According to this study, communication is now the single and most commonly used name for public relations units, and public relations have fallen to second place. More than half of the companies surveyed call their public relations unit communication or corporate communication, and almost 68 percent include the word communication in one way or another in the name of their unit. Every individual or entity operating in the public eye is faced with the dissemination of information about them or their practices to the public. From the 1940s to the first half of the 1970s, public relations had very little competition as the preferred name for this growing field of activity.
People interested in working for non-profit organizations may find that the fundraising branch overlaps many aspects of public relations. The early 1999 editions of IABC's Communication World and PR Reporter reported on the conclusions of the study on best practices in corporate communication conducted by the Washington-based Public Affairs Group. In the late 1980s, both academics and specialized journals reported that there was more confusion about what to call public relations than at any other time in the past. New names were invented for various types of public relations, as well as for the departments and people responsible for carrying them out, and were often combined with other types of communication activities.
As stated by the Public Relations Society of the United States (PRSA), “Public relations help an organization and its audience adapt to each other. They believe that what public relations professionals do is much more important than what they are called. Public relations usually manage this brand and ensure that customers, employees, investors and other external parties have a positive willingness to continue participating in the company. A launch is an official announcement, usually of a company, campaign or product, and involves promotional efforts with the ultimate goal of increasing public awareness.
Some have combined their former public relations departments with other communication specialties and have given them multifunctional names, such as marketing, public relations or advertising and public relations. Sometimes, the best thing for the company is to go unnoticed and strengthen its relationship with the public by not occupying a central place. In addition to not giving a damn about history, the selfless observer is often deceived and subject to public relations manipulations.
Media relations areoften considered a specialized function within a public relations campaign and can help agencies understand when it is best to make an email presentation or a traditional press release.
Earned media (or free media) refer to advertising obtained through public relations initiatives and are completely independent of paid media, such as advertising.