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Public Relations Strategy, Theory, and Cases

Praxis at Its Best

by Tricia Hansen-Horn (Author) Adam E. Horn (Author)
Textbook XII, 240 Pages

Summary

Presenting a robust introduction to public relations strategy, this book helps readers explore their perceptions of what strategy is or might be; highlights influencers of strategic decision making such as distinctions among B2B, B2C, and B2G as well as public relations roles and organization types; discusses the education and training value and limitations of the popular case study; and provides a easy-to-understand overview of four theories important for every "student" (academic and non-academic) of public relations to understand. Excellence theory, contingency theory, rhetorical theory, and social capital theory are introduced. In the spirit of praxis (the application of theory to practice), the authors provide theory-specific and other relevant "keys" for use as the reader seeks to apply what is read to actual public relations cases. As might be expected, highly structured case studies that clearly distinguish between objectives, strategies and tactics are included for the purposes of education and training. The featured set of case studies includes: March of Dimes Rebrand; Inside Pediatrics Children’s Mercy Kansas City; Vanity Fair Women Who Do LiftTOUR; TouchNet + Heartland; WeatherTech Public Relations Super Bowl Ad Buy; ZF Race Reporter/Fan Reporter: Europe, Japan and the US; Pinnacle Not So Silent Night; Lee Jeans—Influencer Relations; Fight CRC One Million Strong Collection; Tips for Kids—Seventeen Years Later; and Dairy Queen’s Fan Food Not Fast Food Campaign: Retrospective Cases Analysis from the Outside.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Figures
  • Preface
  • Notes
  • Chapter One: The Good and the Bad of Teaching Public Relations Through Case Studies
  • Case Study Value
  • Case Study Kinds and Limitations
  • Historical and Grounded–Business Cases
  • Generalization and Labeling for Classification
  • Case Study Value through New Ways of Thinking
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Two: Approaches to Public Relations and Strategy: Taking Our Place
  • Public Relations Definition Examined
  • Public Relations as Communication and Business
  • Strategy Highlights
  • Mintzberg: Prescriptive, Descriptive, Transformative
  • Chaffee: Linear, Adaptive, Interpretive
  • Porter: Deliberate
  • Mintzberg and Quinn: Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, Perspective
  • The SRC Strategist
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Three: Public Relations Complexity and Interconnectedness: Economic Area, Organization Type, Situations and Contexts, and Specializations
  • Economic Area: B2B, B2C, and B2G
  • For-profit, Non-profit, Social-enterprise Non-profit and Government
  • Nineteen Public Relations Situations and Contexts
  • Twenty-two Public Relations Specializations
  • Conclusion
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Four: Value in Applied Theory: Writing and Reading Theory: Starting with Excellence Theory
  • Writing and Reading Theory
  • Four Theories to Benefit You: Selection Process
  • Excellence Theory
  • Excellence Foundation: Systems Theory
  • The Excellence Models
  • Press Agentry/Publicity
  • Public Information
  • Two-way Asymmetric
  • Two-way Symmetric
  • Excellence Model Descriptors
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Case Application Lens: Excellence Theory
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Five: Value in Applied Theory: Contingency Theory
  • Contingency Theory
  • Competition, Conflict, and Threat
  • Threat Appraisal
  • The Accommodation—Advocacy Continuum
  • Stances and Stance Taking
  • Contingency Factors Behind “It Depends”
  • Internal Variables
  • External Variables
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Case Application Lens: Contingency Theory
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Six: Value in Applied Theory: Rhetorical Theory
  • Rhetorical Theory
  • The Rhetorical Process
  • Rhetorical Factors
  • Rhetorical Responses
  • Situation and Context: Illustration from Beginning the Journey
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Case Application Lens: Rhetorical Theory
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Chapter Seven: Value in Applied Theory: Social Capital Theory
  • Social Capital as a Relational Network Resource
  • Obligations and Expectations
  • Levels of Social Capital
  • Social Capital Management Outcomes
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter Exercises
  • Case Application Lens: Social Capital Theory
  • Opportunity for Praxis
  • Notes
  • Appendix A: Preface and Instructions for Use
  • A-1. Case Kind
  • Case Title
  • A-2. Strategy
  • Case Title
  • A-3. Economic Area
  • Case Title
  • A-4. Organization Type
  • Case Title
  • A-5. PR Situations and Contexts
  • Case Title
  • A-6. PR Specializations
  • Case Title
  • A-7. Excellence Theory
  • Case Title
  • A-8. Contingency Theory
  • Case Title
  • A-9. Rhetorical Theory
  • Case Title
  • A-10. Social Capital Theory
  • Case Title
  • A-11. Case Rubric Master
  • Case Title
  • Appendix B: Public Relations Cases for Praxis
  • Preface and Instructions for Use
  • B-1. Update: March of Dimes Rebrand
  • Background Since 2014 and Current Evaluation
  • Background for Initial Rebrand Efforts (Reprinted with Permission)
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-2. Inside Pediatrics Children’s Mercy Kansas City
  • Background
  • Background to Implementation
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Evaluation
  • B-3. Vanity Fair Women Who Do LiftTOUR
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline (15 weeks)
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-4. TouchNet + Heartland
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goals
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-5. WeatherTech Public Relations Super Bowl Ad Buy
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-6. ZF Race Reporter/Fan Reporter Program: Europe, Japan, and the US
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-7. Pinnacle Not So Silent Night
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-8. Lee Jeans—Influencer Relations
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-9. Fight CRC One Million Strong Collection
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline (One Year)
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • B-10. Tips for Kids—Seventeen Years Later
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Evaluation
  • Continuing Tips for Kids Impact
  • Note
  • B-11. Dairy Queen’s Fan Food Not Fast Food Campaign: Retrospective Case Analysis from the Outside
  • Background
  • Situation Analysis
  • Statement of the Opportunity
  • Goal
  • Big Idea
  • Objectives
  • Publics
  • Messages
  • Strategies
  • Tactics
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Evaluation
  • Notes
  • Index

| vii →

Figures

Figure 2.1. Strategic Planning Checklist

Figure 4.1. Excellence Theory: Four Models and Descriptors

Figure 5.1. The Dimensionality of Threats

Figure 5.2. Contingency Continuum

Figure 5.3. Contingency Factors

| ix →

Preface

You can do all kinds of things in a public relations career. It’s full of exciting options for skill development, new ways of thinking, community impact, and self-actualization. Conversations abound about why and how public relations “takes” place; ongoing discussions highlight the many roles it does, can or, some argue, should play anywhere and in any culture. As a means to an end, most of us who spend our professional lives introducing others to public relations point to specific public-relations-in-action cases as examples, as, “for instances” instances. When we do, we usually have three objectives: (1) to introduce others to the many traditionally recognized areas in, and for which, public relations is and can be practiced, (2) to acquaint others with public relations cases so that they get an idea of what has been done before and with what effects, and (3) to acquaint readers with “best practices.” When we classify what has gone on in recognized areas we label public relations activities. When we provide examples of what’s gone on before we provide action-oriented ideas as learning opportunities. We do a lot of both through the printed word and, to a lesser degree, video and face-to-face settings.

When we read case studies for the purpose of understanding more about public relations, we can find ourselves hard-pressed to figure out just why a particular case is presented as an example of one kind of public relations or another. Similarly, we can find it hard to figure out how public relations actions relate to what else is going on in the organization. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how public ← ix | x → relations initiatives affect and are affected by other forms of professional communication (like employee training or procurement legalese), and business operations (such as legal counsel or buying practices), or how culture can or does facilitate or limit what takes place. Additionally, it’s easy to assume that the public relations implications of one particular case begin and end under an author-labeled umbrella (such as media relations or investor relations or public affairs and so on). Thus, it becomes really easy to miss other important parts of the situation and the corresponding opportunity to learn more. In addition, we may not recognize the many other relevant orders of business, public relations strategies and initiatives, and relationships that do, could or even should be and, in the process, miss more strategic insights and options.

Unfortunately, when we learn from a case study approach we don’t always think to ask the why and how questions leading to alternaquences (possible alternatives linked to possible consequences). We forgo them, meaning we don’t critically analyze the case. We simply take what is written at face value and move on without completely understanding why and how something occurred, we can’t explain what really went on in the case or, at least, was likely going on in it.

In addition, it’s easy to assume that relevant public relations implications begin and end under a label such as media relations, community relations, public affairs, or investor relations, and, thus, be unprepared for the complex reality that really does define what we do. Public relations graduate preparation for the complexity of reality was a topic of discussion at a recent International Public Relations Research Conference.1 For instance, we may label something a community relations case, but to reach our public relations objectives, we also have to engage in media relations and public affairs initiatives. This means, for example, that if we work in the media relations department of a professional football team, what we do still has to line up with the interests of the community relations department, the team’s public affairs initiatives, ticket sales, security, marketing, legal counsel, and the like. We can’t act in a vacuum. Nothing would get done or, if it did, chaos would reign. The intent of this book is to help its readers more clearly understand that complexity and interconnectedness.

The prequel to this book is Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey. The 2014 book’s purpose is to transform the next generation of public relations colleagues-in-training to “strategists first and tacticians second”2 who are comfortable asking why and how, and asking these questions a lot. It encourages all public relations professionals to be SRC strategists (aka self-reflexive contextualizing public relations strategists), making sure that we are careful of our assumptions, choices, interpretations and intentions and of how we construct reality through our communication of or about them. The purpose of the present book, Public Relations Strategy, Theory and Cases is to keep the conversation going about what, how and ← x | xi → why something is happening and who we are as participants in it. A primary goal is to introduce readers to the good and bad associated with learning from case studies. Following that, the discussion of what it means to a SRC public relations strategist is revisited, and different perspectives of strategy that might or can guide your public relations efforts are reviewed. Practical, easy-to-apply questions and exercises are provided to help readers recognize assumptions about and operative definitions of strategy; as well as what kind of economic business areas (B2B, B2C, B2G) and organizational environments (for-profit, non-profit, government) structure public relations initiatives; as well as which public relations situations and contexts (from advancement to sustainability) and specializations (from agency to volunteer) are involved. Finally, in the spirit of new perspective taking, four theories are introduced as lenses through which the questions of how and why can be asked with the expectation of new understandings. Embedded in the idea of perspective taking through theory is the notion of ethical imperative, a reality that no public relations professional can ignore. We explore excellence theory, contingency theory, rhetorical theory, and social capital theory from a public relations perspective.

The really good thing about all of the new ideas and theories introduced to you in chapters one through seven, is that we develop easy-to-use keys (found in Appendix A) to help you apply what you learn. And, in Appendix B, we included some great cases of current and ongoing public relations that you can use with those keys. We provide case insight into the following 11 cases: March of Dimes Rebrand Update; Inside Pediatrics Children’s Mercy Kansas City; Vanity Fair Women Who Do LiftTOUR; TouchNet + Heartland; WeatherTech Super Bowl Ad Buy; ZF Fan Reporter/Race Reporter; Pinnacle Not So Silent Night; Lee Jeans—Influencer Relations: Fight CRC One Million Strong; Tips for Kids—Seventeen Years Later and DQ’s Fan Food, Not Fast Food. At the end of Appendix A, we even included a Case Rubric Master. You can use it as a sort of hub for recording the analyses you do of the cases chapter by chapter. And, remember, this is a process that is to take place over a course of time, not in one sitting. You can apply the keys we provide and develop an understanding of each of the 11 cases from four different perspectives, or from four different theoretical lenses. Then, you can pull all of your observations together on the Case Rubric Master for the purposes of comparison.

Learning to feel comfortable with complexity and recognizing interconnectedness and guiding assumptions is more important now than ever before. The Pew Center for Research has clearly identified that today’s generation, especially younger people, have a “thirst for instant gratification, settle for quick choices, and lack patience.”3

While it’s true that great public relations professionals must have a sense of urgency, remembering in the words of General George Patton “that a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow,” they must also work for best practices ← xi | xii → that come from patience, delayed results, and careful choice-making. The great public relations strategists of the future will be those whose visions go beyond the immediate (and who voluntarily silence rss feeds, texts, tweets, pins, email notices, Facebook and Instagram posts, etc.) and, in fact, who pause long enough to be strategically passionate about telling others’ stories (and helping others live them); embrace short- and long-term consequential thinking; and are willing to live with ambiguity, making sure what they do brings respect, honor and success to those they represent and to the public relations profession. They won’t settle for satisficing, which means taking the first option they recognize; instead, they will optimize, which means doing what it takes to engage best practices and capitalize on sustainable desirable results.

Notes

1. University of Missouri Synor Fellow D. Myers, personal communication, March 4, 2016.

2. Hansen-Horn, T. & Horn, A. (2014). Strategic planning for public relations: Beginning the journey. New York: Peter Lang, p. xi.

3. Anderson, J. & Rainie, J. (February 29, 2012). Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives. Pew Research Internet Study. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/2012//02/29/millenials-will-benefit-and-suffer-due-to-their-hyperconnected-lives.

| 1 →

The Good and the Bad of Teaching Public Relations Through Case Studies

One of the tried and true methods of teaching something new is to point to examples of what we want others to learn about and understand. In public relations that’s known as teaching and learning through case studies. In fact, academic and professional case study books abound and their place in the classroom and training room is well documented. In addition, the Public Relations Society of America makes available its Silver Anvil Award case winners (see http://www.prsa.org/Awards/SilverAnvil/Search); these are also used by many of us as we teach and learn about what’s new, innovative, pure genius, and the like. Additionally, a large number of organizations, especially agencies, regularly publish case studies as examples of their work, of what they have done, and can do (see, for instance, “our work” at Crossroads www.crossroads.us, Weber Shandwick www.webershandwick.com or MSL GROUP North America www.northamerica.mslgroup.com). This chapter highlights the power for learning behind the use of public relations cases, some of the limitations set by traditional approaches to case study education (including a discussion of historical and grounded approaches to case study records), and the potential to bring new ways of thinking and perspective taking to case use. ← 1 | 2 →

Case Study Value

Learning through cases really can provide all of us with a lot of value; we can take away new information, understanding, and ideas. Take, for instance, the three cases presented in Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey (Hansen-Horn & Horn, 2014). Much like all case studies intend, the best practices of the University of Central Missouri’s Innovative PR firm’s #teamUCM Social Media Night sponsorship, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Huey P. Long Bridge Widening campaign, and Crossroads’ March of Dimes Rebrand are profiled.1 In addition to showcasing best practices, the intent was to help readers understand how background information drove the “in a nut shell” situation analysis, how the situation drove the recognized problem or opportunity, the recognized statement of the problem or opportunity accounted for target publics while driving objectives, the objectives determined strategy, strategy drove each tactic, and evaluation started when objectives were decided. A widely-approved formula for planning, implementing, and reporting public relations campaigns is illustrated step by step in each case. The authors assume that their model is a best practice so they showcase it through the way they record their cases for reader consumption.

Details

Pages
XII, 240
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433139383
ISBN (PDF)
9781453919088
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433139390
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433120794
ISBN (Softcover)
9781433120800
Language
English
Publication date
2018 (February)
Tags
Strategy Strategic Strategic planning strategist communicatio business return on investment SRC public relations strategist
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XII, 240 pp., 5 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Tricia Hansen-Horn (Author) Adam E. Horn (Author)

Tricia Hansen-Horn (PhD, Purdue University) is a professor and PR program coordinator at the University of Central Missouri, CEPR. Specializing in theory/praxis, pedagogy, strategic planning, and campaign development, she is first author of Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey (2014) and co-editor of Public Relations: From Theory to Practice (2008). Adam E. Horn (PhD, University of Missouri-School of Journalism) is an associate professor at the University of Central Missouri, where he designed and implemented UCM's strategic planning for public relations course. He is an active sports consultant, specializing in media relations and crisis communication strategy. He is the second author of Strategic Planning for Public Relations: Beginning the Journey (2014).

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Title: Public Relations Strategy, Theory, and Cases