Modern public relations is always facing new challenges and trends as globalization and social media are instantly changing at a rapid pace and altering the perspective of the occupation. Both social media and globalization are bringing countries and audiences closer which is both an opportunity and a challenge for international and Australian professionals. It is therefore highly important for PR practitioners to be aware of the constant changing environment and what the public opinion is in regard to the client organization and to always have a plan of action in place. Operand, 2012) This essay will discuss the new demands that PR is facing in the twenty first century, the importance of elaborating with other departments such as marketing focus groups and an organization’s reputation. Globalization is not a new concept, as organizations grow and expand, the world becomes more connected and interdependent; countries are changing in terms of politics, technology & economics. As more organizations are becoming transnational, there is a greater need to communicate; social media is the direct connection between organizations and their target audiences.
While these vast changes are occurring, they are also shaping the modern world of PR; on the one hand both social media and liberation are providing the profession with many growth opportunities and career furthering. But then on the other hand, both trends are making it that much harder for PR agents to for see changes and strategies for the future. (Broom, Cutlet, & Center, 2009) As globalization is forcing organizations to expand, there is higher need for PR practitioners to work with other internal departments, especially marketing, to gather all the information required to reach organizational objectives.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Marketing and public relations are often mistaken for the same department or tool, however s modern PR is growing the understanding of the two processes is becoming more clear. Marketing is about satisfying the wants and needs of a consumer through the sale of goods and services, it is all about driving an organization’s sales strategy, and PR is a tool used in order to attract customers, investors and various stakeholders. (Sigmund, Ward, Winner, & Bin, 2011) Due to globalization and social media, it is not as simple for Organizations to retain customers, the concept of brand loyalty is diminishing.
In today’s society the modern consumer has the luxury of a wide range of choices in the market lace; globalization and social media has expanded the opportunities for consumers to shop all around the world and get the product and services that suit their needs at a lower price. Therefore there is a higher importance placed on marketing and PR teams to work together to build stronger promotional strategies for their client organizations.
Marketing may provide the direction of sales, however PR is a necessary tool in order to communicate an organization’s message, to build strong relationships with it’s publics, and to retain a healthy public image. (Butteries, 2011) In the 21st entry, if an organization tarnishes their image with a small mistake, this can be devastating for their business as consumers have the option of easily finding another organization that will fulfill their wants and needs and give them the ability to be associated with a company that upholds a certain image.
In order for an organization to have a good relationship with it’s public, it must first determine how the public views the organization, this is done through research. PR practitioners may be able to write and communicate really well, however without a sound research base, those skills re pointless. Research is highly important in order to form a strong strategy and minimize risks associated with executing a PR plan.
A PR practitioner should be well informed of the clients needs, resources, goals and target market in order to design a well thought through plan that will reduce uncertainty and deliver results that are aligned with an organization’s goals. (Chic & Snotty, 201 2) Because public opinion is constantly and rapidly changing research can also help to better understand a publics’ perception in regards to an issue or an organization at a certain point in time. (Broom et al. 2009) One way to gain such knowledge can be done through focus groups.
Focus groups are a qualitative measure of observation that requires the gathering of a small group of participants that are picked based on certain aspects. There is a moderator that will start a discussion among the participants by asking open ended questions and as they talk about their feelings, views and perceptions towards an issue or an organization, as the moderator takes notes. (Sigmund et al. , 201 1) This is helpful in measuring attitudes, awareness levels and behavior in regards to a topic and provides PR recantations insight in to the public opinion.
Holding a focus group and using the results collected can be an important technique that will alter a PR strategy or help monitor various trends and matters that can predict the direction of a PR plan in the future. Conducting thorough research will provide a PR practitioner with the knowledge of the publics view in regards to a client organization and gain an understanding as to what the reputation of that organization is according to its target audience.
Reputation of an organization is highly important in this day and age of globalization, where iris of all organizations have the ability to be known around the world and secondly with the use of social media, an organization’s reputation can be publicly reviewed online within a matter of minutes. A practitioner needs to view an organization’s reputation as social capital that needs to be managed, maintained and built on. Reputation management needs to be closely monitored in order to know what the public is feeling or thinking in regards to the organization . Chic et al, 2012) What the target audience thinks or knows about the organization is very powerful and is valuable to for PR practitioners n order to alter their strategies that will help the organization be portrayed in a certain light. One international organization that has built up it’s reputation and has managed to maintain it, is Apple Inc. Apple managed to do so by not only focusing on the external public, but also their internal public, that is their employees.
Apple first of all hired those individuals who have a passion for technology and a thirst to learn more and improve their skills, Apple then aligned it’s employees with the organizational goals by creating workplace activities and perks that made working for Apple a good experience and then good reputation was born among the staff. (Bimodal, 201 0) A good reputation among employees is beneficial as “word of mouth” is a powerful tool, especially when partnered up with social media such as backbone.
Building a reputation is no easy task and can take time and effort, however internal and external PR practitioners need to ensure that this practice is done in an ethical manner. First it is important to mention that there are two types Of PR practitioners; internal and external. Internal practitioners are an employee of the organization and work directly for them and an external recantation is usually provided by a PR company to manage the brand image of the organization, however may also have other clients. Depending on the size of the organization, sometimes both types are employed. Butteries, 201 1) Whether internal or external, practitioners have a responsibility to build a brand image of a client in an ethical manner. Bad ethical practices lead to a tarnished reputation of both the practitioner and the client. However it must be said that there are times when PR practitioners are acting ethically but mistakes still happen. For example Susan Bole’s PR team used the washrag smarty-pants when promoting her new album on Twitter, when the mistake was realized the washrag was quickly removed and replaced with a more appropriate one. Nixon, 201 2) There is still a debate among the public whether that was an accident or a clever ploy to promote Susan Bayle at any cost. Accidents happen, however if the incident was deliberate, it can be said that this is an ethically incorrect way for a PR team to behave as this does not promote the album in the manner the client would have initially intended. Another organization with a poor brand image is BP, along with an oil spill in 01 0, Up’s reputation was already damaged with poor safety practices that lead to industrial fires and leaking pipelines. Ellen, 201 2) PR practitioners need to be prepared for unexpected changes and must have various strategies in place that protect the clients reputation or minimize the damage as much as possible in times of a crisis. A strong existing relationship between the client and its public may minimize the affect of an unforeseen crisis on it’s reputation, therefore PR practitioners need to be establishing the reputation of an organization before a crisis occurs. It is evident that modern PR is being shaped by two major factors; globalization and social media.
Never the less, PR practitioners are working with marketing teams in order to attract the target audience and to influence their perception of the client organization. Changing the perception of the organization leads to a healthy reputation and better prepares the client for any unforeseen accidents in the public eye. PR practitioners must also behave ethically when building a client’s reputation, especially in a day and age when a public relations mistake can be on social media websites within minutes as discussed in the case of Susan Bayle.