When bloggers attack, we, as trained communication experts, must be ready to respond, and must recognize bloggers as a new wave of reporters. Many are key influencers who can rally a community against you. Working with bloggers and responding quickly builds rapport and relationship. And gets you the bigger story—maybe even a more balanced story.
It used to be that advertising was king. If you had a product or service you needed to sell, you went to an advertising agency and developed an advertising campaign to get your item to the public. Then marketing joined the fray, and advertising became an extension of other things you were doing to market yourself, like trade shows or mailings. Eventually branding assumed center stage. Now everything you did to promote, market or sell your product or service, your company or even yourself emanated from the branding mandate. As it should be! The critical importance of strategically focused, consistently delivered messaging cannot be overstated.
Nike v. Kasky, now in the U.S. Supreme Court, could determine whether or not public statements made by corporate executives, when acting as company representatives, are subject to the same rules that regulate the advertising business. As Allan Jenkins indicated in his article last month in Communication World, the outcome of the case will have a profound affect on business communications. And it could be positive.
Read these 10 useful tips from Walter K. Lindenmann, Ph.D., an independent consultant specializing in public relations research, measurement and evaluation services.
This research examines credibility in the discourse offered on the corporate Web sites of 60 British, Danish, and Norwegian public relations (PR) agencies. This study’s purpose was to see whether the North European PR industry moves in the direction of convergence or divergence in their corporate self-presentations. The authors have done this by unfolding the rhetoric and language of PR agencies Web sites. In this process, this study tried to determine whether the rhetorical strategies they use to achieve credibility show signs across the industry of becoming more focused on the responsibilities, enthusiasm, and caring nature of corporations and less directed at communicating expertise. Thus, the study expected to show whether PR agencies seek to build credibility by way of much the same rhetorical strategies and language, or whether they pursue different strategies in trying to build unique images. In analyzing the data, it is found that PR agencies across the three countries assign similar relative importance to expertise, trustworthiness, and empathy, and interestingly also that they strongly prioritize explaining their expertise at the expense of expressing their empathy for clients. To begin to understand this reluctance toward incorporating empathy in discourse, the authors investigate the linguistic representation of this one central dimension to explain its complexity and to point to the potential of an untapped resource for strategically managing self-presentation in business communication.
Many companies continue to discount the power and potential of social media. Others are just beginning to flirt with the idea of using this new form of communication, while still others are in the process of developing social media policies to establish what employees can and cannot do. Then, there are those companies that have started allowing their communication specialists to engage in social media on behalf of the organization. But how many are teaching non-communication staff how to use this new media?
Most experienced editors have a love-hate relationship with press releases. They rely on releases (and the people who write them) for story ideas, facts and valuable sources. A good news release can be a lifesaver when it arrives just in the nick of time with an interesting story idea, an arresting headline, compelling lead, powerful quotes, maybe even a print-ready photo.
Social responsibility, in one form or another, has been on the minds of businesses for over 100 years. By running a business that the community, local and global, can be proud of, corporations are able to create a climate of compassion that could likely translate into consumer support. Some have argued that adopting CSR standards allows companies to build brand value by imbuing their brands with ideas, emotions and beliefs that appeal to consumers. The cost of building brand value with social responsibility initiatives is usually cheaper than trying to achieve the same effect through advertising and public relations.
There are ongoing debates about the reporting and working relationship between HR and internal communication, but one thing is certain: When it comes to systemic change, the kind required for effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) implementation, the two must work together in an inextricably-linked collaboration.
Most of those who write about corporate social responsibility focus first and foremost on external stakeholders—responsibility-focused investors, workers in the supply chain, local communities, the press, governments or NGOs—and understandably so. These groups can undermine corporate reputations by publicizing perceived instances of social irresponsibility. Reputations may be intangible, but damage to them can cost real dollars.
Shoestring-budget heroes, rejoice. The Internet offers many inexpensive opportunities to deliver better public relations results in our broadband-driven universe. No doubt, emerging concepts such as corporate blogging, podcasting or immersive web content (like "advergames") can produce their fair share of angst. But let's not forget to explore simple web-based tools available to large and small organizations alike.
One of the primary concerns of public relations practitioners is reputation management. Traditionally, PR professionals measured the perception of their brand, products or services through media coverage; whatever was written or broadcast about a company was viewed as indicative of public opinion. The Internet has vastly changed the dynamics of how communicators assess and evaluate public opinion.
Measuring the effectiveness of PR is critical to moving PR from a tactical function to a strategic component of your company's plan for success. But the old ways of counting clips just aren't good enough to convince today's management executives that their investment in PR and overall communications is paying off. Here are 5 Tips about how to measure PR in ways that will catch the CEO's attention and increase the stature of PR in any organization:
Recent research tells us that 97 percent of all public relations departments are involved in media relations, and 88 percent evaluate their campaigns using media analysis. On one hand, industry leaders urge us to measure the results of our work via business outcomes; yet on the other, communicators are still asked to supply output results as 'proof of performance.' Is there some link between the two that can cover both? Here are some relatively easy ways to make your media results speak with numbers that management will respect and understand.
For all the talk about corporate blogs, there still seems to be considerable debate about their value. As of early June, though, those questions should have been put to rest. General Motors illustrated just one of the benefits of blogs—bypassing the media and taking your message directly to the public—in its response to a column that appeared in The New York Times.
Many people don't realize the extent to which public relations has increased its influence since the growth of the Internet. This influence continues to grow as does the popularity and utility of the Internet itself. Literally millions of new web sites are added every month, and they represent the most extraordinary way to target your audience. Today's journalists, radio and television news producers and editors all prefer to receive news via e-mail and to instantly access web sites to secure the facts.
This study utilizes the hegemonic model of crisis communication to critically analyze the ideological implications of Nike's sweatshop labor crisis that culminated in the Kasky v. Nike court case. This groundbreaking case merits further examination and, informed by Gramsci's notion of hegemony, reveals the underlying ideological struggle present in the Nike crisis: a struggle for voice, power, and free corporate speech. Activist voices opposing sweatshops, Nike's defenses, and eventually, the legal decisions of the U.S. court system constituted competing voices in these ideological struggles over what is acceptable or right corporate behavior. This hegemonic struggle influenced standards for international labor, public relations efforts that misrepresent facts, and consideration of corporate public relations as free or commercial speech. This hegemonic model of crisis communication, unlike previous theories, recognizes the dynamic struggle between voices with various levels of power and the important ideological implications resulting from competing voices in crisis communication.
In today's world, advertising is just one element of the marketing formula. In fact, there is a shift occurring away from advertising to other marketing that's less costly and more cost-effective and efficient. In all your marketing efforts, your goal is to gain that top-of-mind awareness position with your prospect/customer. PR can do this. Advertising can do this once awareness is attained. PR gets you there; advertising keeps you there. Knowing the return of PR truly justifies it as an integral part of the marketing arsenal.
If you have an interesting story to tell, a press release will help you to make newspaper editors aware of it. Maybe you recently won an award. Maybe you stumbled upon some interesting information in the field you work in. Or maybe your design contributed towards some kind of achievement on behalf of your client. Depending on the scale and content of your story, you can send your press release to marketing websites, marketing magazines, the relevant trade press, the regional press, and even the business section of the national press.
Identifying the right corporate spokesperson for traditional and new media strategies - including public relations, blogging, video marketing, etc. - is an important task. Whether they are speaking to Katie Couric, a New York Times reporter or a blogger, it is essential that they be well versed on the do's and don't's of effective communication. Whether its a formal, televised interview or an informal email thread that leads to a story in a blog, the spokesperson should represent the image and persona of the company at all times.
Buoyed by commercial expansion and the entrepreneurial renaissance of recent years, corporate public relations has come a long way towards becoming an essential tool in the chief executive's armoury. That said, the scope for further advancement of PR consultants at the boardroom table will remain restricted until the profession gives senior management what they want — a measure of return on their investment.
Today it’s harder than ever for companies to get above the noise and get their messages heard. Many consumers are so overwhelmed with advertisements about new products and marginally improved releases that they automatically tune out anything that sounds promotional. While it may seem like there’s no time to learn new tools and technologies, there are many sites that offer useful guides, quick tips and case studies on how to achieve measurable results.
With intense competition and demands from shareholders, customers and employees, companies need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. Many companies are looking to corporate social responsibility, as a way to do this—by both protecting and enhancing their reputations. Some CSR practitioners are driven by a belief in the company mission and vision, others by top executives, and others see it as public relations and marketing opportunity.
Public relations tactics are supposed to be cost-effective, but all too often, programs seem to come at a high price tag with questionable returns. This is often due to the fact that too many public relations functions are inefficient and too many programs are not targeted.
A few months ago, I read with interest an article that indicated that executives are influenced more by the court of public opinion as a catalyst for making positive behavior changes than they are by even a court of law. So what contribution do we make to this discussion, as public relations and media relations practitioners? Do we shove our heads in the sand and say, "It's not up to us to influence the ethical behavior of our internal and external clients"?