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Public Relations Strategy, Theory, and Cases

Praxis at Its Best

Tricia Hansen-Horn and Adam E. Horn

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.

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


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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; 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, Weber Shandwick or MSL GROUP North America 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....

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