According to the dictionary, the definition of public relations or PR is the professional protection and maintenance of a reputation or public image of a famous person or organisation, or the positive image of a company's products or services. This could include using the news or business press to promote positive stories about a person, company or product and cultivating relationships with press representatives.
One of the main differences between public relations and advertising is that you have to pay for advertising, while with public relations an article or news story that features an individual or company is not paid for. In addition the publicity will have greater credibility with the public than an advertising campaign.
The city of London is home to some of the world's leading public relations agencies and consultants, along with some of the finest PR campaigns. The PR industry achievements are celebrated annually at the PRWeek Awards, which are the PR industry's version of the 'Oscars'. The PRWeek Awards are held at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, and reward the most successful PR campaigns and organisations. The top rated PR consultancies for 2011 was the Bell Pottinger Group, who have offices in Holborn, while in second place was Brunswick, situated near Farringdon. Weber Shandwick, located in Chancery Lane, came in third.
The professional body for the UK's PR industry is the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), which offers membership to PR consultants, freelance and independent PR practitioners and those working in-house. The CIPR aims to promote the professionalism of members, enhance the reputation of the PR profession and provide advice, education, ethics, conduct and research on the public relations industry. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations has offices in Russell Square, central London.