Public relations is the art of dealing with the public. If a celebrity kicks a puppy, that’s bad public relations. Her public relations people will put a positive spin on it — that puppy was about to destroy the universe!
Politicians, movie stars, oil companies, school districts — they all place some importance on public relations, since the way the general public views them has a big effect on their success. Bad public relations can cause a business to fail, or a city to gain a bad reputation. Good public relations (which is often achieved with the help of a public relations firm or expert) can be very helpful to individuals and groups. You'll often see this term shortened to PR.