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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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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...

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