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PR campaign and strategies tactics

Discuss about the Structuration Of Dominance In Information.

Corporates, not for profit organizations along with other organizations make use of Public Relations campaign (Johnston, 2009). Public relation campaign involves multiple activities that are planned in advance relating to certain specific goals for the campaign. A campaign of this nature progresses realising a specific objective then finds a message that will help attain such objective and finally communicating such message to a suitable group of audience. Reebok has been established to be a global athletic footwear company. The England based company operating as a subsidiary of Adidas distributing several fitness, running, CrossFit sportswear and clothing. The brand has several fitness wear and has specially intiated an Official Footwear and Apparel Sponsor of 2007 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Series. Reebok’s Pink Ribbon branded product as DMX Mega WalkR is based on the target to create social awareness for a cause of breast cancer. The scope of this analysis deals with analysing PR strategies and tactics used, along with its implication on the culture and society and its criticism (Blöte, 2009). Specific communication strategies used for this campaign was social media by engagement of public. Facebook, Twitter, online blogs, Youtube sharing are increasingly getting accessed by public. Such media has been used to spread the objectives regarding the campaign by networking with millions of people.

Public Relation campaigns are developed with specific objective as in this case, Reebok makes use of cause-related marketing efforts. Cause-related marketing is a communication technique for enhancing number of customer's perception towards the specific cause and the Company’s involvement or help given towards the specific cause (Tench, 2009). Corporate social responsibility on the other hand, deals with company’s techniques or capabilities to satisfy social needs. A good public relation campaign includes a clear objective for raising particular awareness for a brand or towards a product of that brand. Such specific objective definition can help enhance Reebok’s brand image and contribute towards its increasing in sales by motivating change in public behavior. Earlier there had been various negative publicity regarding several well-known brands including Reebok regarding the ways that they manufacture their shoes. They had been accused of paying poor wages to their workers, further workers were said to be suffering from bad working conditions. There had been instances were working conditions of workers had been criticized, also irregular payments or their ill-treatment in less developing countries had surfaced leading to a bad repute for these companies.

Role of PR practitioner in culture and society

The Avon Foundation announcement of Reebok being the official sponsor of 2007 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Series helps a social cause on the rise (Hanzaee, 2011). The program was said to  have weekend-long walking events taking place from May to October across eight cities in varied countries. Walking events help draw large crowd and attracts awareness, also it gets publicized easily (Grunig, 2009). The walking event had several thousands of participants, who would generate funds and awareness for fighting the cure for breast cancer. Reebok wanted to establish itself as a strong heritage brand for women with vision to fulfill individual potential with natural fit for it’s official footwear. Reebok had been making significant donation  to the foundation and its symbolic Pink Ribbon collection sold across retailers worldwide is set to make donation to the foundation. Reebok would contribute to the charity from the proceeds of the sale of its shoes while retaining certain portions of the profits. Strategies or tactics used for this campaign is walking initiative. As such programs will attract huge crowd, Reebok will be able to spread its message or objective easily.

Public Relation campaigns especially in cause related marketing and corporate social responsibility endeavor has a role in culture and society. Breast cancer is on a continuous rise and is responsible for maximum (62%) of total cancer deaths in women followed by ovarian and other types of cancers. With individual fighting for the cause alone has been significantly raising costs. With early detection and signs it has been found such cancers can easily be removed and individual can lead a normal life (Rice, 2012). There are various organizations that are committed to the cause to create awareness amongst individuals regarding the disease. Through efforts from multinational corporations and other not-for-profit organizations there can be change in attitude hence prevention of deaths amongst women detected with early signs of the disease. It is a great social cause with cultural implications that has been able to generate a positive impact through creation of awareness. With levels of pollution and Urbanisation on the rise, there is need for a constant social awareness such that its causes can easily be avoided.      

Reebok’s ideology is centered or mission is focused on raising level of fitness amongst youths, women and others. Earlier the Company manufactured and designed shoes mostly for athletes. The Company realized a great corporate social responsibility in raising awareness for breast cancer. It started designing shoes for women specially towards the specific cause. Designing shoes for specific cause will enable public relation specific to the cause. Greater consumer awareness can be developed towards the particular product (Theaker, 2017). With specific PR strategies along with communication techniques, the brand will try and build up a corporate image. Reebok had been building a brand image for staying fit by walking or running with their shoes, now such brand image will be extended towards specific health cause. With sales of these pink ribbon shoes, Reebok will donate proceeds to Breast Cancer Foundation. Through its continued efforts it will be able to eradicate such cancers in the long-run. Consumer especially women will be bent on purchase of such shoes not only for their quality but also for their special cause (Naveed, 2012). In developed countries where such cancers are on the rise, consumers will be more oriented to select the brand over others due to its noble social cause.              

Implications of chosen PR campaign for culture, society and the public

Public Relations campaigns objectives will be deemed to be attained while a specific group or public can be changed. Specific objective defining for a particular campaign will help focusing and planning towards execution of the campaign (Macnamara, 2008). Clear message from the organization needs to be communicated towards the public without any risks of ambiguity. Ideally, the message has to be well suited such that audience can get into action after receiving of the same. The target audience has to be well defined such that not the entire population but a specific component as in this case women can be attracted. Targeting Reebok’s PR campaign at women specifically will help cater to the cause in a better way. America has a high percentage of women suffering from the disease and raising awareness to remain fit can help the cause greatly. Reebok’s PR campaign will be targeting women with a host of related products such that the cause can be highlighted. The Avon Walk event staff were provided with footwear, apparel, accessories along with the walkers, volunteers, medical staffs and crew. There will be T-shirts that will help fundraising for the event (Smith, 2013). The event was hosted in Washington D.S., Boston, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Charlotte. The event had been effective in raising in the year 2003 to 2006 a little more than $150 million. The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Series is a public charity that was established in the year 1955.

A PR campaign can have a set of implication towards the culture, society and the public in general. A well-defined target audience along with properly framed message can help PR effective in its messages and communication. PR techniques are used across for communicating to the consumers or public as in this case with a specific cause. Therefore, implication of PR campaign has an informational objective or implication to it. Reebok’s aim was to raise level of awareness partnering with Avon’s program. Donating for a cause from proceeds of a product is a noble cause. Through this endeavor, Reebok will be able to give back to the society more than it takes from it. Raising awareness regarding breast cancer and donating was the fundamental attribute of the program. Secondly, attitudinal objective was the secondary implication on the culture, society and greater public. The aim of Reebok was to change attitude of people towards breast cancer and generate strategies such that such diseases can easily be tackled. Earlier fitness was a word that was well-suited for athletes only. Fitness was defined rather in narrow manner that did not include women. With Reebok’s new brand ideology, women was included into the fitness regime and they could struggle for their  health also. Health consciousness attitude was raised through this program by extending the specially ribbon shoes. Thirdly and most importantly a behavioral implication on the culture, society and public was targeted through this PR campaign. The Avon Walks for Breast Cancer with Reebok is an initiative that will help women to remain active and healthy. There is tremendous unawareness regarding breast cancers and their initial screening. The objectives are meant to accomplish a legitimate and clear goal for promotion of the brand with women’s awareness by Avon’s forum. 

PR campaigns is meant at spreading message from  Reebok to a wide spectrum of public. The PR topic that has been selected by Reebok is of a wide public interest. Reebok makes use of activism and grassroot communication technique for spreading awareness for the social cause. Breast Cancer is a social cause which attracts high interests from the government, public in general, medical practioner and others (Gur?u, 2008). Reebok has made use of activism communication as it has a great social cause further grassroot communication helps in launching of the message with multiple people appeal. The aim of the PR campaign was to attract a small group of audience and then spreading it across a larger group or much larger type of audience. Through Avon Walk campaign, costs related to the campaign was lowers compared to any other marketing efforts. The campaign was spread across a wide number of locations, which helped spread the message with definitive market segment.

There are no other competitors or sellers in the industry that has specified cause for their women oriented product. This market segment does not have any other product of interest that can influence a broader group of individuals or people. Activism in communication entails direct efforts towards promoting social reforms or improvements. Reebok aims to transform the society especially in America that suffers from the high incidence of the disease. Setting an example in women fitness it will help express it concerns towards the disease. Reebok hosted a tent in the “Wellness Village” for serving participants, who were away from their homes during Saturday night of the event. During the campaign, audience as well as walkers can preview the footwear and apparel that was especially designed for the event by Reebok. The walk had taken place in the weekend  with two options of walking a marathon of 26 miles or half the marathon of 39 miles in a two-day time. Various celebrities had participated to increase publicity and promote the campaign in a better manner. Grassroot communications has helped efforts of this PR to interact with public. Through public interaction it was possible to raise awareness further as compared to setting up a lone event.

Public relation campaign is selected by corporates and businesses for creating greater awareness regarding their products and towards specific cause, they are contributing towards. PR campaigns designs communication strategies and techniques for maintaining relationship with the organization’s target audience (Watson, 2012). With new releases and news content organizations does need to design specific PR campaigning. Reebok with its introduction of special shoes for women included social cause of breast cancer awareness. This helped target a greater n umber of audience for the Company. Success of the campaign was focused on displaying interests of stakeholders  with their concerns. All efforts made towards PR are meant at generating positive impacts on the organization towards communicating their brand name. However, prior to initiating a campaign demerits or negatives associated with PR has to be evaluated. Organization’s need to realize the potential harm that a PR endeavor or a PR professional might actually cause them (Gandy Jr, 2013). The harm might not directly be in the eyes of the public but to its important contacts or the Company itself. As Reebok prior to applying PR campaign for partnering with Avon had to evaluate its merits as well as demerits.

Merits of PR campaigns might be multiple in nature that can be rated for the Company. As Reebok considers that PR might be the best effective method for promotion of its brand name and extension of its brand identity. Prior to this initiative Reebok was considered mainly a brand that could be used by athletes not regular people. This campaign helped changed the entire scope of definition for Reebok’s products as being an extension for women fitness and health prospective. PR professionals in the Company helped communication build a favorable image for not only its products but also its Company (Toth, 2013). In the minds of the customers, there was a brand new definition of Reebok that could be identified with women too. Addition of the new target customer group was possible successfully through efforts made by Reebok. Secondly, a PR campaign provides detailed information regarding target market compared to any other promotional events or forms. The Walking for Breast Cancer was not only an amazing way to raise funds for the Company but also a method for promoting brand name of the Company and its new products. PR professionals can tackle efficiently ways of promotions that can help organizational growth. Reebok had attained some form of consistency in its products and consumer platform. With its business spread across the globe and it being an official partner for various sports and games, there remained hardly any new areas that it could explore. Its shoes and apparel were meant for men ignoring the broader sector of the demography comprising of women. Shoes were designed in a manner that attracted only men and there was hardly any separate definition for women, hence it introduced shoes looking more appealing to women with pink ribbon. The colors with its other attributes signified that women could use the brand in their regular wear as well. Thus, a new customer segment that could allow growth of the Company in this segment was created. It was only possible due to cause-related marketing of Breast Cancer awareness (Danowski, 2008). In absence of which Reebok would have had to look for a separate dimension to attract its female customers. Most importantly a PR professional can handle  efforts of the Company in a more efficient manner. Costs incurred by PR professionals is significantly less when compared to those that the Company would have otherwise spent in its marketing endeavors. Thus, cost effectiveness and efficiency is a critical factor that can be counted as a major merit in PR profession and the industry.     

With large number merits associated with PR there remains hardly any demerits to evaluate, however the same has to be evaluated for successful outcomes. Disadvantages of PR professionals and industry is when differing ways of promotions are used. When advertisement, magazines, newspapers, television, radio and internet are included and used together. There remains relatively less control over the message that is delivered finally to the target audience, who gets confused. Such efforts creates more of confession that actually catering to effectiveness in the targeted message (Chan, Retreived on 15th January 2018). Reebok has used several ways to communicate its message to targeted audience but mostly through direct contact, which makes it effective hence, this disadvantage is not applicable for Reebok. PR campaigns are used as a method for communication and used to transfer news to certain media as news reported or other personnel. The reporter then redesigns such information to form a part of the news and can often be distorted in nature. Therefore, final message delivered across to the end audience might not be effective and according to planned by the Company. For Reebok, it tried to make the message as effective as possible by way of reducing any errors that might creep in. Its direct hosting of the event allowed news reported to directly derive from the message and jot it down on paper before putting the message. PR sometimes might be ineffective as it is incapable to produce high yield on promotional expense. In case reporters finds the message to be infective then they are less likely to run the message on their channels. there has to be a greater value that is yield by the news for reporters to highlight the same across their media. In case of Reebok it had joined cause with Avon Walk the Cause for Breast Cancer. With two giants showcasing single event there was a lot of noise around it, hence reporters did message it. There was a lot of coverage for the campaign as celebrities on 10 August joined the walk at Lake Titiwangsa. Avon Cosmetics spread the awareness to Malaysia for early detection of signs relating to breast cancer by breaking barriers in providing quality care. This attracted lot of media attention with Mix FM radio also promoting the event.

PR campaign developed by the Company can cause criticism or challenges often. Though not all PR campaigns faces criticisms, there are some that needs to be dealt with in a manner such that companies can overcome them effectively. Though a company devises PR campaign taking into consideration all factors and ignoring major negatives in it, often there arises some criticism. Reebok’s campaign had been effective I n winning hearts and confidence of many people towards raising of awareness (Apollonio, 2008). However, various critics criticized that the organization aimed at retaining some profits still while donating maximum amount to breast cancer cause. Some argues that majority of the proceeds that will be generated from the Company’s sell of pink ribbon shoes for women will be retained by the Company itself.  Reebok have been heavily promoting its cause-related marketing efforts with products using pink ribbon. They had however put an arbitrary ceiling on the amount of donation that will actually go towards such cause meaning that once actual when maximum ceiling has been met, the Company will continue its sell of pink ribbon products without additional funds getting contributed to breast cancer organizations. Reebok had set a maximum donation limit to $750,000 without letting its customers actually know regarding the same. therefore, some criticizes that certain purchases had gone to donation for the specific cause whereas others did not go towards donation (Hill, 2017). The PR initiative of the Company can be thus challenged for spreading incomplete information or communication to its customers avoiding parts it did not wish to.

Conclusion

Public relations campaigns are aimed at transfer of information from organization towards those of target audience. PR efforts can be multiple in nature, here which has been cause-related marketing in nature. Analysing PR trends of the Company it can be said that, it was successful and effective in nature as it was able to create awareness and also sales of the product. The product dimension  created a new segment for the Company that led to its market share growth as well. Overall effectiveness of a PR campaign depends upon the effectiveness in which objectives of the campaign has been designed.

Reference

Blöte, A.W., Kint, M.J., Miers, A.C. and Westenberg, P.M., 2009. The relation between public speaking anxiety and social anxiety: a review. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 23(3), pp.305-313.

Chan, J. (Retreived on 15th January 2018). Celebs walk to raise awareness on breast cancer. https://www.thestar.com.my/news/community/2008/08/04/celebs-walk-to-raise-awareness-on-breast-cancer/.

Danowski, J.A., 2008. Short-term and long-term effects of a public relations campaign on semantic networks of newspaper content: Priming or framing?. Public Relations Review, 34(3), pp.288-290.

Gandy Jr, O.H., 2013. Public relations and public policy: The structuration of dominance in the information age. Rhetorical and Critical Approaches to Public Relations II, 131.

Grunig, J.E., 2009. Paradigms of global public relations in an age of digitalisation. PRism, 6(2), pp.1-19.

Gur?u, C., 2008. Integrated online marketing communication: implementation and management. Journal of communication management, 12(2), pp.169-184.

Hanzaee, K.H. and Farsani, F.T., 2011. The effects of brand image and perceived public relation on customer loyalty. World Applied Sciences Journal, 13(2), pp.277-286.

Hill, M.D. and Thompson-Hayes, M., 2017. From Awareness to Commitment in Public Health Campaigns: The Awareness Myth. Rowman & Littlefield.

Johnston, J. and Zawawi, C., 2009. Public relations: Theory and practice. Allen & Unwin.

Macnamara, J.R., 2008. Research in public relations: A review of the use of evaluation and formative research.

Naveed, N., 2012. Role of social media on public relation, brand involvement and brand commitment. Interdisciplinary journal of contemporary research in business, 3(9), pp.904-913.

Rice, R.E. and Atkin, C.K. eds., 2012. Public communication campaigns. Sage.

Smith, R.D., 2013. Strategic planning for public relations. Routledge.

Tench, R. and Yeomans, L., 2009. Exploring public relations. Pearson Education.

Theaker, A. and Yaxley, H., 2017. The Public Relations Strategic Toolkit: An essential guide to successful public relations practice. Routledge.

Toth, E.L., 2013. The case for pluralistic studies of public relations: Rhetorical, critical, and systems perspectives. Rhetorical and critical approaches to public relations, pp.3-15.

Watson, T., 2012. The evolution of public relations measurement and evaluation. Public Relations Review, 38(3), pp.390-398.

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