A Short Lexicon of Communications and Public Relations

· Blog

In communication and in public relations, like in most professions, our daily lives are filled with jargon, acronyms and commonly used terms. Everyone in the field, from seasoned pros to neophytes as well as the curious, one day or another needs clarification of a certain term to make sure they use it properly.

So how about publishing a lexicon of communications and public relations terms on our blog? Here is a non-exhaustive list of terms frequently used in our professional field.


- A -

Advertising: A promotional message, activity or method designed to promote an organization, brand or product, usually meaning paid for by the organization which then maintains control over the final content.

Advertising placement: Also known as media placement, an investment strategy aimed at positioning a communication as a paid advertisement on various media channels (traditional or digital), in the most efficient way possible by defining the best distribution medium, the right time and the media exposure required.

Algorithm: A set of rules, method or formula involving a specific amount of data that can be used to accomplish a task or solve a problem. On the web, algorithms determine what content is seen, on which platforms, and by which audience.

Audience: In marketing and media, the audience defines all the people reached by a message, a media outlet, an advertisement (traditional or digital) or a publication on websites or social networks.

- B -

B2B: Acronym for “Business to Business,” which refers to the practices put in place by companies whose clientele is composed of other companies or professionals and business customers. This is the offer of products and services, and the resulting communications between a company and its business customers.

B2C: Acronym for “Business to Consumer,” which refers to the commercial activities chosen to reach consumers, and by extension, the communications of the company to the customer. This is a customer-oriented marketing practice.

Blog: A regular communication, often with its own title, published electronically on a website on a regular basis, usually dealing with a particular type of news or theme. The blog can be maintained by an individual (personal blog) or by a company (corporate blog).

Branding: The creation, growth and preservation of an overall image of a company, product or services to help stakeholders and consumers recognize it positively in the marketplace.

- C -

Coffee: A precious and delicious brownish liquid that is preferably drunk hot, but often ends up becoming cold. An essential to the survival of public relations specialists!

Communications: A term encompassing all forms of conveying messages to different stakeholders over time.

Communications audit: An exercise of evaluation, diagnosis and analysis of the means and actions of the communications strategy in place (internal and external). The purpose of the communications audit is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of this strategy, to determine if there are gaps between objectives and results, and to propose new measures and recommendations in light of the data obtained.

Communications Plan: A document that outlines desired or optimal communications activities for an organization over time based on research of the environment, the organization’s goals and strategies, and including descriptions of target audiences, expected results and evaluation methods as well as budgets to achieve those objectives.

Corporate Communications: The different means used to convey a company or organization’s messages and/or to convey a positive image of the organization and raise awareness of it among its target audiences.

Community Management: A set of online communication strategies – including media monitoring on social networks, interactions with Internet users and other methods – to engage audiences online.

Content Creation: An expression particularly related to the digital world, especially on social media and the web, meaning the development of material using any medium that will be disseminated on a website, blog, social network, video channel or podcast.

Crisis Management: The way to respond quickly and effectively to a negative event affecting an organization or its products to offer consistent responses, to neutralize damage, to present timely information, and to improve processes for the future. It also includes efforts after a crisis to restore the trust of target audiences.

- E -

Engagement rate: A performance indicator of the effectiveness of a campaign or messages that measures the interest of users of a social network and the interactions generated by a publication.

Employer branding: The creation and preservation of an impression of an organization as an employer that is authentic and reflects what is really happening internally and has a positive impact on the recruitment and retention of employees.

Experiential Marketing: Marketing concept based on the customer experience, seeking to make them live a unique, positive, fun and creative experience tied directly or indirectly to the product or service being promoted.

- F -

Face-to-face: A phrase that has gained popularity during the pandemic! It refers to an event or meeting held in the physical presence of other people as opposed to an online event.

- G-

Gamification: The principle that an activity or task is made fun like a game, or even playful, to motivate people towards an action or cause or to expose them to desired messages promoting a product or service.

- H-

Hashtag: A keyword preceded by the pound or number sign (#), allowing easy search by specific words on some social networks.

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- I -

Inclusive Communications: A way of communicating that is more representative of diverse gender identities and minorities. More egalitarian, this type of communication seeks to avoid perpetuating stereotypes and to be non-discriminatory. It also refers to providing different means of communicating a message to adapt to different abilities of the audience, such as making communications more accessible to people with visual or hearing difficulties.

Influencer: On the web and social networks, a person who will have impact on their audience by disseminating content they have created or content they have been paid to disseminate by a company or organization to promote a product, service or idea.

Influencer Marketing: Marketing strategy involving a well-known personality or influencer to engage an audience or get them to change their behaviour (adhering to a cause, buying products or services, etc.).

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Internal Communications: Communications addressed to people who are within an establishment: employees, managers, executives, internal collaborators, etc. This type of communication is often done in collaboration with the human resources team.

Issues Management: By becoming aware of and analyzing a company's issues, current or potential, we contribute to the creation of strategies to anticipate crises and plan the interventions of those responsible.

- K -

Key message: A communication process aimed at sharing specific and predetermined ideas, in a strategic way, summarizing the most important points to be addressed in a speech, press release or any other type of communication.

- M -

Marketing: A term encompassing techniques used to analyze consumer and market needs, with the aim of increasing one's positioning in relation to competing companies, products or services and creating and adapting the organization’s own commercial or communications objectives.

Marketing Communications: The methods used by companies that want to persuade consumers to buy or use their products or services. All promotional activities undertaken for this purpose are part of marketing communications, such as advertising.

Media Monitoring: The regular surveillance of all or designated online or traditional publications involving mention of a brand, organization, individual, subject or theme, news event, etc. and the analysis of the coverage to provide insights and recommendations for future communications activities.

Media Relations or Press Relations: Various communication techniques and activities conducted between organizations (either a PR agency professional or employee) and journalists, with the objective of relaying information to target audiences through the designated media.

Message: Information communicated from a transmitter to a receiver.

- P -

Podcasting: A way of distributing live or recorded content accessible via a syndication feed (RSS feed) and downloadable on a computer, smart device or digital music player.

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Press review: A compendium of media coverage (traditional or digital) on a given topic over a selected period of time, often including analysis of the quality of the coverage and its implications for the organization.

Public relations: The direction, management and communication actions carried out by an organization to positively influence external audiences and to create and maintain relationships of trust with them.

- R -

Reputation Management: Various methods used to maintain the positive image and credibility of an organization, including the establishment of an internal and external communications policy, media monitoring, the analysis of selected measurement elements, all in order to better understand where the company stands in relation to its audiences and to similar companies.

- S -

SEO: Acronym for search engine optimization, a set of techniques used to increase the visibility of a web page, site or application in search engine results.

Social networks: Also known as social media, these are digital platforms that bring together users and organizations that can interact in various ways (in writing, by sending videos, by sharing content, etc.).

Spokesperson: A person who is put forward to deliver an organization’s key messages in a credible, effective and supportive manner to target audiences.

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Stakeholder: Those who have an interest in or are directly or indirectly involved in an organization or activity, and/or who may be positively or negatively affected by the choices and decisions of the organization.

Strategic Planning: A discussion, usually resulting in development of a document, to develop medium- or long-term objectives of an organization, product or project to determine the direction, vision, strategies and actions to be taken to support its success.

Strategic Positioning: A set of strategies aimed at increasing an organization's visibility, to build or maintain its positive status with customers and stakeholders while distinguishing it from competing organizations.

- T -

TGIF: Acronym for Thank God It’s Friday which can involve fun activities involving games and cocktails to celebrate the coming of the weekend or great team successes!

- W -

Webinar: Neologism composed of the words web and seminar, meaning an online presentation of information to an audience.

Web writing: A type of writing specific to the internet and social media, using writing rules, best practices and tags to optimize the text for search engines, attract the attention of online readers and generate the greatest possible visibility.