30/03/2009

Personal Qualities VS PR Degree

Posted in PR Education tagged , , at 7:33 pm by Angelia Chandra

Is success in PR determined by personal qualities or PR degree? I believe that personal qualities are the important factor to be successful in the PR field.

A PR practitioner should be persuasive, creative and sensitive. It means that he/she should have the ability to think analytically, to speak and to write persuasively. Obviously, those all requirements do not belong only to people who have a PR degree. It doesn’t matter what degree they have, any good speakers with great interpersonal skills can be successful working in PR field.

A survey of The PRCA PR Leaders’ Panel shows that in hiring new employee:

  • 43% said it made no difference even though you have a PR degree

  • 34% said PR graduates are less attractive than other degrees

  • Only 23% said a PR degree makes graduates more attractive than graduates from other disciplines

For example, Edelman took on seven graduates last year in September. Of their degrees; two were in History, one in English Literature, one in law, one in Communications, one in Journalism and one had an MA in International PR. Two of the graduates that were hired have History degree, can anyone think of the relation between history and PR? It is clear that Edelman hired those two candidates because they have the right personal qualities to work in PR field despite their degree has no connection with PR practise.

Trevor Morris, a senior PR practitioner and lecturer, said in the PRWeek interview, “a PR degree will never be a substitute for learning on the job, and the most important for employers is clearly the attitude and abilities of the candidates.”

So you can see that having a PR degree makes no difference in applying job. Personal qualities are the most important factor. PR degree serves as the supporting element only. It is just to help you to stand out among the other candidates who also have the right qualities to work in PR field. On the other hand, if you only have a PR degree but do not have the qualities to work in PR field, PR degree can’t bring you anything good.

In conclusion, the best thing to do is to keep improving your personal qualities to work in PR field, and if you can get or already have a PR degree, it’s perfect. If not, you can still be successful in the PR field anyway. PR is more a practical practise, so you can always learn while practising it on the job.

Good luck for you and for me, hopefully all of us can find a job in PR field as soon as possible! 🙂

15/03/2009

Crisis Management

Posted in Crisis Management tagged , , , , at 6:26 pm by Angelia Chandra

Crisis management is one of the most critical aspects of communications. If badly handled, crisis could ruin corporate reputations and even worse, could also threaten the existence of the company. Nevertheless, crisis is inevitable. It could happen to any company at anytime.

So what should be done in a crisis time? I came across useful slides about crisis management by Kami Watson Huyse, owner of My PR Pro ( a PR consultant based in Texas).

According to Huyse, there are three steps in managing crisis. She called it the “3Rs” – Research, Response and Recovery. Research is the stage where company is planning how to handle the crisis. It includes setting up emergency personnel, notifying the stakeholders and preparing the communication procedures. Response is about gathering and releasing information. Recovery includes proactive storytelling and solidifying relationships.

I would like to highlight the “Response” part. It is important that any information that is released to the media or the public is truthful. If the media find out that company is telling a lie, its credibility will be badly damaged. Also, understanding and addressing the public’s concerns is important.

01/03/2009

Corporate Social Responsibility in the New Media Era – Part II

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility tagged , , , , , at 5:54 pm by Angelia Chandra

After learning that new media could help maximize the impact of CSR program, I am interested to look into organisation that has used new media to promote its CSR programmes. While browsing on the internet, I came across Starbucks microsites that are used for their CSR campaign.

One of its current CSR programmes is the “Pledge 5”.

pledge-5

Through this program, Starbucks is trying to get people to donate 1 million hours of time towards community service. It is encouraging everyone to donate 5 hours of time to a community service in their local area. In return for this, anyone who has participated can go into Starbucks and will receive a free tall brewed coffee (available in the US only).

Starbucks has also created a Facebook Page & Facebook application for “Pledge 5” program. It has uploaded a video both on Facebook and YouTube.

It is also running two global CSR campaigns called Shared the Planet and V2V using the same platform – microsites, Facebook, YouTube and of course, Twitter.

Basically, Starbucks is trying to educate its consumers about its CSR programmes, then engage them in its CSR activities and make them feel to have a stronger relationship with the company.

Remember the two tips from Lynn and Mickle that I have mentioned in my previous post – “host the conversation and empower consumers to make your business theirs.” These are all exactly what Starbucks are doing!

28/02/2009

Corporate Social Responsibility in the New Media Era

Posted in Corporate Social Responsibility tagged , , , at 7:32 pm by Angelia Chandra

After the emergence of new media, especially Web 2.0, many organisations are trying to make the most out of it to communicate and engage their consumers directly in the online world. Corporate Social Responsibility, has also become part of organisation’s online communication programmes.

According to Marcy Lynn (CSR Director of Sun Microsystems) and Ryan Mickle (the founder of Companiesandme), in their slideshare document which is provided below, they mentioned that consumers are actively seeking information about organisation’s CSR information, but they are less interested in reading CSR reports. Therefore, organisations should find a way to communicate and engage their consumers in the CSR programmes and not only publishing CSR reports. Communicating CSR programmes in the online world is one alternative way. According to Lynn and Mickle, there are two important parts in engaging online consumers in the CSR projects – “host the conversation” and “empower consumers to make your business theirs.”


20/02/2009

Women Will Always Work in PR Industry, But Will Never Run It ?!?!

Posted in Feminisation tagged , , , , at 5:31 pm by Angelia Chandra

Power struggleThat’s the motion for today’s class debate and the motion is absolutely not true!!

The team that spoke for the motion argued that women are emotional and have bad decision- making skill. Therefore, women can’t never be on the top of the industry as decision-making is a crucial part on the top level. It might be true that women tend to be emotional, but we need to keep in mind that NOT ALL women are emotional and are bad decision-makers.

In fact, women have all the relevant personalities and skills to work in PR field. Women are known for their good multitasking skill, which is an essential skill to work in PR agencies where one needs to handle many accounts at the same time. Women also have great skill in building and maintaining relationships, which matches the nature of PR which is about building relationships.

Now, let’s set aside women’s personalities. I would like to draw your attention to the following points I made.

  • Firstly, there are more men on the top position currently because women are relatively young players in the industry if compared to men. Women were supposed to be housewives only, but then, more and more women had entered workplaces to become career women.

  • Secondly, women have less opportunity to be promoted to the top level if compared to men. Most companies are still reluctant to have females in their top position, which is unfair! Hopefully, in this growing emancipation era, women will then have the same opportunity to be promoted to the top level.

I believe that in the coming years, more women will be on the top position in PR industry. So men, be prepared!

12/02/2009

Can PR Ever be Ethical?

Posted in Ethics tagged , , , at 6:19 pm by Angelia Chandra

ethics-and-high-road

Professional ethics and ethical behaviour have always been a focus in almost all major areas in the business community. Public relations, as one of the participants in the business community, has also become a focus for its ethical practices since public relations has had a bad reputation for some people as being an unethical profession.

Since adherence to a code of professional ethics is one the criteria for an occupation to be considered as a profession, professional associations of public relations in all over the world, such as PRSA or CIPR, have each created a code of ethics of their own. The code is mainly created to regulate their members as well as to be a useful guide for the members as they carry out their ethical responsibilities. However, is the code really effective? Is every practitioner who belongs to a professional association is indeed an ethical practitioner?

Research has found that ‘some practitioners say they see a code of ethics once and then do not refer to it or read it again.’ On the other hand, practitioner who does not belong to an association might be the one who actually practices professionally and ethically. It is hard to determine who is actually carrying out ethical responsibilities.

There should be some other ways to regulate the practitioners other than the codes of ethics of the professional associations. Code of ethics regulated by the organisation where the practitioners are employed is one such alternative. When there is a code of ethics regulated within an organisation, the employees will encounter a form of peer pressure that force them into following the rules of play since they interact with their colleagues on daily basis.

Self-regulation is another solution. It is ideal to have the public relations practitioners who are aware of the importance of ethics that they would have a willingness on their own part to behave ethically without any external pressure. If a practitioner has a strong belief towards ethical practices then he would not do anything that is considered unprofessional. The most important point here is that the practitioner should have his or her own will to do it without any pressure.

30/01/2009

The Rules of Online Reputation Management

Posted in Online Reputation Management tagged , , , , , at 10:33 am by Angelia Chandra

We have learnt that the emergence of Web 2.0 might damage corporate reputation badly. However, on the other hand, it is also an effective tool to manage corporate reputation provided one knows how to get the most out of it. Proper guidelines is necessary since the tool is indeed a ‘double-edged sword’, the term proposed by Martin Sims as I have mentioned in a previous post.

Hence, following are the 15 rules to help us maximize the use of Web 2.0 for online reputation management, as suggested by Weber Shandwick:

  • Conduct an initial landscape analysis of your professional and company reputations online

  • Monitor your digital reputation regularly and embrace SEO

  • Engage in the online community

  • Build a reputation shield early on

  • Know when to respond online

  • Get inline using all your media assets – traditional and online

  • Identify reputation threats early on. Plan for the worst-case scenario

  • Endlessly listen to your employees

  • Multiply your bad news online by 100

  • Don’t neglect industry discussion boards and blogs

  • Review your website as if you were a prospective customer or competitor

  • Customer-ise the online reputation of your products and services

  • Accept your employee nation

  • Be on the lookout for errant e-mails

  • Find your online advocates.Prime the pump for badvocates

Follow this link – “Risky Business: Reputations Online™” – for further reading or to download the complete PDF document.

29/01/2009

PR 2.0 and Online Reputation Management – The Realities

Posted in Online Reputation Management tagged , , , , , at 2:08 pm by Angelia Chandra

One important issue of the emergence of Web 2.0 is its use for PR in managing corporate reputation as was discussed in our PR Issues lecture today. According to Martin Sims in his article “New technology and the changing face of corporate communication” published in the “Handbook of Corporate Communication and Public Relations – Pure and Applied”, he argued that new media is a double – edged sword as a term to describe how new media could be a useful tool for PR to more easily manage online reputation by communicating directly with its public, but at the same time could also destroy the reputation easily as public opinion is then harder to control.

Weber Shandwick, in cooperation with the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), conducted a world wide online survey “Risky Business: Reputations Online™” of 703 senior executives from companies in 62 countries in June and July 2008. The results showed that the greatest perceived cause of reputation damage is the negative media coverage. The two top-ranked reputation busters are customer complaints in the media or online grievance sites and the negative word-of-mouth.

Reputation Busters

Click for Larger Image

Also, more than half of executives in Asia (55%) regard confidential information leaked to the Internet as the top online risk to their company’s reputation, a much greater concern than for Australian executives (31%) or global executives overall (41%).

Top Online Risk

Click for Larger Image

22/01/2009

Propaganda at War Time

Posted in Propaganda tagged , , , at 6:35 pm by Angelia Chandra

Besides the “war preparation” exercise I mentioned in my previous post, we also watched the documentary of the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, titled “War Spin: Correspondent” in the class. This video showed how the US military controlled the information at the war time, for instance, by using embedded journalists and setting up ‘Central Command’ – the press centre where all press from all over the world were fed the “prepared” news.

The military used spin in various way. They filtered and restricted the presented information. They spin it in a way as if all the information were coming from the troops on the battlefield. According to Arthur Siegel, a social science professor at York University in Toronto (cited in the article “U.S. intensifies the war of words” by Beth Gillin), propaganda messages come in four basic varieties:

  • The first level is the Big Lie, adopted by Hitler and Stalin.
  • The second layer says, ‘It doesn’t have to be the truth, so long as it’s plausible.’
  • The third strategy is to tell the truth but withhold the other side’s point of view.
  • The fourth and most productive is to tell the truth, the good and the bad, the losses and the gains.

Therefore, it is not surprising to see that the press were fed only a small part of the real facts or even lies because “not telling the truth” is the first three basic varieties of the propaganda messages. I believe the US military adopted the second and the third stages.

After all, spin in war time is used to make the country look good, to justify the reasons they are killing and bombing millions of people. They are using the tactic of demonisation of the enemy, so they should be playing the “good people” role in this war. Believe it or not, having a good image to win the public support is essential that Pentagon spent $397.000 to hire a PR firm to help them look good while attacking Afghanistan in 2001. For further reading, hereby is one interesting article titled “War Needs Good Public Relations” by Norman Solomon about how public relations is used in war time.

21/01/2009

Propaganda – Preparing A Nation for War

Posted in Propaganda tagged , , , , , at 10:21 pm by Angelia Chandra

Adam Zyglis CartoonToday in the class, for the classroom exercise, we were asked to prepare a nation for a war. After some discussions, the class came up with the mission: “to persuade and convince the public, soldiers, and the international community of the legitimacy of going into the war.” We then decided that tactics that would be used include exaggerating the necessity of going into war, dehumanising the enemy, getting media support, controlling the messages and the media, and building good relationships with other countries that might support the nation.

Following from the exercise, I then did some browsing on the Internet and found that the result of our discussions actually matches what Phillip Knightley, an award-winning investigative journalist, said in his article titled “The disinformation campaign” published in The Guardian. He pointed that there are four stages in preparing a nation for war:

  • The Crisis – a stage where media reports that the problem appears unable to be resolved, ie. diplomacy is not reached, war is inevitable
  • The demonisation of the enemy’s leader – to project the negative sides of the leader, eg. projecting the leader as the second Hitler
  • The demonisation of the enemy’s leader as an individual – to project the negative personality of the leader, eg. the leader is insane, pyschopath, etc.
  • Atrocities – the demonisation not only of the leader but of his people by spreading atrocity behaviours of them through the media

In conclusion, the essential steps to prepare a nation to go into a war are to firstly control the media, then use the media to help reinforcing the reasons and motivations to go into the war, as well as demonising the enemy (both the leader and its followers) to arouse emotional reactions.