Notes


From the Textbook”Public Reltaions: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Here are just a few facts from chapter 4.

  • Larger companies tend to include PR in their policy making process because they tend to be more sensitive than others to policy issues and public attitudes.
  • The first corporate PR department was started by George Westinghouse in 1889.
  • Corporate Communications is often used as the department name instead of PR.
  • Other names include: corporate relations, marketing and corporate affairs, investor relations, and community relations.
  • Sometimes the name “public relations” or “PR” gets a bad rap, so the other terms are used to keep the department from being labeled negatively.
  • The head of the department is usually named one of three titles: Manager, director, or Vice President.
  • Various levels of management influence the PR department in order to effectively reach the target audience.
  • Outside PR firms may be good resources and have new and different ideas that a company has not considered, however they may lack full-time committment and may be more expensive than having an in-house PR department.

Here is an informational snippit on how to develop your own personal pitch when meeting new and important people. It is called “The Elevator Speech,” and is designed to help you boil down who you are and what you do to a less than thirty second phrase. Have you thought about what you would say if someone asked you how you spent these last 4 years?

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Three social medias that are important to the field of PR are News releases, media alerts, and pitch letters.

A news release (press release) is a document that is made to provide the information of a firm to a mass media publication such as a newspaper. A media alert brings attention to an event or news conference for reporters and stations so that they can be available to cover the event. A pitch letter is a short letter or note to the editor in hopes to grab their attention. This form is usually accompanied by a media kit.

  • In all cases it is important to follow some simple rules.
    • Do not describe products with words such as “unique.” These phrases are over used and dry. Reporters want to know actual characteristics and uses of the product. Not opinions.
    • Avoid words such as “world class” and “leading Provider”- anything that tries to position your company.
    • Be direct and to the point.
    • Use the inverted pyramid style of writing to make sure important information is not cute by the editor.
    • State the 5 W’s: Who What Where When Why.

The United States is often referred to as the “Melting Pot.”  This means that there are so many different types of people here from an array of backgrounds, cultures, and countries. It is important that PR firms maximize their abilities to reach all different types of publics. This is most important for clients that host international relationships. The norms and values vary from culture to culture so customers in one country may have completely different perceptions than another. Utilize the steps of the PR process when dealing with a multicultural audience.

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

An Audience is defined as a complex intermingling of groups with diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, and economic attributes whose interests coincide at times and conflict at others. Sometimes firms will generalize audiences into categories in order to more easily direct  campaigns.

Some Generalizations:

  • Women are an important part of the public and make about 80% of purchasing decisions.
  • Health interests are more likely to concern the Baby-boomer generation.
  • The public is becoming more visually oriented with a shorter attention span.
  • Diversity is the most significant aspect of the U.S.

Emerging audiences include but are not limited to:

  • Catholic and Evangelical  Christian Groups
  • Gay/Lesbian Community
  • Disability Community
  • Women

By evolving production campaigns, over coming language barriers, and learning local business customs firms can present to more audiences. It is very important to be well-educated on the background of the audience! With the emerging technology at our fingertips, there are no excuses when it comes to inappropriate stereotypes or offending  publics of another background.

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.” –Edward R. Murow

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Communication, known to some in PR as execution, is the third step in the Public Relations process. Goals of the communication process include, but are not limited to:

  • Inform
  • Persuade
  • Motivate
  • Understand

To reach these goals, professionals need to understand how people receive messages,  how people process the information that they recieve, and which tools to use in the media to get the desired message out.

Is the message appropriate? Is it meaningful? Is it memorable? Will the audience understand it? – These are just some questions that pro’s should ask themselves before the plan is executed.

One should ALWAYS remember that communication is SYMMETRICAL. It is a balance between the sender and the reciever. The sender should also recieve feedback to judge if the message was communicated correctly.

Effective use of language is a key concept and should be carefully considered. The target audience should play a large roll.

The credibility of the source is most important. If people do not believe the source of the information, then the message will be of no use. In fact, if the source is known to be unrealiable, then the message can actually be negative.

Ethics are norms that are based on one’s moral behavior when descisions of fairness arise or questions of right or wrong. Many people use “The Golden Rule” as their basis for ethical descision making. In Public Relations it is always important to have good ethical tactics for many reasons; for instance reputations of yourself and the people you represent are at stake and the public that you are giving information to deserve to have the full truth.

PRSA has its own code of ethics that PR proffesionals are to follow. The society agrees that there are 6 core values that should be followed : Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness. There are different tips on handling different situations as every conflict will be individual and unique.  http://www.prsa.org/searchResults.html?c=1&id=88145&qr=ethics

PR is not considered a profession at this time because it lacks the education and background that is required for other feilds like dentistry or medicine. Many argue, however, that PR is a combination of many professions. ‘”We act as publicists, yet we talk of counceling. We perform as technologists in communication, but we aspire to be decision-makers dealing in policy”‘ (John F. Budd Jr.). PRSA is one of the first to aquire an accreditation program. This lengthy program involves a preview course, portfolio, and written exam. Members that are awarded are considered Accredited in Public Relations.

Public opinion and persuasion are key factors involved with PR. A public relations professional should be able to understand the public’s opinion of different subjects, especially when their client is involved; and a professional should be able to persuade the public opinion, especially when their client is involved.

 

 “One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.” -Douglas MacArthur

 

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Public opinion is the sum of individual opinions on an issue affecting those individuals. Opinion leaders are people that are knowledgeable and articulate about certain issues. These people may be highly interested in the subject, be better informed than the average consumer, be early adopters of a new idea, or avid consumers of mass media. They usually have a college degree, are active in the community, earn a relatively high income, and are regularly informed on the news.

Persuasion is used to change negative opinions or conserve positive opinions. Factors of persuasion include:

  • Audience analysis
  • Source credibility
  • Clarity of message
  • Timing
  • Audience participation
  • Persuasive Speaking

Sometimes there just aren’t ways to effectively deliver the desired message. There are many times when limitations in the communication process hinder a firm’s ability to reach the eyes, ears, minds, and perceptions of the target audience. Some of these limitations are lack of message penetration, competing messages, self-selection, and self-perception. There will be times when one will not be able to change the minds of certain individuals. It is important, in my eyes, for the company to focus on the percentage of people that are undecided on an issue or willing to listen, instead of the hardheaded individuals or groups that will most likely never change their minds.

“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again”-Unknown

In every firm, business, organization, team, or group it is so important to evaluate the outcome. Did you win or lose and why? Did we make a profit? Did we have a good time? Everyone asks these types of evaluation questions throughout their daily lives. Even children evaluate events- and believe me, you will know if the rating is POOR or UNSATISFACTORY.

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Evaluation is the fourth step in the PR process following the execution, or communication of the plan. Evaluation is the measurement of results against the established objectives as set during the planning process. Why do we evaluate? We evaluate our outcomes to see if we should do something different next time. We also evaluate to see if our time and money was allocated correctly. I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, and with the evaluation process we have the opportunity to change anything in the process that did not work.

There are abundent ways to measure an audience’s reaction and awareness, or a product’s popularity. These are just a few:

  • Measuring a website’s HITs. (how much a site is viewed)
  • Day after Recall
  • Readership of a particular newspaper or magazine
  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • REACTIONS

From what I have learned throughout my life is that a negative reaction to something will generate a HUGE urge to publicly evaluate whereas a positive reaction is expected by the audience and he/she may not feel the need to publicly assess the product. As a rule of thumb, a person who enjoys a product or event may tell 0-2 people (maybe 5 if they are extatic about the situation), while people that are extreemly dissatisfied will tell more than 10. (especially if he/she blogs).

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