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Public Relations Theory

Public Relations Theory



This slideshow focuses on public relations theory and persuasion tactics. From: BrettAtwood.com

This slideshow focuses on public relations theory and persuasion tactics. From: BrettAtwood.com



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    Public Relations Theory Public Relations Theory Presentation Transcript

    • PR Theory Basics PR 313 Brett Atwood
    • Basic Review
      • Four elements of communication
        • 1. Sender
        • 2. Message
        • 3. Medium
        • 4. Receiver
          • Who is your message aimed at?
          • There may be one or multiple publics
          • Who is affected by the actions
            • Stakeholders
    • Persuasion vs. Manipulation
      • What do you think the difference is between persuasion vs. manipulation?
    • Persuasion
      • Persuasion is an attempt to influence a person’s actions through an appeal to his/her self-interest
      • A PR person must be aware of what the audience wants to know
      • Gained knowledge is “mutually beneficial”
    • Manipulation
      • The audience might not need to know the message, but they are coerced or tricked into that knowledge when there is little of no benefit to them
      • Can result in loss of credibility or negative feelings
    • Media Theory
      • Does the media have an effect on viewers and listeners?
      • There are several theories that support the extremes and the middle on this
        • Yes, it impacts us
        • No, it does not
        • Yes and No... somewhere in between
    • Hypodermic Needle Theory
      • One of the earliest theories held that mass media was highly influential
      • The media could “shoot” beliefs into people’s minds as a doctor shoots a hypodermic needle into a patient
      • Examples: WWI propaganda, “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast
      • This theory is no longer widely held
    • Two-Step Flow Theory
      • Media messages observed, analyzed, interpreted and passed on by opinion leaders
      • The mass public gets information via these tastemakers
        • Opinions are formed
        • Perceptions are created
        • Knowledge is gained (or repressed)
    • Opinion Leaders
      • Opinion leaders serve as a powerful conduit in the flow of information
      • Opinion leaders may have more direct access to the media and/or a better media literacy than the masses
      • They have credibility with individuals that the mass media may lack
        • Political candidates
        • Celebrities
        • Community or religious leaders
        • Teachers
        • “ Media analysts”
        • Journalists
    • Example Scenario
      • Paris Hilton has a T-Mobile Sidekick
      • She is shown in public using it
      • To some of the public, this communicates that the item is “hip”
    • Example
      • Many of us know an “early adopter” who is always the first on the block to own the coolest technology gadget
        • This person serves as an “expert” that we may directly or indirectly learn from
    • Limited-Effects Theory
      • Media often does not have a direct effect on subjects and decision making
      • However, it is just one of many influences, including:
        • Opinion leaders
        • One’s prior held beliefs
        • Influence of family, friends, peers
    • Decision-making Process
      • Exists on a continuum
      • Depends on:
        • The information itself
        • Personal psyche or disposition
    • Decision-making Process
      • Some key factors:
        • Socio-economic status (class)
        • Religion
        • Gender
        • Intra-familial status
    • Moderate-Effects Theory
      • A “middle ground”
      • Recognizes that media is not all-powerful in its influence
      • However, under certain circumstances it can have a very strong effect
    • Powerful-Effects Theory
      • Media has the potential for a huge influence on the audience
      • Influence increases if:
        • Audience has little or no opinion on a subject
        • Subject is non-ego threatening
        • Audience has no direct experience with the subject
    • Framing
      • “ Framing” is the shaping of views and discussions through selective choice of facts, themes and words
      • Sender makes the selection
      • PR has a huge influence in “framing” how the media will discuss a product, person, development or ideology
      • “ Framing” creates the context in which the discussion occurs
    • Examples
      • Apple Computer makes a “comeback” with the introduction of iMac
      • The war on Iraq is a “war on terrorism”
      • A movie’s success is discussed in terms of opening weekend box-office numbers
      • Katie Couric’s new anchor role at CBS is discussed in the context of her gender
    • Agenda Setting
      • The pattern of news coverage of a particular topic helps to determine what the public perceives as important
      • In other words, the media sets the agenda
    • Perceptions of Reality
      • Does what we see on TV impact our view of reality?
      • For many people, the TV serves as a key way we learn about the world
        • Particularly, when it exposes us to things or places that we might not normally encounter in “real life”
    • Uses and Gratification Theory
      • Communication process is interactive
        • It is a selective process
      • People consume the media (and absorb messages embedded within it) for a reason
      • It meets their needs
        • Entertainment
        • Information
    • Cognitive Dissonance
      • A message will not be believed if it is contrary to the predispositions of the receiver
      • To combat this, a PR writer must introduce new information that says it is OK to change
        • This may take the form of a credible spokesperson
    • Power of the Media: TV vs. “Reality”
      • What happens when TV’s portrayal is wrong
      • Do we learn incorrect information or do we know better?
        • Example:
          • “ Summer of the Shark” coverage
          • Violent crime coverage
    • Cultivation Theory
      • The more that a person is exposed to media, the more likely that person’s construction of social reality will be more like that in the media and less like reality
    • Racial, Ethnic, and Sex-Role Stereotypes
      • Are we really seeing accurate portrayals of race, ethnicity, and sex roles in the media?
      • Example:
        • Women in Media
          • Men outnumber women 2 to 1 in starring roles, yet women make up 51% of the population
          • When women are featured, they are usually in subservient or younger roles
    • Diffusion and Adoption
      • Five steps to acquiring new ideas
        • 1. Awareness
        • 2. Interest
        • 3. Trial
        • 4. Evaluation
        • 5. Adoption
    • Diffusion and Adoption
      • In PR, the first two stages (awareness and interest) are most relevant
    • What causes change?
      • Adoption may be due to several factors:
        • Is the idea better?
        • Does it fit into my existing paradigm?
        • Do I understand it?
        • Can I safely try it out?
        • How observable is it?
    • Application of Theory
      • As a PR professional, your goal is to persuade
        • Persuasion is easier if the audience has an interest in the topic and is predisposed to accept it
        • Active audiences are already aware of the product and have an interest in it
        • Passive audiences must be lured into accepting your message
          • An inactive public has less interest in the topic and, thus, will be even more difficult to persuade
    • M-A-O Model
      • Use the M-A-O model to lure a passive audience into action
        • Motivation
        • Ability
        • Opportunity
    • Motivation
      • You must motivate the audience to become aware that your message even exists
      • Can be done with various tactics:
        • Design and style of message
        • Unique form of delivery
        • Reliance of credible tastemakers
        • Bribe the audience
    • Ability
      • Enable easier understanding of the message (once the public is aware of it)
      • Can be achieved various ways:
        • Simplify the message
        • Relate the message to what they already know
    • Opportunity
      • Structure the message for optimal processing
        • Repetition
        • Create an environment where message is most likely to be heard
        • Keep it interesting
    • Example: M-A-O Model
      • Progressive Direct car insurance campaign
      • Many consumers do not “shop around” for car insurance
      • They stick with their existing insurance…even if there is a price advantage to shopping around
      • Progressive has a campaign to motivate would-be consumers to think about their rates so that they may build awareness of their service
      • They “bribe” people with free airline miles to request a quote
      • Then, the consumer is exposed to the information and interest is generated due to the anticipated reward
      • Once the consumer gets the quote, it is hoped that they will take action on their knowledge of the competitive rate