A whirlwind of public relations

Sitting down to write this very last blog entry, I am filled with mixed emotions. With the end of semester drawing nearer I am excited at the thought of completing another assessment task, but like usual I am full of regret that this is yet another last minute job. Why do I always leave things to the last minute? You would think I would have learnt the last 10 times I rushed an assessment task!

Anyways seen as this is my very last blog entry (no offence Prue, but my excitement is building), I suppose I should make it a good one! Looking back on my blog entries I am sometimes embarrassed by my grammatical errors and my inability to construct a comprehensive sentenceL. However amidst the gloom I have found this exercise to be extremely beneficial. Blogging was a new concept to me, but it offered me a space to proactively engage with and reflect on the content of this course. Looking back I am proud of the knowledge CMNS 1290 has equipped me with. Before entering this course my knowledge of public relations was limited but now I feel better informed and also look forward to the opportunities this course as a whole will provide me with.

Ok so quickly getting back to the task at hand- the second reading for this week.


Richard Stanton

This chapter focused on public relations in Asia and associated countries. It exemplified the complex nature of public relations and explored the social, cultural and economical differences between different countries. A common thread I found in the reading is the necessity for public relations practitioners to be socially and culturally aware.  Although each country is distinguished by cultural values and traits, an important role of public relations is to maintain strong relations despite geographical distance (Stanton, 2009).

Asian public relations are somewhat more complex then it may be in individual Western countries. Competing levels of economic and political activity (Stanton, 2009) between countries prose’s problems for practitioners. Therefore it is necessary for practitioners to act on a global scale, to gain a more holistic view of their profession (Stanton, 2009).

 No single is suitable across the board. However, alike Western countries, relationship building and framing are the main theoretical components used in Asian public relations (Stanton, 2009).

This chapter was both informing and eye-opening. It made me aware of the importance of knowing your place, both socially and culturally. Skills of practitioners are diverse, incorporating communicative, technical, social, marketing and economic aspects. In order to survive in the PR world one must be alert and aware of what is happening in the world, whilst also paying special attention to issues on a local level.


–          Stanton, R. (2009). Focus on Asian Public Relations. In Chia & G. Synnott (eds), An introduction to public relations from theory to practice. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.


The Rising Voice


Kate Fitch

With the rise of digital technology and the increased use of the internet, social media plays a dominant role in both the personal and professional fields.

Almost everyone has access to and  is using social media in some shape or form. “The advent of new media means the communication environment is more complex and more immediate, with ‘instantaneous and far-reaching’ consequences for organisations” (Owyang & Toll 2007, p.1, cited in Fitch, 2009, p.337). With the idea that public relations is significantly concerned with the management of relationships and the management of communication (Fitch, 2009) in mind, it only seems plausible that social media is a great tool for practitioners. But is it necessarily beneficial, excessive or damaging to an organisation?

Real life examples have proven how costly and damaging social media can be. With Olympic star Stephanie Rice losing her Jaguar car sponsorship over a “homophobic slur on twitter” (ABC news, 2010) and comedian Catherine Deveny, former employee of The Age, losing her job over tweets she made at the Logies earlier this year (ABC news, 2010).

According to Dougall (2001, cited in Fitch, 2009) new media is one of the biggest challenges facing contemporary public relations. With social media giving power to more individuals to freely express their thoughts and opinions it is easy for an organisation to be caught in the cross fire.

Looking at new media from a theoretical approach, Anne Gregory (2004, cited in Fitch, 2009) classifies the use of technology into two schools of thought.

–          Firstly seeing technology as an extension of existing tactics or a strong channel of communication.

–          Secondly identifying that technology has contributed to a major shift in the balance of power between organisations and publics.

Personally I am torn between both ideas. With this week’s debate topic being, ‘Social media should be included in contemporary public relations campaigns’ it is clear that like many other things, social media and technology has an array of advantages and disadvantages.

I think that if used in the right context and the right way, social media can act as a promotional tool for PR practitioners and organisations. It can promote reputation and image, whilst connecting to publics on a personal and interactive level. However I do believe excessive use of social media is sometimes overwhelming and painful. For example the influx of messages and invitations I receive on facebook is at times annoying, but other times helpful and informing.

In conclusion I personally believe social media is going to increase and further alter the profession of public relations. A common thread in the chapter and the main point I took from reading it, is that social media can be good and it can be bad, but it is what the organisation does with it that is most important.


–          ABC news online. 2010. Jaguar dumps Rice after Twitter slur. Viewed 15/10/2010, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/07/3004765.htm

–          Ficth, K. (2009). New Media and Public Relations. In J. Chia & G. Synnott (eds), An introduction to public relations from theory to practice. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Image: The driver of reputation


Gwyneth Howell and Nigel De Bussy.

For week 8 there were two readings that both focused on reputation management and the vital role it plays.

Reputation management is a strong focal point of public relations. It incorporates core aspects of an organisation and refers to the outward image, brand, identity and corporate culture an organisation extends to its publics, but mainly focuses on the interpretation and adoption of these aspects (De Bussy, N, 2009).

With publics and stakeholders defined as the “heart and soul of corporate public relations” (De Bussy, 2009, p.227), it only seems fair that management of these relationships is the first step towards a healthy reputation.  With the chapter identifying the strong link between concerned stakeholders, shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, governments and communities (De Bussy, 2009) and improved financial performance for organisations. Noting that “organisations with satisfied stakeholders are also likely to enjoy a good reputation” (De Bussy, 2009, p.232). Personally I find customer service to be a major determinant of reputation. Drawing on past experiences if I am ill-treated or simply don’t like someone’s service I will go elsewhere. Is it really that hard to simply smile and say please or thank you?

According to Mahon and Wartick (cited in De Bussy, 2009), reputation heavily relies on credibility and consistency. It is highly influential and can determine the success or failure of an organisation. But with this in mind can reputation be necessarily managed or controlled?

Personally I am undecided simply due to the fact that reputation is extremely fragile. It can be destroyed in an instant, but can take years to build or mend. Whether it be a poor decision or lack of branding, reputation can have a detrimental and long-term effect on an organisation.

Not only in the corporate world but also in the real world reputation is extremely influential. It is often hard to manage and hard to measure (De Bussy, N, 2009), but it is what you do with the reputation that is the most vital action.

As evidenced in chapter 10 a crisis or issue can lead to a bad reputation. There are a wide range of crises that according to Puachant and Mitroff 1992 (cited in Howell, 2009), tend to cluster together and form five distinctive groups.

–          External economic attacks e.g. extortion

–          Megadamage e.g. environmental

–          Breaks e.g. product defects

–          External information attacks e.g. copyright infringement

–          Psycho e.g. terrorism

This chapter highlights the vulnerability of organisations and also the unpredictable nature of the internal and external working environments. It just goes to prove that reputation cannot be controlled and that customer relations is not the only determinant of success.

Like life not many things go to plan or can be mapped out, as concluded in the chapter, “the most important issue faced by public relations professionals is maintaining context of the message in the public arena’ (Howell, 2009, p.292).


–          De Bussy, R. (2009). Reputation Management: A Driving Force for Action. In J. Chia & G. Synnott (eds), An introduction to public relations from theory to practice. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

–          Howell, G (2009). An Issues Crisis Perspective. In J. Chia & G. Synnott (eds), An introduction to public relations from theory to practice. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.


This chapter highlighted the role of public relations for the organisation, the individual, targeted publics and the environment.  With the introductory paragraph, “communities and stakeholders have high expectations of organisations” (Mehta and Xavier, 2009, p. 191), emphasising the important role publics play in the success or failure of an organisation, it only seems plausible that reputation management and effective communication is a focus point of public relations.

However, in order for public relations practitioners to achieve the desired goals of an organisation, and manage effective relationships and reputation with targeted publics, it is necessary to use a guiding theory (Mehta and Xavier, 2009).

The main focus of public relations is to achieve the desired goals of organisations, and respond and adjust to internal and external change pressures (Mehta and Xavier, 2009). Unfortunately an organisation consists of multiple interconnecting subsystems. This brings the system theory of management into play.

“Systems theory provides a framework through which to view organisations and their relationships with the environment.” (Mehta and Xavier, 2009, p.193). According to Modaff, Delvine and Butler, the systems theory takes a holistic view of an organisation, monitoring input from outside the organisation, whilst noting that a “change to one part affects the whole system” (Mehta and Xavier, 2009, 194).

So with this in mind, what exactly does the role of public relations entail? Personally I am overwhelmed but also excited by the multiple roles and different facets of public relations explored in this chapter. In a nutshell (please note my ignorance and lack of experience), I would describe PR as the connecting link that binds an organisation together. Through effective management of communication and reputation, a public relations practitioner can work with other departmental professionals, to strive to achieve organisational goals and objectives. With management playing a vital role in this process it only seems fair that a practitioner plans, organises, leads and controls (Wood, Zeffane, Fromholtz, Wiesner, Creed, Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn 2006).

Therefore practitioners have a diverse role yet very important role within an organisation. It is the connecting link that holds everything together.


–          Image obtained, 13/10/2010, from http://koifishcommunications.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/cartoon.jpg

–          Mehta, A. & Xavier, R. (2009). Public Relations Management in Organisations. In J. Chia & G. Synnott (eds), An introduction to public relations from theory to practice. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

–          Wood, J, Zeffane, R, Fromholtz, M, Wiesner, R, Creed, A, Schermerhorn, J, Hunt, J & Osborn, R, 2006, Organisational Behaviour Core Concepts and Applications, John Wiley and Sons Australia, Milton, QLD.