December 8, 2010

Chapter 5 & 20

Public relations managers are the brightest minds in the field.  They are the ones responsible for conceptualizing PR agendas.  Managers must do the following:

(1) Define the problem or opportunity

(2) Create a program or plan of action: this requires research and understanding publics involved, strategies, tactics, and goals.

(3) Defining action

(4) Evaluation: this part is often underrated.  Follow up research must be conducted to see if the communication plan was effective and received by the targeted public.  This can provide insight for future PR plans and to find problems with current discourse.

Pursuing a career a career in PR can be quite lucrative in today’s society.  The economy has been facing a crisis situation for sometime now.  As stated in previous blogs, PR reps generally are the ones who manage and communicate crisis plans.  Therefore, the need for PR professionals is at an all time high.  To start a search in the PR field one must do several thing to get noticed in the field.  First, you must define your interest in order to gain direction and motivation.  Second, you need to find PR professionals to contact and get started.  Third, construct a personal letter and possibly a portfolio to display your skill sets.  Fourth, call your contact and try to schedule a meeting with the PR professional.  Fifth, prepare and elevator speech.  An elevator speech is a speech you have prepared that should make a lasting impression on a person in under 60 seconds.  This speech should be highly unique, highlight your qualities, and how you intend to impact the company.

If you are able to sell yourself well then you should be able to secure a career in the PR field.  Selling yourself if the essence of PR.  Selling an image is what it is all about.

December 8, 2010

Chapter 19

No company wants to be involved in a crisis situation.  However, if a crisis isn’t self induced a company must be ready to manage it.  There are several warning signs that can let a company know they are about to enter into a crisis situation; surprise, insufficient information, escalating events, loss of control. increased outside scrutiny, siege mentality, and panic.  If your company is experiencing any of these symptoms contact a PR professional immediately.

Being ready for a crisis is probably the best way to handle one.  The most efficient way to diffuse a crisis is to handle it promptly and make all of the information known about the crisis by the company available to the public.  By anticipating a crisis and having a management plan in place a company can act quickly.  A crisis management sets forth a preemptive process to handle most risks.

-Define the risk

-Describe the actions that mitigate the risk

-Identify the cause of the risk

-Demonstrate responsible management action

-Create a consistent message

If these steps are performed swiftly then most every crisis situation can be managed properly.  This process is directly contingent on the availability of information.  A company should never act on information that is not valid or pretend to have information that they don’t.  Doing either of those will only increase the damage of a crisis and prolong the situation.  PR reps come into play because they are the ones who present the information to the public.  They are often the face of a company during a crisis situation.

December 8, 2010

Chapter 18

PR representatives are often met with limitations when selecting a medium to convey a message.  The addition of social media to the medium pool has lessened these limitations.  With over 500 million active users, Facebook presents the PR field with an enormous market to access.  The reasons for the increase in internet usage and social media are laid out thusly:

– The demand to be educated rather than sold

-The quest for conversation

– The need for real time performance

– The need for cusotmization

The internet and social media provide consumers with ways to fulfill all of these needs.  The information on the Internet can be accessed for free, and just as consumers wish to be educated they expected their communications systems to be grounded in fact rather than self-promotion.  The Internet is also highly interactive and this interaction can be instantaneous.  Social media provides this aspect with live chatting and other live mechanisms.  Customization is essential in gaining a public.  Consumers are constantly bombarded with messages that attempt to persuade their attitudes.  To limit the amount of media consumers are exposed to they turn to selective communication highways that will present them with only messages that they will be interested in.

Blogs have provided companies with a chance to get immediate feedback without having to go through a laborious research process.  Blogs also provide consumers the chance to post their opinions about a product or service on their own accord.  Further than just saying whether or they like a product, consumers can post specific reasons for their preference.  Blogs should be viewed by corporations as a positive tool.  Almost like a free labor less focus group.

December 8, 2010

Chapter 9 & 17

Since most public relations is conducted through the mass media it is important to understand how the field deals with the media.  Specifically, how a public relations professionals deal with journalist.

(1) A reporter is a reporter: anything you say at any given time in front of a reporter is possible information for them to publish

(2) You are the organization: when speaking with a reporter the public relations representative is the face of the client and must conduct him or herself accordingly.

(3) There is no standard issue reporter: all reporters are different and should be treated as such.  There is no standard protocol on how to deal with every reporter.

(4) Treat journalist professionally: a PR rep. must conduct interaction with a reporter in a professional way.  They must clearly define the goal of their profession, which is to portray a client in the best light possible.

(5) Don’t sweat skepticism: the journalist profession is meant to be skeptical.  If journalists only asked obvious questions there wouldn’t be much of a demand for the job.

(6) Don’t try to “buy” a journalist: do not try to mask advertising as news.

(7) Become a trusted source: make sure you are available to a reporter when breaking news occurs and journalists will start to come to you for stories.

(8) Talk when not “selling”: providing journalists with leads that aren’t specific to your client can help build a positive relationship.

(9) Don’t expect “news” agreement: not everything that is released to a journalist will make it to publication.  Sometimes journalists have a different view of what is relevant news from a PR rep.

(10) Don’t cop a ‘tude: be polite to reporters, if you are rude they may not publish the story based on your attitude.  Or worse, put a negative spin on a story because of it.

(11) Never lie: need I say more?

(12) Read the paper: since a PR rep initiates the news story with a pitch, it is essentially that he or she follows up to see the final product.  If you read a journalists work it shows that you are in fact interested in their profession and not just your own.

PR advertising should not take place in the news realm.  Meaning approaching a journalist with a marketing plan is frowned upon.  Marketing is completely separate from news and operates on a subjective campaign that tries to influence a public, where news tries to be objective and present facts.  News is used by PR reps to create awareness.

December 8, 2010

Chapter 12 & 14

In today’s regulated world public relations and its effectiveness depend heavily on a company’s relationship with the government.  How the government is effected by the client often determines whether or not they will support the company’s communication practices.  Unfortunately the book puts a positive spin on lobbyists as a way to align a business with government approval. The main activities lobbyists partake in to further their business are by:

-Fact finding- the government is a database of knowledge.

-Interpretation of Government actions- lobbyists report to their client how recent legislation is going to affect the way they conduct business.  Ex: the increase in tobacco taxes may change how Phillip-Morris chooses to relate to their publics in order to increase sales to maintain a steady revenue.

-Interpretation of Company actions- like the above mentioned activity, lobbyists must determine what actions a company must do to ensure success through the government.  Ex: Phillip-Morris may need to help fund a political campaign to ensure the tobacco tax is lessened or isn’t passed.

-Advocacy of a position- A lobbyist has to present politicians with information on how legislation affects their company.  The book states that lobbyist present both pros and cons, but when a lobbyists goal is to ensure the longevity of their client I bet they place more emphasis on one or the other based on the desired outcome of the legislation.  There is an aspect of the political process that makes me weary. That is that politicians often don’t have time to read a piece of legislation in its entirety and they rely on the lobbyists’ word to on how the piece of legislation in question will affect them.  Usually a subjective word.

-Publicity springboard- Governmental news by far represents the largest slice of the media pie.  By associating a company with a piece of governmental legislation it is almost guaranteed that the company will be featured in a news story.  In the news world, there is no such thing as bad publicity.

-Support of company sales- the government is one of the largest consumer of good.  By associating oneself with government officials lobbyists can almost ensure that their clients maintain a good sales level.

The existence of lobbyists poses many moral questions.  By gaining the support of government officials it may create a political agenda that is not based in politics at all.  Instead it creates politicians that are willing to support pieces of legislation because they are affiliated with a particular corporation.

December 8, 2010

Chapter 11

Once a company is established in a geographical area it must take into account how it influences the community and how the community influences it.  There are certain things that are expected of each construct by the other.  Companies expect certain things such as: good living conditions for employees, a work force, amenities such as water, electricity etc., and fair taxation.  The book also states that a company should expect a reasonable degree of support for the business and its products.  I don’t exactly agree with this statement.  I think that it is up to a company to determine if there is a viable market for their product in a community before setting up shop.

Conversely a community seems to expect much more from a company.  The community generally expects to see an aesthetic pleasing appearance, community participation, economic stability, and to bring pride to the community.  While doing all of these things helps a business to grow and succeed, I think it is a little much to expect these from a business.  A business in its nature is established to make money (unless it is a non-profit).  The fulfillment of community expectations are characteristics of a good company.  They are what separate good companies from bad ones.  By expecting these qualities a community may be setting itself up for disappointment.

Non-profits are an exception to these expectations.  Not that they don’t have to meet them, but because these expectations are the goals of a non-profit organization.  If a non-profit organization cannot meet these expectations then there is an implicit need to re-evaluate whether or not the organization is in fact a non-profit.  These organizations often require a large amount of volunteer work form the community.  This is a good way for the organization to keep open and clear lines of communication with the community.  By having volunteers, non-profits make community members become a part of the organization and vice versa.  Having the community work for its own interests is the best way to ensure that the community’s expectations are met.

December 8, 2010

Connections: Harry Potter

In public relations there is a point is reached when your client establishes such a strong identity that the need for advertising and influencing the public to support your client is no longer vital to the client’s success.  I am not sure if it was just me or based or actually grounded fact, but I didn’t notice a lot of media surrounding the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”.  The movie serious has been around for almost a decade and the books predate the movies.

The first movie released was heavily advertised and made national news due to the controversial content of the films and books (mainly roused by fundamentalist Christians).  The media surrounding the movie created a fan base that rivals that of Trekkies.  Since the first movie there have been multiple sequels and have been moderately advertised.  Due to the lack of public relations media surrounding the last movie, I think the Harry Potter label has created a strong enough public opinion that it doesn’t a hefty amount of public relations help.  Other than a announcing a release date, Harry Potter is a name that speaks for itself.