Archive for June, 2010

TOW #6


For this week one of the topics our book (Public Relations Srategies and Tactics) discussed was public relations during times of crisis.  Many different events can occur such as accidents, terrorist attacks, disease pandemics, and natural disasters which can dwarf even the best strategic positioning and risk management strategies.  The book also gives a great list of what to do during a crisis.  A few good suggestions the book gives are:

  • put the public first
  • Take responsibility
  • Be honest
  • Never say “no comment”

Currently BP is going through a huge crisis with the oil spill in the gulf.  One of their first responses to the situation was by having the CEO of BP make and apology nationwide and explain their progress.  Check out the interview here BP CEO Interview

BP currently is making a lot of efforts to try and settle the horrible issue going on in the gulf.  Many people including me do not believe they are doing a very good job at their recovery efforts.  The video that Tony Hayward gave as a form of crisis communication was a good example of reaching the public but they need to do more. 

One concern  that has been across the news is that BP and the government are making false claims about truly how much oil is being leaked into the ocean and what exactly they are doing to make a full recovery.  In the chapter on crisis management it discusses different strategies for responding to crisis’s and handling the situation after it has happened.  The list the book gives are attack the accuser, denial, excuse, justification, ingration, corrective action, and a full apology.  In my opinion the first step BP should have done was not make an excuse for what happened but takes the blame and give a full apology to everyone affected by the situation. 

The main thing BP needs to focus on now is how to restore their image and to try and correct all the problems they have already caused.  Crisis communication can be a difficult concept to achieve and I believe currently BP needs to do a better job of handling and dealing with this crisis at hand.


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PR Connections-want a hotel upgrade?

So you think when you post on social networking sites only your friends are reading your comments?  Well you are wrong.  According to a recent article I read from The Wall Street Journal  Many hotels and resort properties are trying to keep a good status and have begun to monitor what is being said on Facebook and Twitter.  Some places are even giving previous guests whom did not have a good experience perks to come back and have a better experience the next time around. 

If you want to increase the odds that your complaint will be heard, include the full name of the hotel and your real name.

For example, A 47 year old man by the name of Paul Heron used this complaint technique and was able to upgrade from a room with a view of air conditioning ducts to one overlooking the pool at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort in Florida.  Mr. Heron posted on his Twitter “At the Orlando Marriott World Center for RIM WES 2010 [a technology conference]. But I have the crappiest room in the hotel.” A front desk employee read this comment and went to Mr. Heron’s room and gave him an apology and offered him a better room.

This hotel alone has interacted with many of their future and previous guests on twitter and have even started handing out wine, milk and cookies, and better rooms to guests they know are coming because they interacted with them on Twitter in advance.

Many hotels now tell customers to interact with them through social networking sites instead of a front desk request.  Hotels know that many travelers now use the Web—and specifically the reviews, blog posts and other online missives of past guests—to decide where to stay. About 41% of leisure travelers and 50% of business travelers say user reviews influence their travel decisions, according to a survey from comScore Inc., a firm that tracks online traffic, and Google Inc.

I personally have never tried using social networking sites to complain or connect with hospitality services until I read this article.  I am about to go on a cruise in a few weeks and since I just created a Twitter account I decided to look up the hotel we are staying at before we get on our cruise in Ft. Lauderdale.  Sure enough I explained my concern about getting a taxi from the hotel to the cruise port and what normally costs 30-50$ to take a taxi the hotel is providing a taxi for me and my family for free.  I strongly consider in the future when planning travels to check some hotels and resorts out on twitter and facebook before your trip.  Who knows, maybe you will save a few bucks just like I did!

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Reading notes Ch 10

Chapter 10 Conflict Management: Dealing with Issues, Risks, and Crises From: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics ninth ed. by: Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

In this chapter the main topics discuss conflict management and how to deal with issues, risks, and crises.

Strategic conflict management uses public relations to influence the course of a conflict, and ultimately a crisis.  Its key components are:

  • Strategic- for the purpose of achieving particular objectives
  • Management- planned, deliberate action
  • Competition- striving for the same object, position, prize, as others
  • Conflict- sharp disagreement or opposition resulting in a direct, overt threat of attack from another entity.

* A system for managing conflict

                – A public relations professional or team must determine the stance its organization will take toward each public or stakeholder involved in the conflict situation.  The stance taken toward publics “depends” on many factors, which cause the stance to change in response to changing circumstances. 

* The conflict Management life cycle- includes numerous techniques that public relations people use to deal with conflict.  It shows the “big picture” of how to manage a conflict.  There are 4 phases of the cycle which are:

  • Proactive Phase– includes activities and thought processes that can prevent a conflict from arising or from getting out of hand.
  • Strategic Phase– An issue that has become an emerging conflict is identified as needing concerted action by the public relations professional.
  • Reactive Phase– Once the issue or immediate conflict reaches a critical level of impact on the organization; the public relations professional must react to events in the external communication environment as they unfold.
  • Recovery Phase– In the aftermath of a crisis or a high-profile, heated conflict with a public, the organization should employ strategies either to bolster or repair its reputation in the eyes of key publics.

Reputation management is defined as the collective representation of an organization’s past performance that describes the firm’s ability to deliver valued outcomes to multiple stakeholders.

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Reading notes ch 9

Chapter 9 Public Opinion and Persuasion: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics ninth ed. by: Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

This chapter discusses public opinion and the persuasion public opinion can have on society as a whole.   According to Noelle-Neuman, public opinion is opinions on controversial issues that one can express in public without isolating oneself.

Opinion leaders-serving as catalysts for the formation of public opinion are people who are knowledgeable and articulate about specific issues.  Sociologists describe them in five different ways:

  1. Highly interested in a subject or issue
  2. Better informed on an issue than the average person
  3. Avid consumers of mass media
  4. Early adopters of new ideas
  5. Good organizers who can get other people to take action

There are two different types of leaders which are:

  • Formal opinion leaders (power leaders) – positions as elected officials, presidents of companies, or heads of membership groups.  Many news reporters often will ask them for statements when a specific issue relates to their areas of responsibility or concern.
  • Informal opinion leaders- those who have clout with peers because of some special characteristics.  They can be role models who are admired and emulated or opinion leaders who can exert peer pressure on others to go along with something.  They can exert considerable influence on their peer groups by being highly informed, articulate, and credible on particular issues.

Persuasion means to be pervasive in our lives, it can be used to

  1. Change or neutralize hostile opinions
  2. Crystallize latent opinions and positive attitudes
  3. Conserve favorable opinions

There also can be a number of techniques that can make a message more persuasive.  There are 7 devices that expert communicators continue to use:

  1. Drama
  2. Statistics
  3. Survey and polls
  4. Examples
  5. Testimonials
  6. Mass media endorsements
  7. Emotional appeal

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TOW #5

                This past week from June 7th to the 13th we had an assignment to do one week of Twitter.  At first I was a little skeptical because I had tried to make an account a few months ago but I did not understand how to do anything.  This time around with a few instructions from my professor I was able to grasp the concept a lot better than before.  Although, at first I was still a little confused and over whelmed about the constant tweets that were being posted on my newsfeed.

                Part of the assignment was to follow around 20 or so public relations people and our classmates in my PRCA 2330 class.  I was really excited to get to know a few professionals from my hopefully future working field and to meet a few of my fellow classmates.  For some reason I was really excited to receive tweets and I noticed myself as the week went a long tweeting more and checking to see if anyone had left me any tweets in return.  I also noticed that the more tweets you left on other members profiles the more feedback you would receive.

                Overall I left around 25 tweets during the week and received around 10.  It is hard at first to get away from facebook in which I constantly post what I am doing that day and instead focus on stuff that more people can comment on to receive feedback.  I really think once I get used to twitter and play around with it more I will enjoy using it a lot more than facebook.  I noticed that more professional people in the workforce seem to use Twitter a lot more than they use facebook. 

                I am really happy that we were given this assignment because I got a lot out of it.  In the public relations industry it will help me to build my resume and meet more individuals in my particular work field.   It is a casual way to make connections and build relationships that will help me now and future to come.  One way I feel I will find value in continuing my account in twitter is by continuing to build more connections and to strengthen the relationships that I have already made through twitter!

If you would like to check my account out or even follow me here is my twitter account!

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Reading notes Ch 8

Ch 8 Evaluation: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics 9th ed. by: Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

This chapter focuses on the fourth step of the public relations process which is evaluation.  Evaluation is the measurement of results against established objectives set during the planning process.  Evaluation is very important for the proper functioning of corporations.  A recent study was done by Katherine Paine, who says that the percentage of a public relations budget devoted to measurement and evaluation was about 1 percent in the 1990s, but is now closer to 5 percent. 

The most widely practiced form of evaluating public relations programs is the compilation of print and broadcast mentions.  A few ways to do this are through :

  • Media Impressions- the potential audience reached by a periodical, broadcast program, or an Internet Web site.
  • Hits on the Internet– Cyberspace version of media impressions is the number of people reached via an organization’s World Wide Web site or home page
  • Advertising Equivalency (AVE)- Standard approach in which you calculate the value of message exposure.  This is done by converting stories in regular news columns or on the air into equivalent advertising costs.
  • Systematic Tracking– Computer software and databases used to analyze the content of media placements by such variables as market penetration, type of publication, tone of coverage, source quoted, and mention of key copy points.
  • Requests and 800 numbers- Compile the number of requests for more information.
  • Return on Investments- Evaluate the message by determining the cost of reaching each member of the audience.
  • Audience Attendance- Done by counting attendance at events which is a very simple way of effective pre-event publicity.

There are also four other forms of measurement which can be used in public relations activities:

  1. Communication Audits
  2. Pilot tests and split messages
  3. Meeting and event attendance
  4. Newsletter readership

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Reading Notes Ch 7

Chapter 7 Communication : Public relations Strategies and Tactics 9th ed. by: Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

The main focus for this chapter is on the third step of the public relations process which is communications.  Communication is the implementation of a decision, the process and the means by which objectives are achieved.  There are three things in which an effective communicator must have basic knowledge of which are:

  1. What constitutes communication and how people receive messages.
  2. How people process information and change their perceptions.
  3. What kinds of media and communication tools are most appropriate for a particular message.

When Recieveing the message there are five different communication elements: sender/source, message, channel, receiver, feedback from the receiver.

Robert Schramm’s communication feedback model

When understanding messages it is very important to have effective use of language and to write for clarity.  When writing for clarity make sure to:

  • Use Symbols, Acronyms, and Slogans
  • Avoid jargon
  • Avoid clichés and hype words
  • Avoid Euphemisms
  • Avoid discriminatory language

Word of Mouth has a huge impact on the way a message is perceived and relayed.  This technique has been institutionalized by a number of organizations to reach consumers and other audiences through their friends and colleagues.  A recent study found that 72 percent of consumers are influenced by their own experience, and another 56 percent by friends and family.

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