I am a social scientist! New definition of PR

Recently came across this quote in a PRBreakfast post and had to share. It’s a quote from Harold Burson, co-founder of Burson Marstellar:


“Public relations is a process that impacts public opinion. Its objective is to motivate individuals or groups to take a specific action. Like buying a certain brand of toothpaste or automobile; voting for a specific candidate; supporting one side or the other of a political issue; signing up with one cable provider over another. As such, public relations is an applied social science that draws on several social sciences, among them psychology, cultural anthropology, sociology, political science, economics, geography. Actually, one could more accurately describe public relations as a maturing applied social science. It is all too slowly developing theories and a body of knowledge, mainly case histories, that can bring about greater discipline, uniformity and predictability in delivering our services.

Everything we do is directed at people’s opinions and attitudes. We can affect opinions and attitudes in only three ways,

One, we can seek to change a presently held opinion or attitude.

Two, we can seek to create a new opinion or attitude.

Three, we can reinforce an existing opinion.”




One thought on “I am a social scientist! New definition of PR

  1. I remember our president at GPC sharing that quote. It is a very powerful statement about the ‘quiet’ power of pr and communication. Thanks for reminding me.

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