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Media Relations

Discusss about the Understanding Public Relations.

Public Relations help a company or person or other organisations in maintaining a positive public image. It helps a company or an individual to bring forth an image in front of the public that is positive. This report discusses the importance of various aspects of PR in a company (Black, 2013). Firstly, it presents short notes on the best practices in media relations. Then it moves on to presenting a fictional news release for an imaginary newsworthy client. The write-up then discusses the Social Exchange theory and how it can be applied to fundraising and sponsorship. The report uses the example of the PRINZ case study to indicate the opportunities that were created for establishing interactivity and awareness. It discusses how the concept of social exchange theory was encouraged through the program. It then identifies the ways in which successful fundraisers follow up with their donors. The report then lists the key characteristics of crisis. It also explains the method how effective issues management can prevent a crisis situation. It then gives an example of a recent crisis. It moves on to defining a crisis management plan discussing the individuals who should be involved in it. The report then moves on to outlining the information needs of the shareholder and investor, giving example of how those needs are satisfied. It then moves on to describing the different kinds of non-financial information that are important to shareholders and investors, supported by examples (Jain & Winner, 2013).

Best practices of media relations:

Media relations comes under a section of ‘public relations’ in general. It refers to the equation or the relationship that companies develop with journalists of various media houses. It is important to understand the necessity of media relations. It is important   as it helps in informing the public about the company and the inner workings of a company. The best practices of media relations are as follows:

1. The organisation should have a clear picture of the audiences it is targeting. Assumptions do not work in this case. A company needs to be careful before choosing a media to extend its public relations to the masses. It needs to monitor the coverage that the media is providing to the company. It needs to assess the quality of coverage also. It has to be seen whether the coverage that is being provided by the media is partial or distorted. If it is so, then the company should immediately stop the association with that particular media (Howard & Mathews, 2013).

2. An organisation or a company must be careful in choosing the media that helps them to extend their PR skills to the public.

3. The company should be aware of the facts and the points that will attract the media and will help them be interested in the company. If a company employs new and innovative ways for customer service or a new technology to connect with the customers, then it might make the media interested, as it is a newsworthy item. Things like these help the company to go further in the competition race as these things attract the media (Raupp, 2017).

4. The company should be cooperative with the journalists. It should give them the access to different spheres of operations of the company to find out newsworthy items inside the company.

5. A company should understand that journalists have a responsibility towards the society and this responsibility cannot be avoided under any circumstances. Journalists have to work for the society even if it becomes detrimental to the company.

6. A company should provide newsworthy items to the journalists in order to make a good story. However, an employee of a company should always remember his or her loyalty and thus be careful of the information that he or she is providing to the journalists (Martino & Lovari, 2016).

7.The company should train its staff carefully and thoroughly so as to properly educate them to deliver the message of the organisation. The staff of the company must be trained in such a way so that the employees of the company only distribute all the relevant information (Pang, HE Chiong & Begam Binte Abul Hassan, 2014).

8. The employees of the company should behave cordially with the journalists in order to maintain a professional and cordial relation.

9. The company should resolve disputes and queries immediately in a manner which benefits both, the company and the media. Any disputes should be resolved quickly and efficiently by the company (Supa, 2014).

News release

Voices mobile brings in a technology that supports free video calling

Auckland, New Zealand: Voices mobile company, today has announced a new handset that supports free video calling for all subscribers of Voices telecom. This facility is going to help all the users all over the world to connect in a more personal note. Since the users of Voices telecom is essentially placed in the defence, it comes as a refreshing and welcome update to all the subscribers of Voices telecom. After five years of research and development, the company has come up with the technology that is the first of its kind in the market.

According to the CEO of the company, John Smith, this technology has been made keeping in mind the requirement of the people in the defence sector posted in various location. Mr. Smith said, “This technology will help our soldiers to be better connected with their loved ones when they are posted at the borders defending us and ensuring our safety.

The launch is scheduled to take place at the Hilton International hotel on Monday, 20.2.2017 from 7.00 P.M.

About Voices mobile: Voices mobile is the new venture of Voices Telecom service. It was launched in the year 2010. Voices Telecom service caters to the army, navy and air force of New Zealand. The telecom service has a tie-up with the defence sector of the country. It was voted as the most reliable telecom service provider by the National Telecom Services Sector.                                         

Social exchange theory:

Social Exchange theory proposes that the society is a structure full of interactions between people      that minimises the cost and maximises the return. According to the theory, all relationships are made up of series of give and take. The theory implicates that in general, people are self-centric and not concerned with equality. The relationships that give the maximum amount of return without investing a lot into it, is the one which the people prefers to pursue for a long term (Cook, 2013). According to the theory, people feel negatively or positively about their relationships owing to the combination of these three factors:-

1.Comparison level

2.Cost-benefit analysis

3.Comparison level of alternatives

According to Mersham, Theunissen and Peart, the social exchange theory states that each and every individual in the world is dependent on the exchange of interactions that prove to be beneficial for them. Fundraising also falls under the category of social exchange. Fundraising essentially means collecting financial support for a cause, a charity or for other enterprises. It basically means accumulating voluntary financial contributions or other resources by the means of donations from individuals, government agencies, charitable foundations or businesses. By keen observation, it can be noticed that fundraising falls under the social exchange theory. By fundraising, funds or financial aids for different causes or charities are accumulated. Although at the first glance, it might seem that fundraising is a benevolent work that is not aimed at profit making, it can be observed that the social exchange theory is subtly at work in this concept as well. Through the means of fundraising, companies can look after their own PR interest. By fundraising, the organisation can garner a name for itself and also contribute to a good cause. The company or the organisation, thus stands at a position which proves to be beneficial for the firm (Cameron, Higgins & Lippincott, 2012).

Fundraising and Sponsorship

One of the significant examples of this concept of fundraising as a social exchange is exemplified in the case of Achilles International New Zealand. Achilles International is a charity that supports people with disabilities, so that they can perform and participate in mainstream sporting events alongside healthy athletes. When it started its operation in the year 2014, it was virtually unknown to the world (Honigman, 2012). However, when Cigna Life Insurance took over the public relations campaigns of Achilles International, things started to change. Cigna Life Insurance created a firm identity for the charity and an amount of $10,000 was raised in the process. The life insurance company used the PR strategy to raise the awareness of Achilles amongst the local citizens. The company took the help of a media campaign raise awareness amongst the local residents. They found three local Wellington based local Achilles athletes who were willing to share their personal journeys with the others. The company paired these athletes with famous guests like The Mayor of Wellington. This provided an additional newsworthy angle to the event. The media relations programme of the company targeted a range of well-known media that were based in Wellington. One of the important messages that was shared was how to join and donate to the cause (Cousens & Bradish, 2013).

Another example is that of the Givealittle foundation, the largest crowd-funding organisation of New Zealand. It is an external generosity programme of Spark foundation. The Spark foundation acquired Givealittle foundation in the year 2012. It helps charities, schools, community groups and individuals to accumulate funds online. During the last year, the company garnered substantial interests from the media (Brennan, Binney & Brady, 2012).

Through the support of Cigna Life Insurance, the Achilles International found the desired recognition and media coverage. The donor, Cigna Life Insurance, sought to find new respect and recognition by supporting this cause. The life insurance company garnered a name for itself with the success of Achilles International. The success of Cigna round the Bays (CRTB) implied a win-win situation for both Cigna Life Insurance and Achilles International ("PRINZ - PRINZ Awards 2015 - Public Relations Institute Of New Zealand").

In return for sponsoring or supporting causes like these, the donors expect a certain amount of reciprocality. They expect returns in the lines of recognition and communication of future projects and events. The success of the events automatically highlights the participation and contribution of the donors in the event. The donors expect a little something to get recognised for the effort that they are putting in. The benefit might be substantial or intangible. According to the Social Exchange theory, everyone gives something in return of getting something back. Different donors have different expectations when it comes to the question of getting returns (Kennedy, 2012). Some people only expect to receive information about the event or any other future event while some people expect to get more than that. They expect to get recognition and fame through the process. The organisers almost always follows up with the donors. This is in expectation of future involvement of the donor with future events. The organisers often come up with techniques like honour rolls, mementos, awards, feedback in the form of progress reports and donor recognition events (Boenigk & Scherhag, 2014).

Fundraising as a social exchange

Key characteristics of crisis:

Crisis is often defined as a situation or time of difficulty or danger when an important or difficult decision must be made. It is a time when an urgent decision has to be made. In an organisation a situation of crisis is not welcome. There are certain characteristics which define a time of crisis. They are:

1.  A time of crisis can unfold in an unexpected manner and very quickly. In such situations, the organisation can have difficulty regaining their initiative.

2. A crisis involves many individuals around the company. It involves the investors, the staff members, the customers and the media to name a few (Mersham, Theunissen & Peart, 2009).

3. In this type of situation, a lot of confusion goes around the company. Everyone tries to find out who is affected and what has happened.

4. During a situation like this, the top management of the company might develop a defensive mentality. They might refuse to talk to the media regarding the crisis which may lead to different types of conjectures amongst the people. It might lead to a rise in the insecurities and rumours (Verhoeven et al., 2014).

5. In a situation of crisis, there might be a lack of understanding and information of the happenings which can lead to panic and stress amongst everyone.

6. A crisis might cost the company a lot of money and resources. The cost of compensation and recovery might be extremely high (Coombs, 2014). 

In a situation of crisis, an effective issues management can solve any serious issue of crisis that may affect an organisation. Issues management deals with monitoring, identifying and analysing trends in the opinion of the public, which might create trouble for the company in the future. A public relations professional must monitor the trends, which might prove to be harmful for the company (Mersham, Theunissen & Peart, 2009). They need to be on the lookout for what is happening all around the world, they need to scan the media for any potential development that is of interest to the company. According to Mersham, Theunissen and Peart, the keen monitoring of such issues helps the company to be aware of any potential threats to the company and formulate strategic formula to deal with any problem that might sprout up and affect the company. The PR official of the company should monitor any potential threats to the company and should warn the top management of the company for remedial and defensive measures to deal with a crisis (Coombs, 2014).

There are different stages of issue management. They are:

Analyse and anticipate the issues

Develop and understand the position of the organisation on the issue

1.Identify the important individuals whose support is necessary

2.Recognise the desired behaviour from those individuals

3.Identifying the important issues

4.Prioritising the key issues

5.Implementing the management tactics of tackling the issue

6.Evaluating the success and failure of the procedure

One of the most recent, glaring examples of crisis in an organisation in New Zealand is the case of Fonterra, a multinational dairy cooperative that is owned by around 10,500 New Zealnad farmers. In the year 2013 there was a wide-scale recall of dairy products sold by Fonterra. It was announced after botulism-causing bacteria were found during the safety tests. The contamination was found in the whey products that were sold to the third parties manufacturing baby foods and sports drinks. About 1000 tonnes of consumer goods were affected by the recall across 7 countries. However, no cases of illness in the consumer were reported. The head of the milk division of Fonterra, Gary Romao resigned as a consequence of the scandal. The company detected the bacteria during a routine quality check conducted by the company (Hutchinson, 2016). The problem was noticed in March 2013, while testing for the possible presence of Clostridium. In july that year tests exposed signs of Clostridium botulinum which led to the recall. The contamination was apparently due to the unsterilized pipes that were used to move the whey concentrate. The manufacturers in China, Australia, Thailand, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia were affected by the recall. In the international scenario, the recall affected eight companies – three animal-feed producers, a couple of beverage companies and three food companies.

A crisis management plan is a plan that is chalked out to combat in a situation of crisis in an organisation. Through this plan a rapid communication is facilitated that ensures the overall safety of both external and internal stakeholders of a company.  It is the communication and the component of decision-making in the situation of crisis. Crisis management plan incorporates plan, procedures and policies to properly assess the impact of the situation. This plan also controls the media interaction during the time of a crisis (Timothy Coombs & Jean Holladay, 2014). In this plan, all the individuals of a company who are important should be involved. They are the management officials, the PR official, the staff members of the company, the media and the internal and external stakeholders.

In a company, financial investors play a crucial role. The financial and investor communication is therefore important for the company to succeed. A shareholder or an investor before investing in a company seeks to find out all the information about the company as possible. Information that is prepared by the accountants or the financial experts are often not enough or clear for the commoners to invest in the company (Guimard, 2013). Thus, a good communicator must compile the information in order to convey the information in a seamless and easy manner. In an organisation, a good communicator can convey the details about the company to the potential investors. An investor will look into the board of directors, the officers of the company, the image of the company, industry trends, reputation of the brand, position in the market, changes in the share price and the quality of products and services before looking into investing in the company (Laskin, 2014).

The ‘non-financial’ information is also important to the investors and shareholders. An investor, before investing in a company tries to find out whether the company is

1.meeting the legal requirement of the country

2.matching the industry standards

3.improving the moral spirit of the staff

4.improving the relationship between the consumers and the suppliers

5.improving the business reputation and strengthening the relationship with the local community (Laskin, 2014)

6.developing the business capability of the investor

7.properly dealing and anticipating the future threats (Monti et al., 2014)

Conclusion:

A company in order to succeed in the competitive market needs to have a strong PR team to handle all the pressures that come in the course of time. The public relations define the success or failure of a company. Maintaining a cordial relation with everyone in the market becomes necessary in the market of today. Media relations, fundraising and sponsorship, crisis communication and financial and investor communication – all are important aspects of an adequate and healthy PR system in a company.

References:

Black, S. (2013). Practice of Public Relations. Routledge. 

Boenigk, S., & Scherhag, C. (2014). Effects of donor priority strategy on relationship fundraising outcomes. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 24(3), 307-336.

Brennan, L., Binney, W., & Brady, E. (2012). The raising of corporate sponsorship: a behavioral study. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 24(3), 222-237. 

Cameron, J., Higgins, A., & Lippincott, K. (2012). U.S. Patent Application No. 13/385,771. 

Cook, K. S., Cheshire, C., Rice, E. R., & Nakagawa, S. (2013). Social exchange theory. In Handbook of social psychology (pp. 61-88). Springer Netherlands.

Coombs, W. T. (2014). State of crisis communication: Evidence and the bleeding edge. Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations, 1(1), 1-12. 

Coombs, W. T. (2014). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding. Sage Publications.

Cousens, L., & Bradish, C. (2013). Sport and sponsorship. Managing the Business of Sport: An Introduction, 264. 

Guimard, A. (2013). Investor relations: principles and international best practices in financial communications. Springer.  
Honigman, C., Robinson, W., Carson, T., Holloway, B., & Bistreck, L. (2012, July). The Yin and Yang of Sponsorship and Fundraising. In Getting to the Heart of it All: Connecting Gender Research, WIE Programs, Faculty, & Corporate Partners.


Howard, C. M., & Mathews, W. K. (2013). On deadline: Managing media relations. Waveland Press.


Hutchinson, N. (2016). Batten down the hatches: The dairy industry in crisis?. Geodate, 29(3), 17.  


Jain, R., & Winner, L. H. (2013). Country reputation and performance: The role of public relations and news media. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy, 9(2), 109-123.


Kennedy, J. T. (2012). U.S. Patent Application No. 13/524,961.


Laskin, A. V. (2014). Investor relations as a public relations function: A state of the profession in the United States. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(3), 200-214. 

Mersham, G. M., Theunissen, P., & Peart, J. (2009). Public relations and communication management: An Aotearoa/New Zealand perspective. Pearson Education.  
"PRINZ - PRINZ Awards 2015 - Public Relations Institute Of New Zealand". Prinz.org.nz. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Feb. 2017

Laskin, A. V. (2014). Strategic financial communication.

Martino, V., & Lovari, A. (2016). When the past makes news: Cultivating media relations through brand heritage. Public Relations Review, 42(4), 539-547.

Monti, M., Pelligra, V., Martignon, L., & Berg, N. (2014). Retail investors and financial advisors: New evidence on trust and advice taking heuristics. Journal of Business Research, 67(8), 1749-1757. 

Pang, A., HE Chiong, V., & Begam Binte Abul Hassan, N. (2014). Media relations in an evolving media landscape. Journal of Communication Management, 18(3), 271-294. 

Raupp, J. (2017). Public Relations: Media Effects. The International Encyclopedia of Media Effects. 

Supa, D. (2014). The academic inquiry of media relations as both a tactical and strategic function of public relations. Research Journal of the Institute for Public Relations, 1(1), 1-15.

Timothy Coombs, W., & Jean Holladay, S. (2014). How publics react to crisis communication efforts: Comparing crisis response reactions across sub-arenas. Journal of Communication Management, 18(1), 40-57.

Verhoeven, P., Tench, R., Zerfass, A., Moreno, A., & Ver?i?, D. (2014). Crisis? What crisis?: How European professionals handle crises and crisis communication. Public Relations Review, 40(1), 107-109

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