Given the atrocious state of Scientology PR around the world, it is interesting to note that throughout the various networks, divisions etc of corporate Scientology, a basic hatting text has been the book EFFECTIVE PUBLIC RELATIONS by the two American authors Scott M. Cutlip and Allen H.Center. Not only the book itself but an edition thereof that was personally edited by Mr.Hubbard and for which it appears permission was obtained from the original publishers.
Large blocks of text have been crossed out by red lines; remarks have been made in margins and so forth. By now the old original copies of the specially edited version are surely falling to pieces.
I believe the book (edited version) has been in use since some time in the seventies. It was first published in 1952.
Now, to coin a Marty Rathbun phrase “moving up a little higher”, in 1982 a Mr Glen M. Broom entered the arena and the long lived text is now by Cutlip, Center and Broom. Broom began to feature from the 6th edition on.
Interestingly enough the modern definition of PR described in the 6th edition of the text is remarkably similar to that penned by Hubbard in HCO Policy Letter 18 November 1970: as it appears in Volume 3 of the Management Series: viz
THE DUTY AND PURPOSE OF A PUBLIC RELATIONS MAN IS:
“The interpretation of top management policy to the different publics of the company –
To advise top management so that policy if lacking can be set –
To make the company, its actions or products known, accepted and understood by the different publics – and to assist the company to exist in a favourable operating climate so that it can expand, prosper and be viable”.
Is anyone complying with this policy? – I don’t think so!!
In the aforementioned 6th edition of Effective Public Relations, several lessons could well be learned by taking cognizance of something described as one of the most persistent efforts to define public relations. This comes from Public Relations News, one of several commercial newsletters serving the profession:
Public relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes (Hubbard told his people to do surveys), identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.
Notice that, unlike the conceptual analysis, this definition deals with the activities involved in public relations. Such an approach has produced hundreds of attempts to write a definition that captures the essence of the function by listing the major activities that make up the practice. Long-time public relations scholar and professional leader Dr. Rex F. Harlow undertook the task of collecting such definitions published since the turn of the century, breaking them into major elements, and classifying the basic, central ideas these included. From his analysis of 472 definitions, he produced a working definition that is both conceptual and operational:
Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion, defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and sound and ethical communication as its principal tools.
The results of an even more recent attempt to define the function was presented in November, 1982, to the 35th National Conference of the Public Relations Society of America. In addition to a conceptual definition stressing public relations’s contributions to the functioning of our complex, pluralistic society, the presentation described a collection of activities, results, and knowledge requirements.
The contents of the many definitions of public relations include common notions, In summary, the ideal public relations function:
- Is a planned and sustained programme conducted by an organization’s management.
- Deals with the relationships between an organization and its various constituent publics.
- Monitors awareness, opinions, attitudes, and behavior inside and outside the organization.
- Analyzes the impact of organizational policies, procedures, and actions on various publics.
- Adjusts those policies, procedures and actions found to be in conflict with the public interest and organizational survival.
- Counsels management on the establishment of new policies, procedures and actions that are mutually beneficial to the organization and its publics.
- Establishes and maintains two-way communication between the organization and its various public.
- Produces specific changes in awareness, opinions, attitudes and behaviours inside and outside the organization.
- Results in new and, or, maintained relationships between an organization and its publics.
- The evolution of the concept and the numerous descriptions of the practice lead us to a conceptual definition:
Public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes, and maintains mutual beneficial relationships between an organization and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends. (emphasis added).
While it may well be unrealistic to think that current day corporate scientology would deign to comply with any advice from the ‘wog’ world it is interesting to observe, upon further reading of not only the PR Series but also the Marketing Series, Hubbard, in addition to acknowledging (even if only patronizingly) the merits in a standard PR text he also quotes fairly extensively from Al Ries and Jack Trout, co-authors of “Positioning: The Battle for your Mind”.
Ries and Trout also co-authored Marketing Warfare and I well recall a chat with one your fellow countrymen, a lady by the name of Sally Falkow, during a coffee break at a seminar by none other than Mark Shrefler. She was telling the story of how (could it have been Miscavige himself or perhaps his brother Ronald who was once hailed as the new Marketing Executive at International Management) upon Hubbard’s death approached Ries and Trout for advice on a marketing strategy. When the two marketing gurus said at the outset “lose the church image” they were fired before they were hired. They may even have been declared Suppressive!