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Reflections

Like any good public relations plan, evaluation or retrospect is key to growth and truly understanding whether or not you set out what you meant to accomplish, so this reflections blog post will follow that model.

Going back to my very first blog in regards to the concept of pubic relations, it was clear that while I understood and could define the concept, I didn’t fully have a grasp of the entire process, mainly because I have never conducted a campaign or participated in one before. I referred and relied heavily on official sites to help define what I was talking about and even applied it to a real life incident, but at that point in time, I still had much to learn.

Moving ahead, I clearly understood and defined the importance of building a solid foundation for a public relations campaign by having solid research. I was and still am keenly aware some information is subjective to ones point of view, so some information needs to looked over to ensure it is correct. I have always(always being adult life) believed in the importance of base standards to guide ones work by; it ensures projects are( at a minimum) at and understood at a certain level for everyone who works in the field can work with easily and effectively.

Something I have a firm grasp on (and some pride) in almost all facets of my life is the ability to quickly and firmly understand the concept behind any process and then be able to apply it effectively. This is demonstrated with my bog posts discussing the Skittles refugee blind-side and applying the communication theory of rhetoric to public relations and explaining its importance. I feel above all else understanding the concepts behind any process is of the utmost importance because it allows you to freely work in any manner in any facet of a project in regards to that concept. If you only understand the process itself, sure you can push out information and documents, but if something deviates from those processes it will be difficult to  adjust accordingly.

In reference to my other blogs and the class, I completely understand social medias role in the current culture and future of public relations. It is an amazing tool and potential liability and I feel that not enough companies utilize it to its full potential. I am going to take this particular lesson and attempt to bring it into my internship I am conducting this summer at the Kent County Health Department. They are looking to improve their public communication and social media may be an avenue of approach to explore.

The number one thing I learned from this class actually comes in the form of a lesson in writing. I am one to add in “fluff” to any project mainly because I enjoy trying to show my point in a variety of different ways. While it is good I can type long and flowing essays with ease, it is an issue when that isn’t what is asked of me and when I begin to ramble, my message or focus can be lost in the process. Writing these blogs and honest feedback from my professor (for once) has shown me a better way to organize my writings to where I don’t necessarily have to shorten them, but breaking them up leads to easier reading, though I am still working on my short text writing skills.

Overall, I learned much during my time in my public relations class. It was a challenge at times to do some of the assignments due to me having communication barriers, but overall I had fun. If I could go back and do one thing prior to this class, it would be to take the research methods class that is offered at Grand Valley. I understood the concept behind the primary research portion but was clueless to the finer details and while additional information and time provided by my professor was very helpful, I would have benefited more from actually doing it before.

Thank-you for taking the time to read my blog. This is the last one on my series of public relations related blogs and may continue different ones in the future.

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Retrospect is Key to Success

If you’ve been following my posts, you know I was a medic in the United States Army at one time. During that time, I learned a great many things about myself, people and life in general, whilst also learning a system for doing things. One way we used to learn new concepts, like a new medical technique for example was a long process that gave us results every time.

First you planned out the course of action, then briefed everyone on what you would do(self explanatory), then take “baby steps” or “break it down Barney style” at first to make sure everyone was on board with the concept, meaning that we would do it slowly. Then we would “do it by the numbers” as in we would do each step and then stop to make sure everyone got it. Finally, we would perform the concept for real, no stops unless the service member completely messed up. After all of this was done and we cleaned up, we would perform what was called an AAR or after action review, where would go over the days training and say what went well and what went wrong about the day and suggest what we could do to improve or sustain what we did.

Well, this process can be applied to the public relations world and it has been in some retrospects, with the most obvious one being the evaluation portion of any public relations process. Much like an AAR, the evaluation process in a public relations process is when you go over your tactics, goals and strategies and see what went well, what went wrong and what you can do to sustain, improve or rectify your current situation.

In an article done by Business Matters, the organization identified five principles one should follow while conducting an evaluation of their public relations process and I happen to agree with them. They first mention how evaluation seems to always be seen as something to do at the end of a process; that is completely wrong. You should always be evaluating your work to make sure everything is going well and where it needs to be before you run your campaign. Failure to do so may prove fatal to your goals. The next point they bring up is that you should plan your campaign incrementally throughout the process and should treat your evaluation the same way. That way, you can ensure you don’t miss any information and ensure your evaluation is accurate. The third point they bring up is it is a myth that more media coverage equals more success. If you aren’t hitting your target audience with the correct media, then what’s the point? The next point they bring up is do not forget budget. Everything has a price and your campaign is not immune to this fact. The final point they bring up is that to ensure you can effectively evaluate your work, your objectives must be clearly defined; without that, what are you to evaluate?(Five Principles, 2013)

One point I want to focus on is the budget portion for a moment. It is a bit dated, but I feel it is still pertinent to today’s world in regards to funding. Everything costs money, yet that seems to be the number one barrier to any campaign, according to research done by Tom Watson, PhD. According to his research, many practitioners lacked knowledge of research techniques and stated that over half the respondents to a survey responded that there was a lack of money. There’s also a concern with practitioners’ education. There isn’t a focus on the social sciences, which leads to a lack of knowledge on them, which leads to a lack of people with those skills in managerial positions, thus leading to a lack of knowledge from some leadership in matters regarding in these matters.(Watson, 1997, p.6)

To further emphasize the fact evaluation is important, an article put out by Amy Finlayson, a freelance PR and marketing consultant, writes about how the public relations process can be thought of as planning, evaluating and learning.  She says,” Essentially you need to consider what you want to achieve (planning), think about what success looks like (evaluation) and use that to inform what you do next (learning)”(Finlayson, 2017) She is just further emphasizing what Business Matters put out and breaks it down to a more simplified approach.

Much like building a house upon a sand foundation, if you haven’t done your paid your dues and done your research and planning effectively, your campaign is likely to crumble, just like that house resting upon sand. Sure, you’ll have something to evaluate on, but it’s that you messed up. To truly be able to evaluate yourself correctly, you must ensure you are taking measured steps to ensure that as you are building your campaign, you are doing correctly and you can do that with evaluation. Retrospect is key to any process and public relations is no different.

 

 

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Business Matters. (2013, November 03). Five principles of good PR campaign evaluation. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.bmmagazine.co.uk/in-business/advice/five-principles-good-pr-campaign-evaluation/

Finlayson, A. (2017, March 08). How to… evaluate a PR campaign. Retrieved April 10, 2017, from http://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/article/how-evaluate-pr-campaign

Watson, Thomas. (1997). Measuring the Success Rate- Evaluating the PR Process and PR Programmes. P.J. Kitchen (1997) Principles and practice of public relations. London: Chapman & Hall.

Social Media Changed Public Relations

While not exactly a new concept, the internet has not been available for the mass market for the longest time, coming up somewhere in the 90’s; myself, I didn’t have real access to the internet beyond school until 2005 during the end of my sophomore year in high school. It was then where I discovered social media, like Myspace and Aol chat. During those days, we were more concerned with chatting with people, editing our profiles, and arranging our top friends. It was soon after I discovered Facebook; little did I know it would take the world by storm. To be perfectly honest, it was quite dull and while it was fun to poke friends and join dumb groups, there really wasn’t much to offer for a band geek in high school. It wasn’t until four or five years later when it’s true potential began to be tapped. Today, social media has grown into an interactive empire, ranging from Facebook to Twitter and so much more; even Myspace still exists, though it isn’t what it used to be. The most significant thing about social media’s rise though is how much certain industries and corporations have embraced it, with public relations being on the forefront.

In piece conducted by Cision, they mentioned 6 ways that social media has changed public relations, which include the fact public relations has fully integrated with it, there is user co-creation with public relation messages , allowing messages to reach bigger audiences, it forces public relations workers to be more vigilant due to the constantly changing nature of social media, you can now work more with hyper-localizing your message, it is now much easier to build relationships with journalists, giving them unprecedented access and insight and the fact we now have the reality of “citizen journalists” or bloggers, (like many of you on here) that can be used as great sources of information. (Dougherty, 2014) From someone who grew up watching all of this unfold, all of this resonates within my thought process and it still amazes me to this day that something I signed up for almost 12 years ago is now a global empire. Someone give me a time machine so I can tell my parents to invest or something.

In an article written Melanie James, PhD of the University of Newcastle, Australia, she mentions and references how many people aren’t embracing new technology and that many public relations practitioners are falling behind the times in this area. Anyone with access to the internet can publish these days, so people working in the field of public relations really need to focus on getting better in this area. (James, 2014)

Just to reemphasize the importance of embracing social media in the field of public relations, another article I found gives five more reasons social media has changed public relations, including the fact it has encouraged a customer focus, it has helped fueled and create the 24/7 news cycle, public relations services are now affordable to small businesses, the concept of social actually led to integrated public relations and most importantly, it has led to a greater engagement with the customer base, which is what public relations is kind of about when you get down to it, aside from making your client look good of course.

So as you have seen from my short blog post, the rise of social media has fundamentally changed how public relations is conducted.

 

 

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Sources Cited

Dougherty, J. (2015, July 15). 6 Ways Social Media Has Changed Public Relations. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://www.cision.com/us/2014/09/6-ways-social-media-changed-public-relations/

James, M. (2014). A review of the impact of new media on public relations: Challenges for terrain, practice and education. A review of the impact of new media on public relations: Challenges for terrain, practice and education. doi:10.5176/2251-2195_cseit15.30

5 Ways Social Media has Changed Public Relations – 5WPR. (2016, November 08). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from http://www.5wpr.com/new/social-media-public-relations/

The Power of Rhetoric in Public Relations

Thousands of years ago, the great ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle formally established the theory of rhetoric, which establishes the art of persuasion in the public based upon the principles of ethos (the speakers credibility), pathos (the emotional impact on the audience) and logos (the logical impact on the audience) (European Rhetoric, 2007). This communications theory has been used throughout history to help spread information, establish agenda, win hearts and minds and persuade the masses to mobilize to do incredible and disastrous things. Also during this time, public relations has also been utilized hand and hand with a powerful, successful and charismatic rhetoric. How else did Rome control most of Europe and North Africa without modern technology? How else did Adolf Hitler convince the German people to embrace Nazism? How else did Ho Chi Minh rally the North Vietnamese to resist a superior armed force? How else is Isis still recruiting people despite the vast amounts of information against them? Certainly many contributing factors did, but none of these people/groups could have been successful without a powerful rhetoric to go along with their public relations activities.

One more thing I failed to mention, and which will also be the primary focus of this blog is truth is supposed to have a powerful impact on the rhetoric of public relations. While Aristotle says that logos plays an important role in rhetoric, we know this hasn’t always been the case. Just from my examples alone, you can pick apart the messages each of those groups put out and pick out the lies and half truths. What each of the leaders of these groups/movements did is take advantage of peoples emotions with a fiery rhetoric, symbols and control of information. According to Joachim Krueger PhD, “…emotions give useful guidance whenever the environment fails to provide all the information needed forand  thoughtful analysis.”(Krueger 2010 para 9) Given each of these situations were in desperate times, this makes perfect sense and the leaders, catering to people’s emotions, made the best logical decision by appealing to people’s emotions, even if they omitted the truth.

So how does the concept of truth and emotions in rhetoric actually fit into public relations? According to the public relations process, getting factual research is an essential part of a successful public relations campaign and yet, plenty of successful organizations have done without it. Or did they?  Like my title suggests, if the research suggests that it might be wise to withhold information or appeal to your target audience’s emotions, then you might be doing the right thing for your organization. On the other hand, there is the chance you could be labeled as propoganda. In an article written by Susan Kinnear, she references Patricia Parsons book Ethics in Public Relations and mentions how one can avoid looking like propoganda. Avoid false, fabricated, misrepresented, distorted or irrelevant evidence to support your point of view, avoid intentionally specious, unsupported or illogical reasoning, avoid trying to divert the public’s attention by using such approaches as smear campaigns, or evoking intense emotions, avoid asking your public to link your idea to emotion-laden values, motives or goals to which it is not really related, don’t conceal your real purpose (or the real supporters of your cause) and don’t oversimplify complex situations into simplistic, two-valued or polar views or choices( Kinnear 2017 para 18). This is kind of funny because many of these things we see that is suggested you don’t do to look like propoganda has been utilized successfully throughout history and even in recent years.Public relations practicioners, as well as anyone who deals with the public on a grand scale, should be aware of this at all times.

A perfect example of this in play in today’s world is the ride of Donald Trump. Say what you want about him, but he has undoubtedly mastered the art of rhetoric and has embraced what he has put forth from day 1 and rode it all the way to the White House. Even in the White House, you can see how he and his media team, even when faced with the truth, will still go with the rhetoric they want to put out to the point it can be frustrating to watch for some people. One could argue all politicians with an agenda do this, but the current administration seems to have brought the art of rhetoric to the next level. One could only imagine what it’s like to work on that public relations team.

Speaking of politicians, it is argued by some that todays politicians have lost the art of rhetoric in recent years, despite access to the latest and greatest technology and talent. According to an article by BBC, it is suggested that many British politicians have been reduced to just reading from the teleprompter and not actually saying anything. It mentions a specific event where a speaker repeated the phrase “long-term economic plan” 5 times( Beard 2015). While this might have to do more with charisma than rhetoric of public relations, it is a public relations workers job to make sure their clients are ready for any situaion, so this is also something where some emotion can be coached as compared to logic.

Let’s make something perfectly clear here; I am not suggesting that one abandons logic in favor of emotion. What I am saying is that sometimes a logical use emotion is the wise choice to use in your public relations campaign, as opposed to one that is based purely on facts. In perfect world, every public relations campaign would be based purely on facts and everyone would react how you want them to; this isn’t perfect world and some things work and others don’t, which sometimes makes the use of emotion over logic the right choice, if used logically.

_______________________________________________

Works Cited

Beard, M. (2015, February 06). Have modern politicians lost the art of rhetoric? Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-31128840

Ethos, Pathos & Logos – Modes of Persuasion (Aristotle). (2007). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.european-rhetoric.com/ethos-pathos-logos-modes-persuasion-aristotle/

Kinnear, S. (2017). What is the role of rhetoric in public relations practice and how does it relate to the management of an organisation’s reputation? Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.academia.edu/447683/What_is_the_role_of_rhetoric_in_public_relations_practice_and_how_does_it_relate_to_the_management_of_an_organisation_s_reputation

Krueger , J. I. (2010, June 18). Reason and emotion: A note on Plato, Darwin, and Damasio. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-among-many/201006/reason-and-emotion-note-plato-darwin-and-damasio

 

 

The Power of Rhetoric in Public Relations

Thousands of years ago, the great ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle formally established the theory of rhetoric, which establishes the art of persuasion in the public based upon the principles of ethos (the speakers credibility), pathos (the emotional impact on the audience) and logos (the logical impact on the audience) (European Rhetoric, 2007). This communications theory has been used throughout history to help spread information, establish agenda, win hearts and minds and persuade the masses to mobilize to do incredible and disastrous things. Also during this time, public relations has also been utilized hand and hand with a powerful, successful and charismatic rhetoric. How else did Rome control most of Europe and North Africa without modern technology? How else did Adolf Hitler convince the German people to embrace Nazism? How else did Ho Chi Minh rally the North Vietnamese to resist a superior armed force? How else is Isis still recruiting people despite the vast amounts of information against them? Certainly many contributing factors did, but none of these people/groups could have been successful without a powerful rhetoric to go along with their public relations activities.

One more thing I failed to mention, and which will also be the primary focus of this blog is truth is supposed to have a powerful impact on the rhetoric of public relations. While Aristotle says that logos plays an important role in rhetoric, we know this hasn’t always been the case. Just from my examples alone, you can pick apart the messages each of those groups put out and pick out the lies and half truths. What each of the leaders of these groups/movements did is take advantage of peoples emotions with a fiery rhetoric, symbols and control of information. According to Joachim Krueger PhD, “…emotions give useful guidance whenever the environment fails to provide all the information needed forand  thoughtful analysis.”(Krueger 2010 para 9) Given each of these situations were in desperate times, this makes perfect sense and the leaders, catering to people’s emotions, made the best logical decision by appealing to people’s emotions, even if they omitted the truth.

So how does the concept of truth and emotions in rhetoric actually fit into public relations? According to the public relations process, getting factual research is an essential part of a successful public relations campaign and yet, plenty of successful organizations have done without it. Or did they?  Like my title suggests, if the research suggests that it might be wise to withhold information or appeal to your target audience’s emotions, then you might be doing the right thing for your organization. On the other hand, there is the chance you could be labeled as propoganda. In an article written by Susan Kinnear, she references Patricia Parsons book Ethics in Public Relations and mentions how one can avoid looking like propoganda. Avoid false, fabricated, misrepresented, distorted or irrelevant evidence to support your point of view, avoid intentionally specious, unsupported or illogical reasoning, avoid trying to divert the public’s attention by using such approaches as smear campaigns, or evoking intense emotions, avoid asking your public to link your idea to emotion-laden values, motives or goals to which it is not really related, don’t conceal your real purpose (or the real supporters of your cause) and don’t oversimplify complex situations into simplistic, two-valued or polar views or choices( Kinnear 2017 para 18). This is kind of funny because many of these things we see that is suggested you don’t do to look like propoganda has been utilized successfully throughout history and even in recent years.Public relations practicioners, as well as anyone who deals with the public on a grand scale, should be aware of this at all times.

A perfect example of this in play in today’s world is the ride of Donald Trump. Say what you want about him, but he has undoubtedly mastered the art of rhetoric and has embraced what he has put forth from day 1 and rode it all the way to the White House. Even in the White House, you can see how he and his media team, even when faced with the truth, will still go with the rhetoric they want to put out to the point it can be frustrating to watch for some people. One could argue all politicians with an agenda do this, but the current administration seems to have brought the art of rhetoric to the next level. One could only imagine what it’s like to work on that public relations team.

Speaking of politicians, it is argued by some that todays politicians have lost the art of rhetoric in recent years, despite access to the latest and greatest technology and talent. According to an article by BBC, it is suggested that many British politicians have been reduced to just reading from the teleprompter and not actually saying anything. It mentions a specific event where a speaker repeated the phrase “long-term economic plan” 5 times( Beard 2015). While this might have to do more with charisma than rhetoric of public relations, it is a public relations workers job to make sure their clients are ready for any situaion, so this is also something where some emotion can be coached as compared to logic.

Let’s make something perfectly clear here; I am not suggesting that one abandons logic in favor of emotion. What I am saying is that sometimes a logical use emotion is the wise choice to use in your public relations campaign, as opposed to one that is based purely on facts. In perfect world, every public relations campaign would be based purely on facts and everyone would react how you want them to; this isn’t perfect world and some things work and others don’t, which sometimes makes the use of emotion over logic the right choice, if used logically.

_______________________________________________

Works Cited

Beard, M. (2015, February 06). Have modern politicians lost the art of rhetoric? Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-31128840

Ethos, Pathos & Logos – Modes of Persuasion (Aristotle). (2007). Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.european-rhetoric.com/ethos-pathos-logos-modes-persuasion-aristotle/

Kinnear, S. (2017). What is the role of rhetoric in public relations practice and how does it relate to the management of an organisation’s reputation? Retrieved March 21, 2017, from http://www.academia.edu/447683/What_is_the_role_of_rhetoric_in_public_relations_practice_and_how_does_it_relate_to_the_management_of_an_organisation_s_reputation

Krueger , J. I. (2010, June 18). Reason and emotion: A note on Plato, Darwin, and Damasio. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-among-many/201006/reason-and-emotion-note-plato-darwin-and-damasio

 

 

Syrians and Skittles: How Do You Handle a Crisis You Didn’t Cause?

Regardless of your political views, most people can agree the last presidential election felt especially long and stressful due to the circumstances surrounding it, from all the controversies, bickering, personal attacks and non-stop coverage on all forms of media. One aspect of this non-stop media onslaught of the election was various news outlets constant monitoring and reports on President Donald Trumps and families twitter accounts. Never before had this been a “thing”, but Donald Trump is known for posting often and for commenting on the issues, whether or not his commentary is accurate. Either way, it generated views and traffic. One of the biggest debate points during this time period (and today) was how we should deal with the Syrian Refugee Crisis. While many had their own opinions, the general consensus was that Trumps campaign wanted to discontinue President Obama’s refugee program and Clinton’s campaign wanted to continue it and perhaps look to expand it; this was but one of the many points both campaigns had complete opposite opinions on. In mid-September, Skittles began trending after the image below was posted by Donald Trump Jr in regards to the Syrian Refugee crisis.

donaldtrumpjr.(2016, September 19). This image says it all.retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37416457
Original photograph by David Kittos.Kittos, David(Flickr). Skittles. 15 January 2010, retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/26085433@N05/4276832395

 After Trump Jr shared the image on Twitter, this  analogy became a rally cry/ arguing point against  bringing in more Syrian refugees. The tweet was also met with criticism as well, drawing in thousands of Tweets and Facebook posts berating this analogy for simplifying the issue to comparing humans to candy. Besides the overall ignorance and fighting over the issue, the Wrigley Company, who is owned by Mars, suddenly had a crisis on their hands that, quite frankly, they had no hand in starting; they were being associated with the Syrian refugee crisis, arguably the biggest humanitarian crisis of this century so far and poison, something a candy brand isn’t normally associated with. How in the world did this happen? How did they handle it? Well, we are going to take a look into this crisis and discover how the Wrigley Company handled this crisis with poise and came out with relatively little damage(McMillan 2016).

Crisis management is an important aspect of public relations that deals with, as the name suggest, managing crisis as it arises. According to the 2013 edition  Think: Public Relations( Wilcox 2013), the four steps of the conflict management life cycle are proactive, strategic, reactive and recovery phases(Wilcox 2013). The proactive phase is associated with preventing crises from occurring, the strategic phases is associated with dealing with an emerging crisis, the reactive phase is associated with dealing with an issue on an external level  as the issue reaches a critical level and the recovery phase is associated with repairing and recovering from a crisis(Wilcox 2003).

When we analyze this crisis, to me it is clear that the Wrigley Company began in the reactive phase. though to no fault of their own. Someone decided to use their product in an analogy where their product was being compared to refugees and poison and they had to deal with the consequences. Wrigley’s response was swift, clear and to the point. Within hours of the original post by Donald Trump Jr, Denise Young, Vice President of Corporate Affairs sent out the message below to concerned users. This message also made it to Wrigley’s official Twitter page, which is what is shown below.

Image result for skittles twitter response
 

marsglobal.(2016 September 20). Skittles are candy;.refugees are people.retrieved from http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/donald-trump-jr-s-poisonous-skittles-tweet-about-syrian-refugee-crisis-draws-reactions-on-twitter-1.12341785

 

 

This response was met with praise. In the article 3 Crisis Lessons from Skittles’ Refugee Tweet Response the author, Beki Winchel pointed out three lessons learned from how Wrigley handled this crisis. First, the author points  out it is important to act fast in our world of social media, but it is also just as important to think before you say/ type something(Winchel 2016 ). The next point the author brings up is that while being witty can help in some situations, sometimes just being serious and addressing the situation is the perfect response(Winchel 2016). The final point the author makes is that sometimes it is really easy to get caught up in marketing ploys and sometimes it is best to be aware of this and avoid it; the Wrigley company made the choice to take itself completely out of the situation in this instance much to its benefit(Winchel 2016).

Another part of the controversy was that the bowl of Skittles image in the original picture was taken by David Kittos, who himself was a refugee from when the Turkish government occupied Cyprus in 1974, in which Kittos was 6 at the time(Shalby 2016).  He never gave permission to use the image, nor was he given credit for the photograph, which is kind of ironic, considering the overall message Donald Trump Jr was trying to put out(Ponte 2016).

In the article Fall and redemption: Monitoring and engaging in social media conversations during a crisis by Ana Isabel Conhoto, she explores how social media is actually used during a crisis. In her research paper, she states that, “It is well established in  the crisis management literature that once a crisis occurs, rapid and effective communication is crucial to reduce uncertainty and insecurity of consumers(Conhoto 2016 paragraph 8).” When we compare this statement to what the Wrigley Company did during their crisis, it seems they followed this model. Later on her paper, she makes a proposition that pr teams must,”Respond quickly through the channels that social media users are aware of (Conhoto 2016 Para 22).” When applying this to the Wrigley company crisis, they used Twitter to spread their message. While it isn’t the biggest social media platform per se, it is large enough for their message to spread and it also matched the medium where the original public relations crisis began, so I feel it was fitting. The last point I will bring up from her paper is when she states that(in reference to when she is discussing her the results of her studies),” First, companies’ reputations are subject to the content of online conversations about their products and services.(Conhoto 2016 paragraph 64).” The Wrigley company could have chosen to ignore Donald Trump Jr’s tweet. But, as Conhoto pointed out, the Wrigley company knows reputation is everything, so they chose to address the issue before it got out of hand.

Despite your political views, this election was hard for us all. Out of it came controversy, inflammatory statements and plenty of public relations blunders, among them, the one caused by Donald Trump Jr in regards to comparing refugees to poisoned Skittles. We explored how the Wrigley company handled this situation diligently and professionally and even explored some of the mechanisms behind what they may have been thinking. Despite your own personal political views, please know that the Syrian Refugee crisis is far more complicated than a bowl of potentially poisoned Skittles.

 


References

Canhoto, A. I. (2015, September 14). Fall and redemption: Monitoring and engaging in social media conversations during a crisis. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23311975.2015.1084978

Donald Trump Jr compares Syrian refugees to Skittles. (2016, September 20). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37416457

Kittos, D. (2010, January 15). Skittles. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/26085433@N05/4276832395

McLysaght, E. (2016, September 20). Skittles gave the best response to the Trump campaign’s ‘poisonous’ refugee comparison. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.dailyedge.ie/skittles-donald-trump-junior-2988087-Sep2016

McMillan, G. (2016, September 23). While You Were Offline: Skittles PR Faces Its Biggest Crisis Ever. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.wired.com/2016/09/internet-week-89/

Newsday. (2016, September 20). Twitter reacts to Trump Jr.’s poisonous Skittles tweet. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/donald-trump-jr-s-poisonous-skittles-tweet-about-syrian-refugee-crisis-draws-reactions-on-twitter-1.12341785

Ponte, L. D. (2016, December 14). Representing Your Brand in a Crisis: A Lesson from Skittles. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.lizdaponte.ca/representing-your-brand-crisis-lesson-skittles/

Shalby, C. (2016, September 20). The photographer behind that ‘bowl of Skittles’ photo says he’s a refugee. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/trailguide/la-na-trailguide-updates-the-photographer-behind-that-bowl-of-1474394785-htmlstory.html

Wilcox. (2013) Think Public Relations.Upper Saddle River,New Jersey:Pearson.

Winchel, B. (2016, September 23). 3 crisis lessons from Skittles’ refugee tweet response. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.prdaily.com/crisiscommunications/Articles/3_crisis_lessons_from_Skittles_refugee_tweet_respo_21440.aspx

 

 

 

Just Give Me the Facts, Alright?

Hello friends and welcome to my second installment of exploring the various aspects of public relations. In this installment, we are going to explore why solid, accurate research is crucial to any public relations campaign. Just going off of the idea of a house, you always need a solid foundation to build upon; without it, no matter what materials you use for the rest of the house, no matter how expensive, will come crumbling down. Think of good research in the same manner. If your research is well thought out, the rest of your campaign will have a significant advantage to build off of and better chance to be successful. If your research is poor, no matter how flashy or well thought out your public relations campaign is, it has the potential to fail due to misinformation and false facts.

In the article, Making History: Reflections on Memory and Elite Interviews in Public Relations Research  by Kate Fitch of Murdoch University in Australia, Kate points out that while research is important, understanding that research in its correct context is just as important,a s well as ensuring those sources are credible and that one must be careful when selecting sources.. As she puts it, “Interviews and personal accounts can offer rich insights, but only if a critical stance and authorial reflexivity are adopted.”(Fitch 2015) So let’s suppose I decided in my research to interview someone about their past with my client. Keeping Kate’s advice in mind, I need to be wary of my interviewees biases, perceptions and point of view in relation to the situation I am interviewing about; if they had a negative experience with what I am interviewing about, of course it will not be favorable, but that also doesn’t mean everyone thinks the same way as the person I am interviewing. It is very possible that someone else has the exact opposite opinion of the situation and even then, while we might prefer that narrative, it may not be 100% factual.

Another article I read, titled Researcher and Researched-Community Perspectives: Toward Bridging the Gap by Marianne Sullivan MPH; Ahoua Kone MPH; Kirsten D. Senturia PhD;
Noel J. Chrisman PhD,MPH;Sandra J. Ciske MN and James W. Krieger, MD, MPH looks into how knowing the racial and cultural context of a group can help avoid a public relations disaster. In the article, they specifically study the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and how the African Americans in the study were mistreated, which garnered an apology from President Clinton and increased efforts from the Department of Health and Human Services to increase community engagement and to help change how healthcare workers engage the population. Some of the ways they identified include changing negative perspectives, building trust and showing respect for community expertise, amongst others avenues of approach. This ties in perfectly with the fact that solid research only strengthens your endeavors.

Standards are a point in which something or someone is measured against. When standards are set, they help keep a set of expectations amongst those who keep them and those who fail to meet them are either corrected or terminated. In article by David Geddes titled What are Standards for Public Relations Research, and Why Do We Need Them?, he helps identify the importance of having standards, stating that having these standards not only increases competition and credibility, but also boosts innovation. Identifying and maintaining standards can be a key component to any public relations research program.

I hope you enjoyed this look into another aspect of public relations. To summarize, we looked at the importance of accurate, in context, culturally sensitive, respectful and standardized research. By keeping this in mind, one can expect to have a better chance at having a successful public relations campaign.

 

 

Sources Cited

Geddes, D. (2014, June 16). What are Standards for Public Relations Research, and Why Do We Need Them? Retrieved from http://www.instituteforpr.org/what-are-standards-for-public-relations-research-and-why-do-we-need-them/

Fitch, K. (2015, July 20). Making history: Reflections on memory and elite interviews in public relations research .
Sage Journal 10.1177/2046147X15580684

Sullivan, M., Kone, A., Senturia, K. D., Christman, N. J., Ciske, S. K., & Krieger, J. M. (2016, June 30). Researcher and Researched-Community Perspectives: Toward Bridging the Gap.
Sage Journal 10.1177/109019810102800202

 

Let’s Define Public Relations!

Hello people of the internet and welcome to our first installment of exploring concepts and terms in relation to the broad field of Public Relations. Seeing how you are here, I am sure that you have a basic understanding of what public relations actually are. I actually have an extensive background in the medical field and have never really actively thought about public relations as a concept, though I believe I do indeed get the general idea.When asked early in January from my instructor, I responded,”I define public relations as the idea of understanding the relationship you or the entity you are working withes relationship with other entities or the general public. Once you have that knowledge, you can then work on building or maintaining those relationships through various means and techniques, though it would primarily be through advertising and interpersonal communications.” Now, this definition comes from me having general knowledge of what PR actually is from a previous class I took at Grand Valley State University, but to be honest, while I think I am generally right, there are better definitions out there and we will explore them together.

I began my search by simply searching for,”what is PR?” I got a bunch of pages which really didn’t tell me wanted I to know. Not yet discouraged, I refined my search to,” definition of PR?” I got some more results, but yet again, nothing I really wanted to use. Several other searches later, including a trip to NFL.com and dorkly.com, I finally put in a term and found a definition that satisfied what I was looking for. Seeing how English came from England,( well, technically northern Germany and influenced by French, but we won’t get into that) I wanted to get a British perspective on this matter, which I found on the UK’s CIPR (chartered institute of public relations) website and found their definition to be satisfying. “Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”(CIPR,2016) While my actual definition doesn’t exactly match theirs, the concepts match almost exactly, so I think I am on the right track.

But I wasn’t satisfied just yet. While CIPR is official and a legitimate site, I wanted more of an academic backbone to help further my understanding and perhaps refine my understanding of the definition, maybe even getting a different perspective on the matter.Several searches and distractions from external stimuli later, I finally decided to look at this from a communications standpoint, seeing how I am a communications major. I found an article by Terrence Flynn PhD of McMaster University who wrote an article for the Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations Vol. 3, No. 1 (August, 2016) edition and found it to be quite informative and worth the read.It went into the importance of effective communication is and how understanding how communication actually works will only increase in importance in the future. The one thing that struck me the most in this article and I always try to keep in mind is, as stated by Flynn,”Furthermore,  how audiences respond to specific messages is often dependent on the individual that is delivering the message and the receptivity of the audience to that messenger”(Flynn, 2016 ) I am glad to see at least some people are focusing on this specific facet of communication. But how does this affect PR? Well, maybe your message won’t always mean the same thing to every audience. Suppose you start a campaign about a new shoe you are selling? Well, who are your models? Where are your shoes coming from? What is the material made of? These and many more questions can and will pop up, so as communicators, we need to be aware of these details that may seem small to us, but could be huge to others.

I decided to look for something a bit different this time for a new perspective on public relations, so I decided to look at an example of excellent public relations in the world of video games and health. Don’t worry, this will make sense in a minute. While I personally know if this event, I will also cite an article to help prove my point. Back in 2005, the Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game(MMORPG) World of Warcraft experience and in-game pandemic. Due to an in-game bug, an ability that is only supposed to affect players in a certain area glitched and managed to escape to the general population, creating a pandemic. What ensued was chaos for a few days. Weaker players who couldn’t fight off the “disease” died off and were not able to resurrect, some tried to keep others alive, some hid in the wilds, others went into isolation and others decided to try and spread their “disease” to as many people as possible. After a few days, Blizzard hard reset the servers, apologized and the incident was actually used as inspiration for future content. But that is not the end of the story. A few years later, researchers requested to use data collected by Blizzard with the intent of studying how people might react during a health crisis.Yes, a video game was used by professional epidemiologists to showcase and study potential real world scenarios. The very fact Blizzard did this was an amazing PR move for the company, showing how flexible and creative they are. In the article I am citing, the author, Callie Stewart explains this event in great detail and even mentions some of the researchers who actually studied this event, like Ran Balicer, Eric Lofgren, and Nina Fefferman. So how does this apply to the definition of public relations? Well, one must be flexible in times of hardship, just like Blizzard demonstrated during the Corrupted Blood Event.

So at the end of this humble blog, we have gone over an official definition of public relations, a perspective of it from a communications standpoint and even looked at an actual public relations event that we used to help add to the definition. From reading everything, I can conclude that the public relations definition is alive, meaning that one set definition will not suite it for very long. Sure, the core concepts of maintaining good communication and relationships will remain, but the specifics and nuances are forever evolving.

Until next time internet, stay beautiful.

 

Citations

CIPR. (2016). Retrieved January 18, 2017, from https://www.cipr.co.uk/content/careers-advice/what-pr

This website and its content (except where explicitly marked and credited to a third party) is the copyright of the CIPR – © The Chartered Institute of Public Relations 2016. All rights reserved.

FLynn, T. (2016, August 17). You Had Me at Hello: How Personal, Developmental and Social Characteristics Influence Communicator Persuasiveness and Effectiveness. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.instituteforpr.org/hello-personal-developmental-social-characteristics-influence-communicator-persuasiveness-effectiveness/

Stewart, C. (2015, November 16). How Scientists Are Using World Of Warcraft To Save Lives. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://all-that-is-interesting.com/corrupted-blood