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MSc Corporate Communications - PR Theory and Background

MSc Corporate Communications - PR Theory and Background

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  • 1. PS 438 Lecture 2 Introduction to Public Relations Lesley Muir, January 14 th 2011
  • 2. My Background
      • PR practitioner for 15 years
      • Independent consultant – ‘Good Public Relations’
      • Focus: B2B - IT, corporate finance, tax, food
      • Linked In profile
      • Example projects
  • 3. Agenda
    • Overview of PR
      • Definitions, industry, models
    • Corporate communications
      • Building blocks: stakeholders, identity, reputation
  • 4. What is PR?
    • Press releases? Media relations, press coverage? Publicity? Spin?
    • A mystery (Cropp & Pincus)
      • definitions differ widely
      • Identity crisis – Hutton
    • Grunig & Hunt: “management of communication between an organisation and its publics”
    • Why the Media? – channel for communicating with certain stakeholders – influence and reach – widening to bloggers
  • 5. Some Typical PR Problems
      • Awareness of an organisation/issue/product/service and influence adoption of the above
      • Understanding among publics around new policy
      • Create/sustain/repair forms of identification (branding)
      • Create/maintain/repair “voice” or persona for an organisation
      • ID and implement CSR
      • ID and respond to marketplace issues
    • Success dependent upon the development of relationships
      • Marketplace – customers, employees – financial rewards
      • Community – mutual support in exchange for reputation
      • Policy – improve operating environment
    • Boundary spanning
  • 6. Sector structure
    • CIPR - 60 years old, £££million industry
    • 50,000 plus practitioners in UK
    • In-house (corporate, NFP) v.s. consultancy
    • Big players - global footprint, specialists
    • Job types: Media relations, Public affairs, External relations, Publicist, Employee communications, CSR Manager, Investor relations, Digital communications, Social media specialists, Evaluation
  • 7. Hutton – What does PR involve?
    • 3 Dimensions – interest, initiative, image
    • Definition:
      • Managing strategic relationships - individuals and organisations
    • Situational roles:
      • Persuader, advocate, educator, information provider, reputation manager
      • evolved as PR discipline matured
    • Primary functions performed:
      • Research, image making, counselling, managing, early warning, interpreting, communicating, negotiating
    • Tactics/tools utilised:
      • Publicity, product placements, news releases, speeches, interpersonal communications, web sites, publications, trade shows, corporate identity programmes, corporate advertising
  • 8. Grunig’s 4 PR models Characteristic Press agentry / Publicity Public Information Two-way asymmetric Two-way symmetric Purpose Propaganda Dissemination of information Scientific persuasion Mutual understanding Nature of communication 1 way, truth inessential 1 way, truth important 2 way, imbalanced effects 2 way, balanced effects Philosophical worldview asymmetrical Pluralistic/ asymmetrical asymmetrical symmetrical Mono/dialogic monologic monologic Unbalanced monologic dialogic Habermasian equivalent Strategic action Strategic action Strategic action Communicative action Game theory outcome Zero sum Zero sum Zero sum Positive sum
  • 9.
    • “ Nowadays a company without PR representation at Board level is missing a trick….” Zetter, ex CIPR chair
    • “ Many headed hydra from IR to CSR to publicists …phenomenal work in charity sector…” Borkowski
    • “ PR enables organisations to communicate in a coherent and organised way…. allowing people to make their own judgements…” Lewis Jones
    • “ Not just about column inches but developing relationships that deliver business traction and benefits” Wright
    • “ If it’s good PR you will never know it…”
  • 10. Grunig’s Excellence Study
    • IABC research conducted in early 1990s into communication excellence
    • Questions:
      • How and what does PR contribute to organisational effectiveness? How much is this contribution worth in monetary terms?
      • What characteristics of PR function increase excellence and what is the contribution of PR to organisational effectiveness?
    • Identified 3 key contributors to “Excellence”:
      • Communicators had the knowledge to practice symmetrical communication
      • Communicators were members of their organisation’s dominant coalition – different to SMT
      • Organisation’s culture facilitated symmetrical communication
    • Critics – unachievable – utopian, power issues
    .
  • 11. Conclusions – Grunig’s response
    • Clarification of symmetry vs. asymmetry
      • Not pure consensus - balanced (self) interest
      • “ Organisations get more of what they want when they give up some of what they want” – Excellence study findings
      • Limits to potential for collaboration - inhibiting scenarios
    • Mixed motive model – hybrid “co-operative antagonists”
      • Murphy (1999) – game theory approach
      • “ PR increases organisational effectiveness when builds long term relationships based around trust and mutual understanding with strategic publics and symmetrical or asymmetrical, either alone or used together as the mixed motive model would be most effective in achieving these goals.” Grunig
  • 12. Target publics Corporations seeking to shape and influence relevant discourse Media offers legitimacy and advocacy with 3 rd party influence Messages Information negotiation Evaluation and choices Messages Individual and collective voices - strengthening Output = Altered social perspectives - New ideas, objects of desire, discourses social representations, myths REPUTATION MANAGEMENT REPRESENTATIONAL PROCESS Wider Society
  • 13. PR ‘Toolbox’ from Foucault
    • Foucault:
      • How did the accepted ways of understanding and speaking about our milieu and the wider world come about?
      • Why do we believe and think about things in the way we do?
      • Concepts of discourse, power/knowledge and subjectivity
    • Motion and Leach (2007) - PR has central role in
      • Practice of constructing and transforming discourse
      • Way PR acts to create meaning - three levels
        • Ideational – promoting new concepts, ideas, thoughts = “selling ideas”
        • Relational – managing relationships – systems of power/knowledge, influence, hegemonic practice = “agent with the right connections”
        • Identity – creates and advises upon the “subject” position – how the organisation/individual/issue is viewed e.g. celebrity publicists, brand values, training for spokespeople
      • “ Technologisation” of discourse is what PR practitioners do
      • Makes more thoughtful practitioner – how and why PR works
  • 14. Raincoats and Umbrellas
    • Handy (1994) – The Empty Raincoat
    • Organisations lack substance and are hollow
    • Kitchen and Shultz (2001) – Raising the Corporate Umbrella
    • Umbrella metaphor - CC underpins organisational strategy – favourable climate
    • Integration, substance, dialogue
    • Increased importance of PR - evolution to corporate communications
    • Centralised function - internal and external alignment
    • Single organisational identity, culture - reputation
    • Manage competing/conflicting stakeholders
    • Core concepts – stakeholders, identity and reputation
  • 15. Stakeholder Auditing Dormant Dangerous Definitive Dominant Dependent Demanding Discretionary Non-stakeholders Power Legitimacy Urgency
  • 16. Stakeholder Classifications
    • Mitchell, Agle & Wood (1997) theoretical model
    • Single attribute:
      • Dormant – disgruntled employees, lapsed customers
      • Discretionary – museums, galleries, philanthropists
      • Demanding – isolated activist
    • Two attributes:
      • Dominant – employee shareholders, investors
      • Dependent – local community
      • Dangerous – terrorists, employee saboteurs
    • Three attributes:
      • Definitive – stockholders, customers, big NGOs, employees
  • 17. Identity
    • Self-representation of an organisation, anchor for communications
    • (Cheney and Christensen) Organisational + corporate = total identity – 2 sides of the coin
    • Communication needs to mirror the reality
      • Symbolic + behavioural => ideal of transparency
    • Multiples – Balmer’s ACID test
      • As perceived by the audience – perception is the truth
      • Reality of the identity is what the audience takes away
    • Balmer & Gray, Argenti – 10 factors behind saliency = invest in “corporate brands”
      • Faster innovation rates (product lifecycles), deregulation, privatisation, competition, globalisation, M&As and divestments, talent wars, CR expectations, stakeholder management (tensions)
  • 18. REPUTATION IMAGE IDENTITY Immediate mental picture held by an individual Lasting belief, held by an individual and shaped by group’s past experience, WOM, endorsements, experiences Stakeholders and media can influence perception (reputation) Aka corporate brand. Value rooted in difference
  • 19. Balmer’s AC 2 ID test
    • Alignment of multiple organisational identities
    • Misalignment: “moments of truth”
    Communicated Actual Conceived Desired Ideal
  • 20. Reputation
    • Fombrun “a perceptual representation of a companies’ past actions and future prospects that describe the firm’s overall appeal to all of its key constituents when compared to other key rivals”
      • reputation signals firms’ status within the industrial social system.
    • Pre-requisites: legitimacy and transparency (alignment with corporate identity)
    • “ Good reputation is very useful for an organisation: it may enable it to charge premium prices for its products, enter into favourable financial arrangements with banks, attract graduates from top universities, get in touch with customers easily, and so on, such that good reputation constitutes a valuable asset to the organisation.” (Fombrun and Shanley, 1990; Shapiro, 1983)
  • 21. Key CC Challenges
    • Integrating communications within the business
    • Communicating with diverse stakeholders
    • Executing an online strategy
    • Maintaining trust
    • Managing the 24 hour news culture
    • Maintaining SOV
  • 22. The Harsh Reality
    • “ You and I have heard about the work we each have been doing and a mutual friend has been trying to get us to meet for over a year. Finally we are both at the same conference and our friend brings us together at the reception. You introduce yourself and say a few words….I stop you and say I’ve only got a few minutes to spare and I want to tell you all the good things I do and how fortunate you are to have me around.
    • Valid for 95% of corporate communication scenarios
    • Audience: relevance and meaning
    • (Quote source: Oechsle 2002)
  • 23. Podcast
    • Charles Fombrun on Reputation