Public Relations Firm (PR Firm) Definitions

Contents

US Public Relations Firm Population

Government Public Relations Firm Categories

Government Public Relations Firm Definitions

Industry Public Relations Firm Definitions

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US Public Relations Firm (PR Firm) Population:

20,174 Business Sites*

Source – Hoovers, April 29, 2011

Government Public Relations Firm (PR Firm) Category: SIC 8743

Establishments primarily engaged in the preparation of materials, written or spoken, which are designed to influence the general public or other groups in promoting the interests of their clients.

Government Public Relations Agencies (PR Agencies) Category: NAICS 541820

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in designing and implementing PR campaigns. These campaigns are designed to promote the interests and image of their clients. Establishments providing lobbying, political consulting, or public relations consulting are included in this industry.

Industry Public Relations Firm (PR Firm)

A public relations firm is a professional services organization, generally hired to conceive, produce and manage un-paid messages to the public through the media on behalf of a client, with the intention of changing the public’s actions by influencing their opinions. Communications are often in the form of news distributed in a non-personal form which may include newspaper, magazine, radio, television, Internet or other form of media for which the sponsoring organization does not pay a fee.

PR professionals usually target only certain segments of the public, since similar opinions tend to be shared by a group of people rather than an entire society. However, by targeting different audiences with different messages to achieve an overall goal, PR professionals can achieve widespread opinion and behavior change.

A public relations firm is independent from the client and provides a third-party perspective on the client’s business, goods or services. Typical PR firm clients include businesses (sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLC’s) and corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies.

A public relations firm can be as small as one person (sole practitioner) or more than 1,000. In general, those of 9 or fewer employees are considered to be small firms). If a PR firm has 10 – 75 employees, that is considered a medium-to-large firm. Above 75 is considered large and represents a minority.

A PR firm with a large number of employees generally has multiple locations. In some situations, the additional offices are “service offices” located near a client facility and are there to provide nearby “service.” In such cases, the essence of the PR firm that includes creative services, production, etc. are at the headquarters location. The “services offices” are meant to be staffed with account personnel.

The continuing evolution of the PR firm is such that a PR firm (pr firm) can provide far more than conventional public relations. A full service PR firm is one that provides a comprehensive menu of services, including analyst relations, crisis management, e-business strategies, investor relations, labor relations, media relations, public affairs, PR, traffic, branding, product placement, event planning, sports marketing, tradeshow support and an ever-evolving list of attributes that contribute to the marketing and sales of their client’s goods and/or services.

For economic reasons, and because taking on a new client includes many initial internal expenses that are generally meant to be amortized over time, PR firms prefer to establish an Agency of Record (AOR) relationship with their clients. An AOR relationship includes a contract for a stipulated duration, encompassing details regarding fees, ownership and rights, as well as termination clauses.

Work done by a PR firm without the benefit of a contract (or written agreement) is referred to as “project work.” In that case, each and every “project” stands on its own and is priced and managed accordingly.

In considering public relations firm candidates for hire, it is no longer sufficient to accept the term “public relations firm” as indicative of the specifics of what the firm might provide.

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