Which would you prefer to work in for PR?

As I near the end of my school ‘career’ and begin looking at real-life jobs, I’ve struggled with deciding what field I would like to pursue. The public relations (PR) side is definitely an interesting one – one that would be a challenge every day I attend work. But the struggle of deciding which sector to work in is real, let alone the sub-sectors in PR (government, corporate, or non-profit). All positions would be hard to work in – but one sector sticks out in terms of difficulty.

Picture from: https://pdxsx.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/picture-13.png
Picture from: https://pdxsx.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/picture-13.png

The most challenging sector to work for doing PR would definitely be for the government. This is because everything you say needs to be serious and correct because you are essentially representing the people. Spelling mistakes or wrong information could be detrimental to the governmental organization. The regulations for government are extremely high and any misconduct will have massive consequences. One assumes the government is of all mighty power and that any mistakes made shows incompetence and sloppiness. People might then after not trust what the government is saying and create a debacle that could be extremely detrimental to their image.

I am assuming there would be a hierarchy of people a response would need to go through before being released to the public. But what if the information needed to be released in a timely manner? Would there be time to go through a hierarchy? This is something that more experienced PR professionals would be suited for.

Also, being a government employee means you need to watch what you do in your private life to ensure you are not the target of a PR crisis yourself. A PR crisis for the government could be tweeting from the wrong account or getting a driving under the influence of alcohol charge.

Picture from: http://www.yourcsc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/prpage.jpg
Picture from: http://www.yourcsc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/prpage.jpg

It is safe to say I do not see myself working in the PR industry for the government. I am much more suited for a corporate or non-profit because the stakes and pressure are not as high.

What do you think? Would you be able to work in the government sector as a PR person?

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Apple Flavoured Shots Anybody?

Remember when an Apple employee lost a prototype iPhone at a bar? It is sure something that that specific employee will never forget and nor will the media and every PR person in the biz.

Picture from: http://www.shoutpedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Cava22-the-Sanfransisco-bar-520x318.jpg
Picture from: http://www.shoutpedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Cava22-the-Sanfransisco-bar-520×318.jpg

To me, the story seems simple. Employee brings phone to bar, gets drunk, and does what drunk people do best – loses it! But were the steps taken by Apple as a company to get the phone back justified? Yes and no.

Yes, because it was Apple’s phone and ultimately their property so they deserved to have the item returned to them. Which is what happened. So why take it a step further? To teach the person who leaked the story a lesson or to scare others from doing what was done? How about this: next time do not let employees take phones out while partying.

No, because having the said “leaker” of the iPhone story’s computer taken by authorities seems wrong – especially since Apple got their phone back in the end. At least Apple received some negative press and backlash from what they did.

Photo from: http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/81/f2/81f2e39e8f0fd857bb01d63c9e031558.jpg?itok=VzPOBMFN
Photo from: http://cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/81/f2/81f2e39e8f0fd857bb01d63c9e031558.jpg?itok=VzPOBMFN

It technically was not the bloggers fault for what had happened – how did the blogger know this was TRULY an Apple phone without confirmation? It could have been a fake prototype.

Overall, there are a few take-aways from this story:

– In the end no matter who you are, the big guys will always win. Apple has gained a ‘invincible’ status as they can basically seem fair one day then get the police to bash down your door the next.

– Everyone makes mistakes and it is what you do after these mistakes that matter. The PR team needs to be on the ball and must communicate with the rest of colleagues about issues that may reach the media/public.

– Stick to apple flavoured alcohol shots and leave the ‘priceless’ items at home (but not actually).

Cheers! (literally)

Can I Persuade You With My Opinion?

Campaigns of persuasion are exposed to each person every day. Most commercials are trying to get you to buy or support a product, organization, or issue.

Take, for example, political campaigns. I find that these types of campaigns create the greatest persuasion because it is easy for one political party to bash another. In turn, while the bashing goes both ways, if a person only sees one side of the persuasion occurring – it might sway them greatly to support that political party over another.

https://jaminism.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/liberalconservative.jpg
https://jaminism.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/liberalconservative.jpg

For myself; commercials, campaigns, and causes (what the political party stands for) are the greatest source of persuasion. They often compel me to think about different parties values and discover new facts I was initially unaware of. Because of the said “bashing” that occurs, this is the reason as to why I would vote for one party over another.

So what communication persuasive factors are being used to persuade me and the general public? Plenty.

The clarity of the message, content, structure, and getting ones point across is huge. Having credibility (such as being a nationally recognized political party) also assists in persuading. Some may argue that just because it is a political party putting on a campaign or commercial it does not give them credibility – but for me it does. Obviously scandals and whatnot are still going to happen which will take away from this credibility, but this is where timing and context come in. If a scandal happens close to an election this would most likely persuade a person to change their views of the scandal-rich political party. Lastly, the type of persuasion must appeal to my self-interest.

For example, the Canadian Liberal party would like to legalize marijuana, whereas to me this is not a priority. How did I find out this political party was planning on doing this? Through commercials and campaigns from the Conservatives. I was swayed to think differently about the Liberals and ultimately began researching into what it is that they stand for.

What do you think? Are you easily persuaded by political campaigns or am I the only one who listens to what one political party has to say?

What is more important – your reputation or the concerns of the public?

The “pink slime” debacle was one that is still remembered today and may still affect the way consumers think about the beef industry.  In case you are wondering what “pink slime” is…it is the something safe added to beef to help preserve it.  Although there is no scientific evidence that this slime is unsafe to the public – after images surfaced of what this product looked like – there was a public outcry and uproar.

Pink Slime - picture fromhttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Ground_beef_USDA.jpg
Pink Slime – picture from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e3/Ground_beef_USDA.jpg

This brings me to the following question: how important is it to defend ones views while respecting concerns of the public?

In my opinion, a company has a duty to ease consumer concerns while also protecting their own views.  In the situation with “pink slime”, the beef industry put out full page advertisements about how this slime would have essentially saved a child’s life had the child not eaten non-treated meat.  This is a way to protect their own views while also attempting to ease consumer concerns.  The bottom line with this situation is that the beef industry was not doing anything wrong.

A company has the right to defend their views as long as they are not breaking the law.  I think once a company has taken a stance on a situation they must stand by their decision.  If they were to essentially ‘flip-flop’ about their views this may increase public concerns because the public will not know what the correct information is.  In order to gain the public’s trust (aka the stakeholders) once again, a company should keep repeating key messages to enforce their stance on the situation.

Overall, the “pink slime” incident was one that many will not forget.  It was blown extremely out of proportion by people who were not experts in the field – such as by the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver.  Oliver had essentially said people were feeding themselves poison by eating the treated meat, which again had no scientific proof.  Had the media and influencers not made things look so dramatic the incident may not have exploded among the public like it did.

“Share a Coke” PR Campaign Game

I think everyone at one point in time noticed the “Share a Coke” campaign launched by Coca-cola.  Maybe they did not know the name of the campaign – but there was huge hype about the fact that you could possibly find your own name on a Coke bottle.  The message was simple: share a Coke with a friends name on it.

The Business objectives are quite clear: to increase sales and get people drinking Coke (whether it is regular, diet, or zero).

The Public Relations (PR) objectives are not as clear though.  Perhaps the PR objective was to reintroduce the same product with new packaging.  After further research on interviews done with employees from Coca-cola, it is clear they were trying to “capitalize on the global trend of self-expression and sharing” (you can read full article here).

The strategy of this campaign could have been to create a movement that was memorable by tracking how many people visited Coca-cola’s website to create their own virtual bottle.  It could have also been to increase the use of social media using hashtags.

The tactics were possibly to get people on social media sharing their images of them with their names on the Coke bottle.  Even if the person did not originally drink Coke, they bought the product which in the end is the business objective.  There was a lot of press coverage for this campaign as well.

coke
Image from: http://strategyonline.ca/2014/07/07/coca-cola-gets-personal/

Overall, this campaign had a huge response in all countries it was introduced in.  It was successful because it tapped into the aspect of sharing and people loved the novelty of having their name on a bottle.

If You Don’t RACE, You Can’t Win

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In Public Relations (PR) – there’s this little formula called RACE, and if you aren’t doing it, chances are you aren’t winning in the competition that is the PR field.

What is RACE?

R = Research, A = Action, C = Communication, and E = Evaluation

For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on the R and A portion of the formula.

Research – essentially deciding what the problem or issue is at hand

It is extremely important to perform meaningful and comprehensive research in order to complete a process.  There are different types of research; the main ones I will be focusing on are secondary, qualitative, and quantitative research.  With research comes creating surveys and questions for these surveys to gather information.

Action – also known as planning

There are 3 objectives in the Action part – informational, motivational, and behavioural.  Each objective is used to create a separate type of outcome.  It is important to note that objectives and goals are not the same thing.  You want to create SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) goals and proper objectives to go along with these goals.  By planning you are anticipating the end outcome – to have a successful PR campaign.

 

When creating parts of your RACE formula, consider who your audiences are.  These can be allies, neutrals, or adversaries.  You need to consider their needs and anticipate what they will want.


 

For now I will leave you with an interesting post I found about redefining the RACE formula and if it needs to be thought about in a different light to include social media.

 

Thanks for reading!

Carolyn

@CarolynPogo