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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 Four: Value in Applied Theory: Writing and Reading Theory: Starting with Excellence Theory


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Value in Applied Theory

Writing and Reading Theory: Starting with Excellence Theory

Excellent SRC strategists apply theory to their understandings of what is going on (WIGO), what can go on, and what should go on. When you can do this yourself, the point in your professional journey will be reached at which you’ll be a sought-after decision-maker and counselor. This chapter discusses the ins and outs of reading theory, introduces four theories judged as valuable to every public relations student, and ends by introducing you to excellence theory.

Writing and Reading Theory

If your first reaction to reading a chapter about theory was negative, as in “this is going to be boring,” or “ugh, theory has nothing to do with what I want to do,” or “I shouldn’t have to learn theory because it has nothing to do with the real world,” you’ve already limited your professional potential. So before you make your mind go blank, ask yourself this question. If your parents gave you $4,000 last weekend to pay your tuition and fees this week, but you (are 21 or older) lost it all at the casinos last night, what will you do? Will you immediately call your parents because you know they’ll be happy to give you more money? Will you find it hard to breathe and panic at the thought of having to tell your parents because they’ll be...

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