What is Public Relations? | FAQs Video

MARKETING   |   2 minutes  |   November 30, 2016

Find out more from Rebecca Cronje, Head Tutor of the UCT Public Relations online short course, as she answers the question:

“What is public relations?”

Learn how PR covers everything, from managing the reputation of a brand or business to creating messages that resonate with specific audiences.

Another way to answer the question “What is public relations?” is by looking at the description the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA) attribute to the industry:

“Public relations is the management, through communication, of perceptions and strategic relationships between an organisation and its internal and external stakeholders.”

While the face of public relations has changed significantly over time, its basic definition remains more or less constant, as it’s not the purpose of public relations that has changed but rather the “tools of the trade” through which it operates.

What makes PR uniquely different to other marketing disciples such as social media, digital marketing or advertising, is that it integrates with trusted third parties to tell a story instead of using a brand or business’s own means to sell. In other words, PR is fundamentally about endorsement, trust, and authenticity – not promotion – and can take the form of an article on an online publication, an influential blog post, a celebrity’s or expert’s tweet or a radio podcast.

If you want an in-demand public relations management reputation, you’ll need a thorough knowledge of communication channels and tools, accompanied by skills in relationship management.


Public Relations is the strategic management of a brand, business, organisation or individual’s reputation among its key stakeholders. By understanding different audiences, it creates messages that will resonate with them and, by using different channels – including digital, social and traditional media, as well as other communication tools – seeks to control image, audience perception and drive influence or call-to-action.