PUR 3000 Chapter 17

Today’s modern corporation
– Corporation has a ‘face’ because its product, logo, and brand are visible in advertising and billboards
– vast enterprise to meet such a thirst is set up for failure because environmental impacts, safety errors, injustices in work place will never disappear
– Corporate leaders affirm that corps can never let up in their efforts to manage what they do in the best interests of the public they serve
– fewer than 3 in 10 Americans believe that corporations are trustworthy which is reinforced in the media
– corporate PRP’s face delicate balance between arguing for realism and making lame excuses on behalf of their companies.
Role of PR
– companies need to regain public credibility and trust
– Corporate social responsibility is now high on priority list of execs and PR staff
American business leaders need to act in 3 main areas:
(1) adopt ethical principles
(2) pursue transparency and disclosure
(3) make trust a fundamental precept of corporate governance
Most important roles of PR executive
counseling the CEO
PR executive serves as:
a link between the CEO and realities of public opinion in marketplace and organization
Corporations seek a better reputation for numerous reasons:
(1) responsible business practices ward off increased government regulation
(2) employee morale; companies with good policies and rep have less employee turnover
4 key factors to be considered when making decisions AT ALL TIMES (GE):
(1) Political – how do governmental regulations affect the decision?
(2) technological – do we have engineering knowledge to accomplish goal?
(3) Social – responsibility to society?
(4) economic – make a profit?
Media relations
– writers complain about inability to obtain direct access to decision making executives which forces them to rely on news releases that don’t contain the info they need
– journalists claim that some business leaders do not understand the concept of balanced coverage
– major mistake for corporate execs to slash PR and communications budgets during time of financial scandal
PRP’s serving business
should stand in the middle;
– interpret companies to the public while showing execs how friendly media relations can serve their interests
Customer relations
– customer service is the frontline of PR
– today a dissatisfied customer can inform thousands or mil through social media
– companies have been filing defamination suits against these individuals
– traditionally, customer service has been seperate from communication or PR function in companies yet reputation is mainly based on how customers are served
– now many PR departments regularly monitor customer feedback in variety of ways to determine what policies and communication strategies need to be revised
American Customer Satisfaction Index
definitive benchmark of how buyers feel about what business is selling them
reaching diverse markets
US is more diverse each year which is now recognized in consumer marketing and communication
Consumer Activism
– demand changes in corporate policies
Ex: Companies like KFC and Tyson targeted by PETA groups
– now with obesity, every food product company is suspect
Ex: Supersize me
Guidelines on being proactive in Issues management:
(1) work with groups who are more interested in solutions than getting publicity
(2) offer transparancy
(3) turn their suggestions into actions – activists want results
(1) get emotional when dealing with advocacy groups
(2) agree to work with anyone making threats
(3) expect immediate results
Consumer boycotts
– refusal to buy product or service from company
– success of boycotts is mixed – a single product can be boycotted rather than the whole company
– activists point out that a boycott doesn’t have to be 100% effective in order to change corporate policies
Employee relations
employees = corporations ambassadors
– workplace respects its customers has pride in its products
– majority of workers agree that corporations care more about stock value than customer’s needs
– health and benefits should be written in plain english instead of legalese so that employees understand what is covered
– need to communicate to the employees what the policy is to avoid law suits
Monitor savings bank vs. Vinson
US supreme court ruled that a company may be held liable in sexual harrassment suits even if management is unaware of the situation and has a general policy condemning any form of verbal and nonverbalbehavior causing employees to feel uncomfortable
Layoffs and outsourcing
– layoffs = major PR challenge especially in a recession
RULE: layoffs never announced to the media before the employee knows
– companies should cushion the layoff with various opportunities to better their rep
Outsourcing white collar jobs
a contentious issue also called offshoring
– american companies are employing lower paid professionals in India and other Asian nations to handle customer service to accounting
Investor relations
– center of keeping the companies health and wealth by communicating with shareholders and prospective investors
– goal is to combine disciplines of communication and finance to accurately portray a company’s prospects from an investment standpoint
Marketing Communication
– Many companies use the tools and tactics of PR to support marketing and sales objectives
– process of planning, executing and evaluating programs that encourage purchase and consumer satisfaction through credible communication of information and impressions that identify companies and their products with the needs, wants concerns and interests of consumers
– coordinated with companies messages in advertising and promotion
product publicity
creative product publicity is a cost effective way of reaching potential customers
product placement
appearance of a product as part of a movie or TV show helping to promote the brand
Cause-related marketing
means that a profit making company collaborates with a nonprofit org to advance the latter’s cause and at the same time increase the former’s sales
tips for conducting cause-related marketing
(1) look for a cause related to products
(2) consider causes that appeal to your customers
(3) choose charity that doesn’t already have multiple sponsors
(4) choose a local org if the purpose is to build brand awareness for local franchises
(5) don’t use cause related efforts as a tactic to salvage image after major scandal
(6) understand that association with a cause or nonprofit is a long term committment
(7) realize that the additional bugdet must be spent to create public awareness and build brand recognition
Sponsored events offer 4 benefits:
(1) enhance the rep and image of sponsoring company through association
(2) give product brands high visibility among key purchasing publics
(3) they provide a focal point for marketing efforts and sales campaigns
(4) generate sales publicity and media coverage
Viral Marketing
– primary purpose is to stimulate impules purchases or downloads but increasingly pass it on techniques on the web are also intended to help PR objectives be met
– viral marketing specialists use more calculated tactics such as carful dissemination of favorable reviews
– technique will work only when the idea, the movement, or the product earns genuine support from the marketplace
Environmental relations
– gaining momentum is corporate concern for the environment and sustainable resources
– trend towards cooperation between NGOs and corporations
– Many companies now:
*issue annual corporate responsibility reports
*work with environmental groups to clean up the environment, preserve wilderness areas, restore exploited natural resources
Examples of long term CSR programs
– Royal dutch/shell group wants to abolish child labor; shell companies have procedures in 112 nations to prevent child labor
– Volvo is working with UN High commissioner for Human Rights on a project addressing discrimination in the workplace
Corporate Philanthropy
another manifestation of corporate social responsibility
– donation of funds, products, and services to various causes
– corporations have long used philanthropy to demonstrate good will
– Despite the possible downsides and controversies, this is a good tool for :
– Enhancing reputation
– Building relationships with key audiences
– Increasing employee and customer loyalty
strategic philanthropy
– long term socially responsible contribution of dollars, volunteers, products and expertise to a cause aligned with the strategic business goals of an organization
Strategic philanthropy and giving reaps benefits:
(1) strengthened reputation and brand recognition
(2) Increased media opportunities
(3) improved community and government relations
(4) facilitation of employee recruitment and retention
(5) enhanced marketing
(6) access to research and development
(7) increased corporate profitability
Consumer Activism do and don’t
– work with those interested in solution
– offer transparency
– turn suggestions into action
– get emotional
– agree to work with anyone making threats
– expect immediate results

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