Category Archives: Corporate Public Relations- COMM 4363

Reputation and Public Relations Article Review

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            The Importance of Reputation and the Role of Public Relations is a peer-reviewed journal article discussing corporate reputation, its significance, reputation management methodology, and the role that public relations has in preserving a reputation. It was written by Dirk Gibson, Jerra Gonzales, and Jaclynn Castanon. The following is a review of the insights I gathered from their work.

Firstly, the discernments into the definition of corporate reputation were helpful because of how the author divided up the many facets and related opinions of the subject. Reputation can be difficult to define because it is intangible, no matter whether it is considered an asset or a liability.

I was surprised by how many definitions existed about what corporate reputation consists of. To name a few, some define that reputation is solely derived from the company’s stakeholders’ perceptions, while others declare it is the collective images perceived only by significant stakeholders. Another definition maintains that reputation is derived from an organization’s intangible assets such as its employee dedication, degree of consumer confidence, brand loyalty, management trustworthiness, and organizations public image. Overall, however, the article concluded that corporate reputation “signifies public evaluation of organizational activity… (and it) …includes elements of trust, credibility, responsibility, and accountability.”

The next section of the article discussed how the significance of a corporation’s reputation was once inconsequential, but in today’s world, it is of important consequence. Having a positive reputation can be an organization’s most important asset while negative reputations can lead to serious business complications and costs. Although the information from this section was beneficial, I wish to have read more about some examples of companies with good reputations compared to companies with bad ones. Comparing the good and the bad is always an insightful way to convey a point and learn more about helpful practices in reputation management.

To see some examples of companies with good reputations and ones with bad reputations, go to these websites I found on my own:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/10/best-reputation-companies_n_2831138.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/03/the-11-most-hated-american-companies_n_856471.html

The last aspect of the article evaluated how public relations and corporate reputation correlate and work together. The main acumen discussed is how the public relations professional has the opportunity to uniquely assist creating or rehabbing their company’s reputation. With this opportunity, however, ethical responsibilities can become an issue. According to the article, in order for effective reputation management to occur these three points need to be considered:

  1. Do not prevaricate. When conveying a message, honesty necessarily always receives emphasis. Even slight variations of the truth are considered false information, which ultimately destroys positive reputations.
  2. Practice loyalty, integrity and strong values. Without these components, truth and honesty will not characterize a reputation.
  3. Check sources. Emphasizing the importance of accuracy is vital to portraying reputation. False or otherwise incomplete information disseminated on behalf of an organization, even unintentionally, suggests dishonesty.

Overall, this article provided me with information that I was only acutely aware of and gave examples that helped me expand my knowledge of the subject. As a PR professional, reputation management will be an important subject for me to understand and implement.

To learn more about reputation management check out  more articles at prnewsdaily.com as well as other public relations forums and blogs.

Gibson, D., Gonzales, J., & Castanon, J. (2006). The Importance of Reputation and the Role of Public Relations. Public Relations Quarterly, 51(3), 15-18.

 

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PR Professional Interview

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I had the honor of interviewing a fellow classmate who works in Public Relations. Her name is Katie Reilly and following Q&A below are the interview questions I asked her and her responses.

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Katie Reilly at Graduation

1. Me: How did you know you wanted to pursue PR? When did you decide that that is what you’re going to pursue in college?

Reilly:  Honestly, I didn’t really decide I wanted to pursue PR. I wasn’t really aiming to do so. I’m more of a journalist/writer, so the reason I’m pursuing a Journalism/PR degree is more for the journalism than the PR. However, last semester when I actually started on campus (previously I had been taking online classes) I applied for a job in the Advancement Office, working under Dana Davis. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into, I knew I’d be writing for Southeastern’s alumni magazine and I figured that it would be great experience. At first it was mainly just writing articles and such, but as I’ve done more office work I’ve been taking on more jobs and tasks that are more PR related. These past few months especially have been pretty much devoted to all sorts of PR work and I must admit that I have enjoyed it quite a bit, despite it not being what I expected. So, even though I’m still really focusing more on Journalism, I have definitely gained more appreciation and interest in PR as I have worked this job. And I wouldn’t mind continuing it even after I graduate.

2. Me: What is the day in the life of a PR professional like?

Reilly: I work for Dana Davis in the advancement office here at Southeastern. Advancement office is basically a fancier way of saying PR department (I’ve come to realize). I do things like help promote events, help organize events, write press releases, edit thank you letters, help make sure that when there are important guests visiting that all their needs are met. There was one point where I was making quite a few phone calls trying to see if local churches would help promote the Forum. Also, there have been times where I have helped with alumni relations, such as visiting an alumni, so that they keep good connection with the university and maybe even support it. That is actually one of the reasons why the alumni magazine was started, to keep alumni in the loop and to help them feel like they’re still part of the SEU community. So, I write articles for that as well as do editing for it. There really is a lot of fostering relationships. And a lot of the jobs (including some little ones that people don’t really think about) are done with that focus in mind.

3. Me: What’s you’re favorite responsibility of what you do now and what is the worst thing about being in the profession?

Reilly: I honestly probably like writing the articles the most. I really am a writer at heart. However, it is kind of fun to help keep the events on track and just run errands so that everything runs smoothly. (that’s writing the articles for the alumni magazine.) I really enjoy what I do and the only downfall I can think of is how time consuming all the writing can be. Otherwise, it’s great!

4. Me: What do you hope do with your PR/Journalism degree when you graduate here?

Reilly: To be honest I’m not entirely sure. I do want to do freelance work because I like the freedom and think I would work well with that. However, I wouldn’t mind continuing work with Southeastern, maybe even become a permanent part of the advancement team, not sure if that would actually happen, but I wouldn’t mind that.

5. Me: How did you get where you are today? Is there anyone/ anything from SEU that has helped you as you move toward your PR degree?

Reilly: Dana Davis, my boss, has actually been a huge help. She has taught me so much, both in regards to PR and writing. She is an excellent editor and really is a go getter. It has been a learning process for both of us since she was relatively new at this as well, but I have learned quite a bit about what all is involved in PR from her. She really has been a great role model for me.

To read some of Katie’s work or get in touch with her, visit her blog at http://applyingpublicrelations.wordpress.com!

Crisis In The Kitchen: Crisis Management Example

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"Kitchen Trouble" by Kenny Louie

“Kitchen Trouble” by Kenny Louie

This past June, things heated up fast in the kitchen of celebrity cook, Paula Deen, as Food Network arranged plans to discontinue her contract after her involvement in a ‘racist’ scandal.

Some of the elements to the crisis included the racial discrimination lawsuit against Deen and her brother from a former employee as well as other acknowledgements of Deen’s participation with derogatory remarks and slang.

As described by Matt Wilson, “specifically, the suit alleges one incident in which Deen supposedly described her dream ‘Southern plantation wedding’ using racial slurs and remarking about how she wanted black waiters to ‘tap dance around” like in the “Shirley Temple days'”.

Deen soon made attempts to resolve the crisis by releasing multiple ‘apology’ YouTube videos. Within one video, Deen states, “Bubba and I, neither one of us, care what the color of your skin is or what gender a person is, it’s what’s in your heart and in your head that matters to us”.

The Food Network reacted with image control management tactics as well and released the following acerbic statement to the press:

“Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month”.

"Paula Deen Butter Jokes" by absoluteabstraction.tumblr.com

“Paula Deen Butter Jokes”
by absoluteabstraction.tumblr.com

The Food Network is known for having made Deen a star in 2002 and 2008 with two hit cooking shows for which she became known for loving to cook with butter.

A few months later, things have ‘cooled off’ and Deen is now rebuilding her image by introducing her new cooking show on EQUAL.

This crisis is an excellent example of the need for a PR plan to rebuild and refocus one’s public image. Both Deen and The Food Network would benefit from utilizing a PR strategy.

Can you think of any other examples that need PR crisis management plans? Please comment down below with your thoughts.

For more information, the full story is available here.

Corporate PR Question #1

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I love the way this blog, Prowl Public Relations, defines the main function of corporate public relations. As a means “…to connect with various publics using means such as press releases, social media, products and events to facilitate the building and managing relationships”. Just as with other PR ventures, corporate PR has the same objective of connecting with people within the company’s audience/ market.

But what is the state of corporate PR in America today?

Most companies continue to utilize PR to reach out to their audiences in order to improve their public image and relationship with the public by promoting or reporting positive events. However, I feel as if PR as it relates to the corporate world has become more of a means to manage mistakes, scandals, and other mishaps that can occur within a company rather than a means to report news or positive affairs.

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The Corporate Image’s Logo

To illustrate, The Corporate Image, a popular corporate PR service which specializes in “strategic corporate communications”, cleverly lists their services on the front page of their website. The list reads:

Crisis Response

Internal Communications

Media Relations

Strategic Communications

Social Media

Crucially, “Crisis Response” is at the top of the list– strategically symbolizing The Corporate Image’s acknowledgement of the demand for corporate crisis management within the corporate PR industry.

It’s almost impossible to not think of instances where companies have had to utilize their PR team to dissolve or distract attention from a scandal or media crisis. (Please feel free to comment below any big ones that you can remember!)

I do believe that crisis management is an important component within the corporate PR world. Businesses are vulnerable for imperfect circumstances to occur since they have to much attention drawn upon them. However, as an upcoming PR professional, I see it as necessary for those within our industry to redefine this ever-growing and ever-changing field. Let us make it more about focusing on the good rather than trying to cover up the bad!

In my corporate PR class last Monday, we discussed this topic further and some students described what they believed. Many agree that corporate PR has transformed into a means to ‘cover-up the bad’. One stated that it has been and continues to be the fastest growing field within its industry and thus the industry with the most potential for change. “We can’t control the news, but with corporate PR… we have more tools to”.

What do you believe is the state of corporate PR in today’s America? Please feel free to share your opinions below.