In order for a company to be succesful, they need to stay ahead of the curve in employee communication. Good employee communication can build trust, understanding and organizational effectiveness. One thing that I found particularly interesting was one way to help communication is to hold every employee accountable to the companies expecatations. Likewise, the employees should hold the company accountable for its actions. Employees need to know that communication is important to the company. For example, if an employee does not feel like they can properly communicate with management, they may vent to anyone who will listen, including customers. Management needs to reward employees even if it is verbal. Simply remembering facts about a person, whether it be their dogs name or a fact about their family to ask later, will make an employee feel more part of the group and connected. I know when my sister interned in sales, whenever she left a company she would take small notes in case they had mentioned their daughters piano recital or a recent addition to their family. This way, when she went back to the company and asked how ____’s piano recital was, the company felt like a valued part of a bigger company. Communication is key.
The recent presentation that was presented at the IAbc Social Media Conference successfully pointed out that social media is one major way to bring employees into the communication fold. According to the presentation given at the conference, 79% of business communicators report using social tools frequently to engage employees and foster productivity. It is important as a PR professional to encourage employees to participate in social network conversations to increase overall satisfaction with a job.
There are three major areas where it is important for PR professionals to play in employee communication. The first of these is to study change management. One way to help increase employee communication is to put in place a management change plan. Before this can be done, the PR professional needs to study where there is resistance to change, help the employees adjust to the new change and create an idea for employee advancement throughout the changing process. Second PR professionals need to figure out how to develop employee recruitment. This can also be done through social networking. Finally, employee retention is vital. This can be done in a variety of ways not limited to employee advancement, job enrichment, mentoring, and cross training. I found the expert business website extremely helpful when researching these ideas and it can be found here.
Growing up, I was obsessed with Barbie. This led me to pick this particular example of CSR. Mattell had to recall millions of toys from China due to led poisoning. This was the biggest recall the company had ever had. Nineteen million toys were recalled for being covered in led paint while an additional 18.2 million toys were also recalled for being potentially harmful to children. About half of the recalled toys were sold in the US.
This recall that Mattel had to due in 2007 shows how important a Plan B is. If a company does not know how to act in a crisis, it will be doomed. Not only was this a huge issue for the company, with stocks dropping 57 cents to $23 dollars, it was not isolated. It was the second incident in only a mere month.
To read the full article click here.
Coroporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby organizations consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. Since public relations professionals are the people who deal with the public, the interests of consumers, stackholders, groups and so on, PR professionals are the ones who ensure CSR is being implemented. It is vital for PR and CSR to work together and present a united front in order to succeed. CSR was born when companies realized that they needed to have a Plan B in place for when public relations disasters took place. Since that time, a plan of attack for disasters has been a must have for companies. This can even be applied to countries. One example that immediately jumps to mind is Hurricane Katrina. The president, the politicians in charge and the national guard were all criticized for not implementing a successful plan quickly enough, ultimately costing countless lives. Wikipedia actually gives a great timeline of events from the formation of the hurricane to the aftermath. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Hurricane_Katrina
In order to increase tourism in Australia, there was a new campaign with the slogan “so where the bloody hell are you?”. Well, this raised a few eyebrows, especially in the UK who banned the ad. However, the ban in the UK resulted in millions of hits. So, this ad raises one of the biggest and to me, most interesting questions, is this brilliant marketing or offensive?
Michael Kiely, a marketing guru, said that “when you want to multiply your budget by a factor of 10, you launch it with a stunt that grabs headlines”. I could not agree more. The slogan not only captures what they wanted by telling the general public to get on over to Australia, it also received a lot of buzz by people being offended. The comments on this campaign are hilarious and I highly recommend reading the website…
Hyundai learned how to seize the day and capture millions of potential new customers through youtube. All of this was possible due to a bad park job and someone who filmed a bad situation. Todd Jamison parked his car outside a gym and walked out to realize his car had been flattened by another car!
Once the video was posted on youtube and received such a multitude of hits, Hyundai decided to give this poor fellow a new Hyundai! This way the company gained sympathy and support of everyone who had already seen this one video. The presentation of the car can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyD6arNlTE8
One major role of public relations is to manage publicity stunts. Recently, one family became infamous for a publicity stunt… the balloon boy family. For what seemed like weeks the news was consumed with images of the weather balloon that was once believed to house a little boy. It is a shame that things like this what gets the publics attention, but for some reason it does. This incident occured on October 15, 2009 and until this day, over a month later, I am still hearing about this family and how they used their son to gain fame publicly. Not only are they facing criminal charges now, they are getting exactly what they want, publicity!
Here is a link to just one of the numerous news stories about the situation.
This raises the question, as a professional in public relations, how do we handle these situations?
In 1951 the Austin A40 sports car decided to race around the world. Leonard Lord, the chairman of Austin publicy made a bet with Alan Hess from the publicit department that he would not be able to drive around the world in 30 days. As neat of an idea as it sounded, Hess completed the task in 21 days with no growth of sales.
This example of a publicity stunt shows that some public relations techniques may seem like good ideas, when in reality, the stunts can be a waste of time.
Technology is allowing communication between different people from different cultures to communicate more easily. Due to varying culture attributes, confusion across groups can sometimes cause mixed signals. Intercultural communication can be achieved if we work to reduce the differences.
The text to achieve successful cross-cultural public relations. The steps consist of awareness, commitment, research, local partnership, diversity, testing, evaluation, advocacy, and continuing education. If you follow the nine steps, you can eventually master communicating across cultures. At University of Colorado’s website http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/treatment/xcolcomm.htm the school outlines the procedure to break down barriers in cultural communication. The suggestions listed on the website are incredibly similar to the nine steps in the book.
Communication not only entails verbal communication, it also can be from gestures, clothing and expressions. The book gives the example of in Taiwan, blinking at someone is considered an insult. Using your hands when you are speaking is something that as a professional, you need to be very careful about.
Communication across cultures is vital to the future of public relations. It has already been a vital part of its past, is evolving in the present and will transform in the future.
This chapter deals more with the legal issues surrounding the field of PR rather than the ethical side. PR professionals need to be familiar with business law because due to the nature of their jobs, they will encounter aspects of the law. As a political science major, I found the burden of proof in libel cases particularly interesting. A PR professional needs to know if you are representing a person who has been libeled, this is because you have the burden of not only proving the allegation false but also proving actual malice. The book defines actual malice as the reckless disregard for the truth. In the case of The New York Tims v. Sullivan, the Court set a higher burdern of proof in libel cases involving public officials. http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/nytvsullivan.html provides the information of the trial.
Bill Sledzik has a blog on public relations and how it affects our lives. Bill also talks about Pat Jackson who says that CEOs, PR practioners must change human outcomes. Persuading also has ethical implications that professionals must remember. Whenever you are trying to get someone to do something that they wouldn’t normally do, you are facing an ethical situation. Professionals need to remain open and honest. Pat’s lesson is completely in correspondance with PRSA’s pledge which states “I pledge to conduct myself professionally, with truth, accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to the public.”