Since joining AXON 18 months ago, I have been contemplating the question of whether public relations (PR) is an art or a science.

Art is traditionally defined as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination1. Science, on the other hand, is defined as an intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment2.

With a degree in Human Sciences, I lean towards the scientific end of the spectrum. For me, science is about facts and figures, to provide compelling evidence. I like to know how and why things work.

I believe that PR also sits on a spectrum. In my opinion, consumer PR is more artistic, although I acknowledge that it often relies on tools such as market research, which is a form of science. There is a lot of creative freedom within consumer PR, and it requires innovative ideas in order to successfully execute an exciting and unique campaign.

The really interesting twist in addressing this question is healthcare PR, specifically, healthcare PR at AXON. At first glance, the regulations of the global pharmaceutical industry may appear to restrict us to the scientific end of the spectrum. Certainly, science is embedded in all our communications, whether it is PR, medical communications or clinical trials. We must communicate accurate information, as we are dealing with treatments that affect people’s lives. However, we must do so in a compelling way, which requires us to be increasingly creative. Here, art really does meet science. This amalgamation creates an interesting and rare blend. The content that we develop is primarily scientific, and we need to have well-planned, defined and measurable objectives in order to ensure success and achieve results – just like a scientific experiment. However, the art is rooted in how we execute our programs and creatively communicate to the right stakeholders.

At AXON, I believe that we use innovative art in order to really bring science to life. That is healthcare PR at its best.

Emily Sweetman


1 Oxford Dictionaries: (Accessed 30 November 2012)

2 Google Dictionary:,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=1815624989281492&bpcl=39314241&biw=946&bih=747  (Accessed 30 November 2012)