A poll conducted by the Centre of Public Relations of more than 800 PR professionals from around the world has found that most, 87%, do not like the name PR and would like it changed.
That they are uncomfortable with the label stems from changes in the industry that has seen many PR roles shift to a more marketing communications and digital focus, the research says.
For as long as I have worked in PR - now some 25 years - there has been some discomfort in the PR label. For an industry that is about managing reputations, we do seem to struggle with our own.
Changes in the way we communicate with each other, how we access news, share information, and demands for greater openness from business and our governments means that the need for good clear and concise communication is today more important than ever before.
And who is best placed to lead that? Technology will help, but it is difficult to see how AI, for example, will eradicate the need for the very human skills PR people bring.
A bot can write a story based on pre-agreed inputs, can 'chat' to a customer, but cannot yet understand the nuances of really good communication.
That PR people are more worried about being called PR people really does rather miss the point.
As marketing professor and writer Mark Ritson so eloquently puts it "imagine your dentist, mid-injection, decrying dentistry". It doesn't really instil much confidence in our industry, does it.
Complicating matters, 87% of PR executives believe the term “public relations” won’t accurately describe the work they will be doing in five years. Almost half believe PR needs to be more broadly defined, while the rest think the name should be changed. Interestingly, not-yet-jaded students are far more comfortable with the current terminology than seasoned pros. Fewer than 20% think the name needs to be changed and 85% are relatively comfortable explaining it.