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Unformatted text preview: Public Relations Strategy PR in Practice Series Published in association with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Series Editor: Anne Gregory Kogan Page has joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations to publish this unique series, which is designed specifically to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of people seeking to enter the public relations profession and the large band of existing PR professionals. Taking a practical, action-oriented approach, the books in the series concentrate on the day-to-day issues of public relations practice and management rather than academic history. They provide ideal primers for all those on CIPR, CAM and CIM courses or those taking NVQs in PR. For PR practitioners, they provide useful refreshers and ensure that their knowledge and skills are kept up to date. Other titles in the series: Creativity in Public Relations by Andy Green Effective Internal Communication by Lyn Smith and Pamela Mounter Effective Media Relations by Michael Bland, Alison Theaker and David Wragg Effective Writing Skills for Public Relations by John Foster Ethics in Public Relations by Patricia J Parsons Managing Activism by Denise Deegan Online Public Relations by David Phillips and Philip Young Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns by Anne Gregory Public Affairs in Practice by Stuart Thompson and Steve John Public Relations: A practical guide to the basics by Philip Henslowe Public Relations in Practice edited by Anne Gregory Public Relations Strategy by Sandra Oliver Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations by Michael Regester and Judy Larkin Running a Public Relations Department by Mike Beard The above titles are available from all good bookshops. To obtain further information, please go to the CIPR website ( ) or contact the publishers at the address below: Kogan Page Ltd 120 Pentonville Road London N1 9JN Tel: 020 7278 0433 Fax: 020 7837 6348 P R I N P R A C T I C E S E R I E S Public Relations Strategy Third Edition Sandra Oliver London and Philadelphia Publisher’s note Every possible effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate at the time of going to press, and the publishers and author cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, however caused. No responsibility for loss or damage occasioned to any person acting, or refraining from action, as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by the author, the editor, the publisher or any of the cited contributors. First published in Great Britain and the United States in 2001 by Kogan Page Limited Second edition, 2007 Third edition, 2010 Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permi�ed under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmi�ed, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms and licences issued by the CLA. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside these terms should be sent to the publishers at the undermentioned addresses: 120 Pentonville Road London N1 9JN United Kingdom 525 South 4th Street, #241 Philadelphia PA 19147 USA © Sandra Oliver, 2001, 2007, 2010 The right of Sandra Oliver to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. ISBN 978 0 7494 5640 5 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Oliver, Sandra. Public relations strategy / Sandra Oliver.—3rd ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7494-5640-5 1. Public relations—Management. I. Title. HD59.O45 2010 659.2–dc22 2009020214 Typeset by JS Typese�ing Ltd, Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan Printed and bound in India by Replika Press Pvt Ltd CONTENTS List of Figures and Tables Foreword Preface Acknowledgements 1. Not ‘Just’ Public Relations: PR strategy in a management context What is strategy? 2; Power and influence 4; Diktat vs dialogue 5; Public relations and organizational culture 6; Corporate communication academic models 6; Semantics 11; Operational strategy 15; The feedback cycle 20; Control vs co-dependency 21 2. PR’s Place on the Board: A core governance role Costing communication 28; From function to strategy 31; Cognitive dissonance: coping with conflict 34; Ordinary PR management 35; Extraordinary PR management 35; Implications of ordinary and extraordinary management 37; The CEO as cultural icon 37; Performance assessment 39; Communicating risk 40; Reputation vs the operating and financial review 43; Strategic alliances 45; Crisis and resilience management 47; What the books say 50; Managerial perception 56; Corporate governance 58; Continuity planning 62 vii ix xi xv 1 27 v Contents 3. Reputation Management: A celebrity-driven society Corporate image 72; Image and branding 73; Corporate identity 74; Visual identity 75; Logos and livery: semiotics 76; Substance vs style 77; Reputation indices 78 4. Internal Communication and PR: Employees as ambassadors 87 Mayhem vs morale 87; Privacy and confidentiality 88; Communication as a core competency 88; Communicating change 89; Change development plans 90; Fairness vs flexibility 91; Communication as team effort 93 5. Beyond ‘Customer is King’: Sales and marketing promotion Conceptual authenticity 100; Knowledge and skill 101; Value-added 103; Competitive advantage 104; Customer relations 107; Business-to-business relations 108; Web analysis and evaluation 108; Efficiency vs effectiveness 110; Tools and techniques 111; Marketing vs manufacturing 113 6. Media Relations: A borderless world view 119 Mass communication 119; Rhetoric vs reality 121; A note on copyright 122; Message modelling 122; Think global, act local 124; Media transparency 125; Face-to-face or Facebook? 125 7. Research Methods: Measures and motives Art vs science 132; Validity and reliability 133; Balanced scorecard 135; PR industry analysts 136; Grounded theory 137; Narrative methods 138; Deconstruction guidelines 139; Reading behaviour 140; Intertextuality analysis 144; PR as a social science 146 131 8. The Ethical Dimension: A moral imperative PR vs propaganda 154; Ethical evaluation 155 153 CIPR Code of Conduct Online Sources Bibliography Index vi 71 99 167 169 171 181 LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES Figures 1.1 1.2 1.3 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 3.1 3.2 4.1 Factors influencing choice of model The eight-factor PR integration model Communication and the business continuity plan (BCP) Factors in the choice of communication policy Aligning communication leadership to corporate strategy Stakeholder mapping matrix The cultural web PR performance indicators Communicating the annual report An operating and financial review (OFR) matrix Overview of Philips’ strategic alliances Information costs and choices Likely causes of crises before recession A crisis impact model Elements of a business continuity plan Crisis and resilience: communication infrastructure PR operational strategy process Corporate reputation drivers Three-phase communication change strategy 7 9 21 30 31 32 33 39 43 44 46 57 58 62 63 65 78 79 91 vii List of figures and tables 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 6.1 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 8.1 An integrated marketing communication (IMC) mix model Basic sales and market intelligence Target Group Index A two-dimensional view of a web analysis page A three-dimensional view of the same web analysis page Perspectives on media and society Content and method in early evaluation Teleworking Balanced scorecard application Eyetracking the news – the Poynter study of print and online reading A participant in the EyeTrack07 project Historicity and social questions for intertextual analysis Basic narrative themes A framework for analysing strategic communication in the Poverty Reduction Strategy campaign 104 105 106 109 110 121 132 135 136 142 143 145 146 159 Tables 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 3.1 3.2 5.1 5.2 8.1 8.2 viii Dominant theoretical models Key methods of data collection and methodological principles Four traditional public relations models Stakeholders’ responsibilities Communication in leadership Importance of global leadership compared with other needs (based on a survey of US Fortune 500 firms) Operational PR functions in banks Differences between routine emergencies and disasters International terrorism incidents, 1968–79 Nine steps to managing BCP performance A visual identity step model Target audiences and PR messages, ‘Leti’ Tool characteristics Towards integration Rational thinking vs generative thinking Operational strategy, DPWN 8 12 17 18 28 29 48 52 53 63 75 83 112 113 157 164 FOREWORD As public relations practice matures as an academic field of study, practitioners and scholars have come to recognise and articulate its strategic role. Not only is it a strategic discipline within organizations dealing with their relational, reputational and cultural assets, but the communicatively competent organization performs very differently from those that are not. This book is aimed at public relations practitioners who already have some organizational experience. Its intention is to help practitioners consider their practice through a managerial lens. It introduces a range of theories and perspectives that link directly to public relations knowledge and awareness of empirical practice. One of the biggest and persistent criticisms of the public relations profession is that even many senior practitioners do not fully appreciate the management and behavioural context in which they operate. This book helps to remedy that shortcoming. By also providing relevant case studies, the book is a most useful contribution to the growing body of public relations literature. It is particularly useful to both in-house and agency practitioners or consultants who offer strategic public relations advice, services and support. Although presented as an introductory text, it is not a light read. It requires the reader to engage in focused, reflective consideration of key strategic public relations concepts, such as alignment and integration, policy and planning. Ge�ing to grips with these management concepts benefit personal and professional PR development, business innovation and overall communication skill. Professor Anne Gregory, Series Editor ix THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK x PREFACE This book offers a glimpse into the proliferation of strategic management theories and models that have emerged to underpin public relations strategy in the last few years of e-commerce and the internet. Global expansion for industry and commerce has not only brought public relations management into sharp focus again but is clarifying context and status relative to other corporate priorities at any given time. At the practical level, most in-house specialists are aware that they can carry out the tactical requirements demanded of them, such as media relations, trade shows and publicity events, internal and external publication production, including video, audio and film production, the annual report and other activities. Yet many struggle with main board directorates who, singly or collectively, ask questions that assume knowledge and appreciation of business strategy before appropriate responses are given and corporate public relations decisions made. The ongoing intense debate about the nature versus the nurture of strategic public relations gets recycled with every new generation of PR students, particularly in respect of business and government communication versus propaganda, o�en referred to by the media as ‘spin’. This inevitably puts added pressure on the public relations profession and the specialists who operate within it. However, all vocational disciplines have a private and public face to them and public relations, pivotal to corporate strategy, is no exception. Like management itself, the practice of strategic public relations is an art rather than a science. One thing is certain: e-commerce and the world wide web have changed not only the nature of a century’s xi Preface accumulated public relations theory and empirically based practice, but also the nurturing necessary for the next generation of managing practitioners, whether in-house (internal) or outsourced (external). The global public relations industry is at a juncture of change and development where there is much confusion about the behavioural boundaries associated with its activities. While the academic subject of public relations is generally understood to be a management discipline for study purposes, many university departments around the world choose either not to identify with it as such or relegate it to being a subsidiary component of marketing, film or media studies. Of course, higher education generally is having to adapt to the information age and the complexities that this brings to all such interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subjects, so to some extent the knowledge era offers new opportunities. One issue that used to tax the minds of academics was that of public relations’ comparability to other vocational disciplines such as accountancy or law in terms of its literature base and growing body of knowledge. Now, because universities have clear pathways with prescribed indicators to measure a�ainment in all disciplines, public relations education (knowledge) and training (skill) are assessed at each stage of the professional development process until specified learning outcomes are demonstrably achieved and any Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) accredited award can be given. In the acquisition of public relations management competencies, it is understood that today’s students have proven conceptual understanding and tactical ability at both strategic and operational levels. Any textbook claiming to represent a brief overview of public relations at advanced strategic level ought, by definition, to be able to assume that fundamental management concepts and mechanisms are understood and need not be reiterated. Suffice to say, that throughout the text the term ‘public relations’ is used as a noun and ‘communication’ its verb. Students of public relations, for example, will have proceeded from the CIPR Foundation Diploma level before a�empting the qualifying CIPR Diploma, some of which concentrates on public relations strategy. New publications such as PR Business are emerging to meet a need, but o�en the best public relations students from both profit and not-for-profit organizations are those with a management background or those prepared to struggle with the prolificacy of management texts and viewpoints. For example, a corporate communications manager may act as deputy to the public relations director for all areas in a typical public relations department. While a�empting to harmonize all communication through one department may sound sensible, but difficult to realize in practice, coordination has to be centralized somewhere, somehow. Role theory and other HR models such as group theory, provide the organization with straightforward human structures and processes for communication coordination to be properly integrated as PR management. A public relations department is and must xii Preface remain strategic by definition, whether it provides one-off PR campaigns or a matrix of communication plans, outsources activities through PR agencies or employs advertising agencies, or uses management consultancies. How far techniques can be included in any book on strategic public relations management raises some interesting questions about critical analysis, not least the negative perceptions of public relations as mere opportunism or publicity stunts. This book includes cases to assess tactics through discussion of real-world campaign summaries provided at the end of each chapter. The campaigns were all submi�ed to IPRA’s Annual Golden World Award competition, and the outlines provided by those organizations offer an opportunity for deeper reflection to readers, students and practitioners alike. Typical issues for deeper consideration or discussion might include: key links between the chapter (theory) and the campaign (practice); any changes necessary to the campaigns to ensure ‘best practice’; what omissions appear to be revealed by the brief campaign narratives provided; what future research the campaigns indicate a need for, in 21st century public relations; within the bounds of the information provided, whether evaluation criteria appear to measure up empirically for quality assurance purposes; the way short-term event campaign results can potentially stabilize/ destabilize longer-term strategic planning cycles via their impact on other priorities or stakeholder group interests; how any immediate beneficial outcomes should be managed for reputation and its ongoing sustainability. Thus the book begins by introducing readers to my empirical framework illustrating how the profession is organized through the functional, operational activities that make up each of eight specialist strategic areas. To the first or second jobber, this provides a focus for career guidance and continuous professional development (CPD). Some areas, such as events management, increasingly operate autonomously, albeit not always to CIPR regulatory standards, such is the proliferating demand for such services. This is a challenge for the public relations profession, which may increasingly find itself required to expand its education and enforcement role to retain public confidence and respect. As a consequence, this third edition replaces the Glossary with the CIPR Code of Conduct, which reiterates the best practice need for sound judgement at all times in the process of challenging everything we hear, see, say and do through the art of excellent communication that is the bedrock of sound, ethical PR practice. xiii THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK xiv ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am grateful for permission to reproduce copyright material and all contributions are credited at source within the text. However, while every effort has been made to trace the owners of all copyright material, we offer apologies to any copyright holder whose rights may have unwi�ingly been infringed and welcome information that would enable us to contact them. Special mention and grateful thanks must go to the companies featured in the updating of their material since the first edition in 2001; to the CIPR series editors for helpful comments; to Kogan Page for its support and translations of all editions; to member colleagues on the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Golden World Award judging panel for their permission to include campaign entries; to postgraduate students from around the world studying on the Thames Valley University (TVU, London) CIPR-endorsed MSc Corporate Communication course, especially for the ever stimulating seminar debates; to that programme’s Practitioner Panel whose professional input is always invaluable; to TVU tutors working together to encourage deep thinking and continuous professional development. To my PR doctoral students whose work will help to sustain a be�er understood PR future; to the worldwide family of pure and applied researchers who a�end the annual UK/US Corporate Communication Conference sponsored jointly by Corporate Communication: An International Journal and Corporate Communication International; to all the authors and analysts who have contributed and continue to contribute to the success of that leading academic research journal and the growing body of knowledge it represents. xv Acknowledgements Special thanks go Clare Cochrane, Wim Elving, Colin Farrington, Christina Genest, Michael Goodman, James Holt, Krystyna Kobiak, San...
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