crowd and gives you a competitive edge. Effective PR can help manage reputation by communicating and building good relationships with all organisation stakeholders.
Our definition of Public Relations:
Public Relations is about reputation - the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.
Of course, every PR professional knows that most people tend to use a much narrower definition of PR, usually equating it to media relations, crisis comms, or an underhand approach to shaping public opinion. That's why most of us tend to describe ourselves as communications professionals.
For anyone thinking about communications strategy and reputation management, I recommend the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework as the internationally-recognised best practice.
Thanks Ryan. I wouldn't say they're the same thing. Reputation is an asset (similar to social capital). Public relations is the work you do to increase the value of that asset.
I'm not aware of any data on how many organisations have adopted the framework I'm afraid. My very rough hypothesis is that the bigger the organization, the more likely they are to be using a framework along these lines.
I did find this quote from the Executive Director of Government Communications in the UK: