Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 31

Political Public Relations: spin, persuasion or relationship building?

Dr Nigel Jackson (University of Plymouth) Abstract Although historically there is a clear link between public relations and the political sphere, the term political public relations is rarely used. This paper seeks to explain the concept of political PR within a campaigning, representative and governing context. Initially, the paper will explore the meaning of PR in terms of eight approaches, rather than through the orthodox textbook approach of creating a single definition which explains its meaning. These eight approaches are: relations with publics; the Grunigian perspective; hype; persuasion; relational; reputation management; relations in public; and community building. These eight approaches are not totally exclusive, there is both common ground and grey areas, but they provide the basis of a model for understanding political PR. The paper will then apply this eight approaches model to existing literature to assess which, if any, best explain current political PR behaviour. The findings suggest that the two most dominant approaches to be found within literature on the political sphere are hype and persuasion, with the latter being the single most popular approach. Four of the approaches occupy a political niche: relations with publics; the Grunigian paradigm; relational; and reputation management. Two approaches, relations in public and community building, are largely absent within political PR literature. Lastly, this paper will conclude with a working definition. Political PR is essentially persuasive as it represents an interest, and requires representative democracy where different competing interests can be heard. Although political PR may often be shouted in a loud voice so it is heard, it should utilise a range of both loud and soft PR techniques using both direct and indirect communication channels. Political PR encourages a rich interaction at a range of different levels between those active, interested or even uninterested in the political process and political discourse.

Copyright PSA 2010

Political Public Relations: spin, persuasion or relationship building?

Public relations (PR) is a widely recognised term, and political actors rely on communication to reach their key audiences, yet the term political public relations is rarely used. Rather, commentators tend to refer to the term political communication (Chaffee 1975, Franklin 1994, McNair 1995, Negrine 1996). Yet throughout its historical development there has been a clear link between public relations and the political sphere. There is no consensus as to when PR began (1), but some sources identify the use by Government of stone tablets to provide advice to farmers in what is now the Middle East as an early example (Guth & Marsh 2006). Political discussion in ancient Greece was particularly associated with the Rhetorical school, which puts persuasion at the forefront of such political debate amongst the elite. A potentially early example of spin was when Eric the Red discovered a cold rocky land in 982, and called it Greenland to encourage settlers. The spread of Christianity in medieval Europe owes much to PR techniques such as word of mouth, and the early use of the printing press. Our modern term propaganda is based up the Catholic Churchs communication programmes of the sixteenth century, the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide. The 1773 Boston Tea Party can be viewed as a political stunt to galvanise opposition to the 1773 Tea Act. Up until the late nineteenth century what might be identified as PR was usually associated with politics or Government, and not the private sector. A more commercial use of PR is first identified with what Grunig and Hunt (1984) refer to as press agentry, when entrepreneurs such as the circus owner PT Barnum sought to attract paying spectators through hype and publicity. However, as noted by Baskin and Aronoff (1992), this largely unethical business strategy was increasingly criticised in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century America. Up to World War I was PRs seedbed years (Cutlip 1994) as commercial organisations slowly adopted and adapted it. At this stage the terms PR and propaganda had essentially the same meaning ( LEtang 2004), indeed Edward Bernays, the father of PR published a book in 1928 called Propaganda. But despite this growth in commercial PR, Davis (2000) suggests that governments played a key role in the development of PR throughout the twentieth century. For example, during both World War I and II, governments used propaganda as a tool to persuade the public that their war was right and just, by excluding or ignoring other points of view. Moreover, the example of 1930s Germany encouraged propaganda to become a negative term, but we must note that this, especially within politics was not always the case. More recently authors such as Ewen (1996) and Stauber and Rampton (2004) suggest that much commercial public relations practice is still propaganda. However, it would be wrong to suggest that within the political sphere public relations has been bastardized into propaganda. Rather, there is evidence that public relations played, and continues to play, an important role in the development of democratic representative government. Hieberts (1966) biography of the early American PR practitioner, Ivy Lee, noted that in 1921 he made the link between politics and PR clear: 2

Copyright PSA 2010

We live in a great democracy, and the safety of a democracy will in the long run depend upon whether the judgements of the people are sound. If the judgements are to be sound, they will be so because they have the largest amount of information on which to base those judgements. A practical use of PR is suggested by Moloney (2006) when he notes that as a communicative agent PR enables different interests to interact, and moreover he notes that where democracy has spread there is more evidence of PR. As part of this development of democratic structures Davis (2000) identifies the importance of the growth of pressure groups giving voice to individual concerns, and so shaping public opinion and public policy. PR influence and is influenced by politics, Governmental systems and political debate, and recent developments in PR are shaping this relationship. Until very recently political communications was dominated by primarily one public relations technique: media relations. Yet PR includes a wide range of tools: indeed Newsom et al. (2000) note that the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), have identified fourteen different activities, and White and Mazur (1995) suggest thirteen. Early research (Lazarsfeld et al. 1944, Berelson et al. 1954) considered the possible impact of print media and interpersonal communication on voting behaviour. From the early 1960s through to the early 1990s research focused primarily on the impact of mass communication, especially television (Klapper 1960, Blumler & McQuail 1968). As a result, political communication stressed the impact of journalists and political actors on shaping public opinion (Blumler & Gurevitch 1995). However, since the mid-1990s the dominance of mass communications has been challenged by three interrelated developments. First, the introduction of the permanent campaign (Blumenthal 1980), has blurred the difference between campaigning and governing (Ornstein and Mann 2000), so that politicians seek to dominate the agenda every single day (Heclo 2000). Second, there has been an increased professionalization of communication, with public relations and marketing professionals transferring their skills to the political arena (Farrell 1996, Plasser 2002, Negrine et al. 2007). Third, the growing importance of new communications technology, especially the Internet, has encouraged political actors to use a much wider range of PR tools (Blumler & Kavanagh 1999). Such developments can be grouped together under the concept of post-modern communication, whereby political communicators do not rely on one dominant channel to reach their target audiences (Norris et al. 1999, Norris 2000). It is against this conceptual background that the broader concept of political public relations, and not the narrower term political communication, may best explain communication within a representative, campaigning and governing context. This paper seeks to explain what is political PR? To achieve this, the first section will introduce a framework for understanding PR as a general concept. The second section will then examine existing literature to identify eight possible approaches to PR. The third section will apply this model to identify which best explains current political PR. The last section will draw conclusions about the practice of PR within a political context.

Copyright PSA 2010

Assessing the meaning of PR Textbooks usually provide at least one, if not several, definitions of PR. However, as Harlow (1976) was able to identify 472 different definitions a definitional approach has severe limitations, and Moloney (2006) suggests that no agreed definition of PR is achievable. More relevant to understanding PR, is to identify common threads amongst definitions in the form of approaches or schools of thought (Hutton 1999, Mackay 2003, Ruker and Vercic 2005, LEtang 2008). Consistent with this viewpoint, Ihlen and Van Ruler (2007) suggest that a single methodological approach to understanding PR should be replaced by a multi-paradigm approach. This paper will follow this approaches-to-PR format to create an overall framework (see Table 1). However, there is both common ground and grey areas between the eight approaches, and so they are not rigidly divorced or mutually exclusive from each other. This model does, however, provide a means for assessing how, why and with what impact PR may be used. To evaluate the literature the assessment of each school of thought has been divided into five features: purpose; tools used; where applied; intended effect; unintended effect. Each approach has a different starting point, namely what it is trying to achieve or what problem it is a response to. There exists, as noted above, a wide range of channels or tools available to the public relations practitioner, but that certain tools may have a close fit with particular approaches. The application of each approach addresses where and how it is used. Lastly, the actual impact of each form of PR is divided into intended and unintended effects. Table 1 in about here

Approaches to PR Relations with Publics This approach, associated with PR practice in America, interprets public relations by inverting the components of the term public relations, so that it is relations with publics. The focus of this approach is that PR practitioners need to identify, reach and then manage the relationship with their key audiences. This has perhaps been best summed up by Grunig and Hunt (1984 p4), who referred to PR as the management of communication between an organisation and its publics. However, this approach is more than, as Gordon (1997) states, that public relations is about organisations and publics; rather PR seeks to help make PR practitioners more effective communicators by better understanding their publics (Hutton 1999, Newsom et al. 2000, Cutlip et al. 2006). The focus on publics is often closely associated with practitioners who write how to guides. For example, Jefkins and Yadin (1998) identify ten basic publics which are applicable to all practitioners. Publics are categorised by overall headings which imply some shared characteristic such as the community, employees or investors. A more academic approach, situational theory, seeks to use research skills to manage finite communication resources efficiently and effectively. Situational theory seeks to identify who and why, in a particular scenario, will be active communicators seeking information, and therefore more likely to respond to messages sent to them 4

Copyright PSA 2010

(Grunig & Hunt 1984, Grunig 1997). As Van Leuven and Slater (1991) note, publics are interested in those issues which have a consequence for them. However, Sha (2006) suggests that situational theory can go further than just descriptively identifying who may be active communicators, but also predict who could be an active public in any given situation. Situational theory has been applied to a range of areas, including reaching publics in other countries (Botan 1992, Sriramesh & Vercic 2003, Sriramesh 2004), public discussion of HIV (Chay-Nemeth 2001) and terrorism (Lee & Rodriguez 2007). However, there are limitations to the theory. First, it does not explain organisational message content (Vasquez 1993). Second, it requires investment on research, which not all organisations can realistically afford. Moreover, this approach has an interesting implication, namely the assumption that PR is a science, not an art. Grunigian Paradigm This approach (2), which is believed to be the dominant view in the Western world (LEtang 2008), has clear links with the relations with publics approach. A key tenet of the Grunigian paradigm is that the role of PR should be to establish mutual understanding between an organisation and their publics (Newsom et al. 2000, Baines et al. 2003, Cutlip et al. 2006, Guth & Marsh 2006, Seitel 2007, Fawkes 2008). This implies the development of a mutual benefit (Grunig and Hunt 1984), for both the organisation and their publics. By entering into symmetrical communication with each other, both the organisation and their publics learn what each wants, to mutual benefit. The Grunigian paradigm does not necessarily rely on any particular PR tools, but it seeks to be strategic in nature, addressing the big issues facing an organisation (Grunig & Grunig 1992). The core to this approach is the need for developing dialogue. Originally this viewpoint suggested that normatively any feedback should be two-way symmetrical (Grunig and Hunt 1984, Springston et al. 1992), though this was later amended to recognise that this might not be appropriate for all organisations in all situations (Grunig & Grunig 1992). The theory recognizes that PR involves power relationships, and that these may be weighted to the benefit of one interest (Dozier et al. 1995). However, the sub-text of this approach is nearly always that for communication to be effective, long-term and strategic, there needs to exist a win-win situation for both an organisation and its publics. The Excellence model suggests that two-way symmetrical communication does not just automatically happen, but that it requires an inclusive and open culture within an organisation (Grunig 1992, Dozier et al. 1995). Because information is more freely available, Excellence implies that effective two-way symmetrical communication provides wider society with benefits as well. However, critics suggest that the Grunigian paradigm is utopian (Heath 2001, McKie 2001, Moloney 2006, Heath 2008).

Copyright PSA 2010

Hype One much criticised approach to PR is that which takes a publicity based approach: to make noise to reach consumers. The intended effect is essentially to increase sales, usually in the short term, and can therefore be viewed as a bums on seats operation. The main tool for raising interest in a product through publicity based activity is media relations, though increasingly the Internet provides a means of gaining publicity. This approach is generally limited to certain industries such as entertainment (King 2005), books and music (Grunig and Hunt 1984) and sports (Cutlip et al. 2006). Additionally, it is suggested that during wartime governments use this more propagandistic approach (Moloney 2006, Edwards 2006). Such communication is persuasive in nature and one-way in direction. Largely this approach applies to press agentry (Grunig & hunt 1984), which was historically dominant in the nineteenth century (Newsom et al. 2000, Davis 2004), but still influences some PR practice. Press agentry has been widely criticised for being based on one-way communication, publicity-centred and potentially unethical (Grunig and Hunt 1984). It is, therefore, viewed as manipulative and has undermined the credibility of PR as a whole. However, this publicity-based approach is not just the preserve of the maligned press agentry, it also forms part of a more respectable form of PR, namely marketing public relations (MPR). Marketers seek to use PR as a means of bringing attention to a product, particularly through the media (Harris 1993, Kitchen & Papasaloumou 1997, Ries and Ries 2002). Hype may help marketers promote their products through puffery, and so imply they have more value than they may have (Moloney 2006). Harris and Whalen (2006) suggest that we need to distinguish between hype and buzz. They suggest that an audience may not view a hyped product as authentic, but that product communication which creates buzz is seen as cool by the audience (Lewis & Bridger 2001). As with press agentry, MPR essentially utilises media relations to increase visibility of products.

Persuasion Suggesting that PR is a persuasive activity implies a pluralist approach where power relationships are not equal, and so PRs role is to give voice to competing groups (Bimber 1998, Moloney 2006). The purpose of persuasion, therefore, is to reach, inform and then change the attitudes/behaviour of key audiences. It is this purpose which has drawn a comparison to propaganda (Ewen 1996, Miller 2003, Stauber & Rampton 2004), though Moloney (2006) draws a distinction by suggesting that PR is weak propaganda: in representing interests it does so within a competitive, if not always equal, public arena. This approach has its roots in the ancient Greek rhetorical school (Heath 2001, Mackay 2003, LEtang 2008). Aristotle suggested that there are three features to effective rhetoric: ethos (character of the speaker); logos (message content); pathos (audience mood). This has more recently been presented by Perloff (2004) as: the source of the message; the message; and the personality of the message receiver. This implies that the message, in the form of symbols, is just as, if not more, important than the process (Miller 1989, Heath 2008). However, persuasive techniques and messages need to be ethical to be distinguished from propaganda (Miller 1989, Messina 2007). An ethical approach may be achieved if 6

Copyright PSA 2010

communication is based on discourse, and hence inherently dialogic (Heath 2008). Because it represents interests, the persuasive approach to PR encourages competing interests to enhance the information flow to the wider public. Given that persuasion is based on exerting symbolic control (Miller 1989), it can use a very wide range of direct and indirect PR tools. Moreover, it can be both tactical, for example, persuading a customer to purchase an item and strategic in shaping the view of key stakeholders to an organisation. Essentially there are two, not mutually exclusive, ways in which PR can persuade. First, informational, where persuasion is by logical argument, but this assumes that recipients make decisions rationally, and so the head rules. The use of reason is contained in the logos concept, and Grunig and Hunt (1984) imply the existence of this informational approach when they suggested that non-for-profit organisations may seek to persuade through logical force of their argument. For example, Ewles and Simnett (1985) and Williams and Wells (2004) note how public information campaigns based on rational argument and statistics, have sought to inform key audiences to help them change their behaviour. Second, if the heart rules, then a more emotive approach to the message may be suitable. Considering the power of linguistics, Holtgraves and Lasky (1999) found that the style of the speaker and not just the message had an impact on their persuasive power. If the persuasive approach is correct, then messages can change the power relationships between groups. Relational A paper by Ferguson (1984) can be viewed as the beginning of the relationship management approach to PR. Ferguson did not deny that PR might seek to build mutual understanding, indeed there has been an attempt to link the Grunigian and relational approaches (Grunig & Huang 2000), rather what was central to PR was building relationships with key stakeholders. The relational approach focuses on a small number of influential stakeholders, and as a consequence takes a long-term strategic approach to PR. This approach utilises a wide range of tools, but as it seeks to build networks it is likely to stress personal interaction such as meetings, lobbying, sponsorship and corporate hospitality. There are clear links to the Grunigian paradigm because a dialogic approach is assumed, and as a result interactive Internet technologies are considered to support the relational approach (Taylor et al. 2001, Jo & Kim 2003, Seltzer & Mitrook 2007). The ultimate aim of the relational approach is to build the reputation of an organisation based upon trust (Ledingham & Bruning 1998). This is usually focused on a small number of key stakeholders, and so issues management is one of the main applications of relationship building (Bridges & Nelson 2000, Regester & Larkin 2002, Bruning et al. 2008). Here PR stresses the quality of the relationship, not the quantity (LEtang 2008). It is also suggested, however, that building relationships can create loyalty, so that during a crisis those organisations with higher levels of loyalty amongst key stakeholders are more likely to survive (Coombs & Holladay 2001). There is evidence that the relational approach applies to some cultures which have had only recent exposure to public relations. The quanxhi tradition in China (Chen & Culbertson 2003), has influenced the use of PR so that it is very relational based. Similarly, Taylor (2004) has noted that in Eastern Europe in general, and Croatia specifically, there is a heavy reliance on a range of relational methods, such 7

Copyright PSA 2010

as personal invitations to events. Whilst the relational approach may encourage organisations to respond to concerns of society, as articulated by pressure groups, it does suggest a strategy that may place customers into the second level of communication priorities. Reputation Management This approach, with some cross-over with relational management, focuses on identifying, managing and changing the corporate reputation of an organisation. This includes an organisations image, branding and overall reputation. Whilst there is no clearly agreed single definition (Gotsi & Wilson 2001), the focus on reputation implies that PR is used persuasively to shape the opinion of both key audiences, and wider public opinion, so communication is both narrowcast and broadcast. The assumption behind this approach is that a concept as intangible as reputation, can actually have a tangible effect on an organisations operations, revenue and bottom line (Fombrun 1995, Gray & Balmer 1998, Fombrun & Van Riel 2004, Griffin 2008). Conversely, organisations facing a crisis are likely to have their reputation adversely affected (Regester & Larkin 2002). In essence, corporate reputation is designed to develop a competitive advantage for both commercial and not-for-profit sector organisations (Doorley & Garcia 2007). Therefore, the ultimate aim is the long-term survival of that organisation. As the aim of reputation management is essentially strategic, and so seeks to reach beyond just customers (Oliver 2007, Griffin 2008), a wide range of tools are used including issues management, community affairs and corporate social responsibility (CSR). These can enhance the reputation of the organisation by providing benefits to wider society. For example, Cornelissen (2008) notes that the desire to improve corporate reputation has encouraged the growth of CSR. The emphasis on issues management, community affairs and CSR, reflects Regester and Larkins (2002) view that corporate reputation is influenced more by what an organisation does than by what it says. The implication is that corporate reputation is not merely the concern of the PR department, but of the whole organisation (Gray & Balmer 1998). Indeed, Lewis (2001) notes that corporate reputation is influenced not by individual PR activity, but by the actions and policies of the whole organisation. Relations in Public Where the relations with publics approach is essentially an American influenced version, relations in publics is essentially a mainland European perspective. For example, in the Germanic and Slavonic languages public relations means working in public (Ruler & Vercic 2002, Ihlen & Ruler 2007). This approach comes from a very different political and philosophical tradition, where what eventually became PR was concerned with issues of human rights and freedom of speech. The historical background to this approach is discussions in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century concerning political representation. The starting point for this approach is very much within the tradition of philosophers such as Montesquieu and Rosseau, and so PR is closely aligned to the struggle for democracy (Ruler and Vercic 2002). What mattered, therefore, was who had the right to have their voice heard, and so this approach is tied up with a concern with social and power relationships. This European approach, therefore, is consistent with pluralism (Ihlen & Ruler 2007), and 8

Copyright PSA 2010

is closely associated with the concept of the public sphere (Habermas 1989, Vercic et al. 2001). The purpose of PR is to encourage the flow of information within society, and so it is viewed as relations in the public sphere (Ruler & Vercic 2002). Evidence for the manifestation of this European approach is provided in the Delphi research of PR experts in 25 countries (Vercic et al. 2001). The study was designed to create a European Body of Knowledge (EMBOK), which might challenge the worldwide applicability of American-based models. The study identified four dimensions to the European approach: managerial; operational; reflective; and educational (Ruler et al. 2000, Vercic et al. 2001, Ruler & Vercic 2002). These four dimensions, the authors suggest, indicate that in Europe PR is not about building relations with publics. Rather, the European approach stresses that PR reflects on how the organisations views fit with changing views of society, and to help all members of an organisation become more effective communicators (Ruler & Vercic 2002). This emphasises the boundary spanning role of the PRO, stressing the use of issues management, negotiated persuasion and internal communications. This approach is likely to be strategic, ethical and encouraging of minority views.

Community Building Arising from the mid-West of America, this approach draws on the relational approach, but goes a stage further, to suggest that the role of PR is to create and maintain a sense of community (Kruckeberg & Starck 1998). The relational approach seeks first to meet the needs of the organisation which may implicitly benefit wider society, but the community building approach explicitly wants to enhance and improve society. Whereas the pluralist persuasive school believes PR represents an interest in a competitive world, community building suggests that PR can be used to reduce conflict (Kruckeberg & Starck 1998, Ledingham 2001, Cutlip et al. 2006). The benefit to PR is through an indirect two-step process. By helping to create a sense of community, for example through CSR and community affairs, the organisation will in the long term benefit from a more stable community. The clear focus on the importance of culture, and changing it, implies a link to the Grunigian paradigm (LEtang 2008), and it is assumed that the tools used will be dialogic (3). There is also a clear link with McLuhans (1964) idea of a global village, because organisations exist within a global community (Kruckeberg 1995). This communitarian approach sets the goal of PR to be wider than self-interest, and seeks to help bring cultures together (Culbertson & Chen 1997). Kruckeberg suggests that this communitarian approach is now evolving into organic theory, which suggests that an organisations responsibility is to all publics, not just active publics (Kruckeberg & Vujnovic 2007). As a result, community building could be the means by which political democracies within a capitalist economy survive. Political PR Although the term political communication dominates, a few commentators have sought to provide a definition of political PR. Not unsurprisingly, there is an assumption that political PR is essentially persuasive in nature. For example, Froehilch & Rudiger (2005 p18) noted that political PR was The use of media outlets to communicate specific political interpretations of issues in hope of garnering public 9

Copyright PSA 2010

support. Whilst recognising the tactical use of media relations, Moloney & Colmer (2001) suggest that political PR is a strategic tool where parties use policy, personality and presentation to gain voter attention. Continuing this theme, Brissenden & Moloney (2005) suggest that political PR acts as a trellis, and so can be a defensive strategy, hiding what parties dont want the media and public to know. That the term has also been used, almost in passing, by other authors (Davis 2000, Esser et al. 2001, Trammell 2006) without actually being defined, yet there is significant literature upon which such an interpretation can be based. Table 2 outlines how the eight schools of thought of PR apply to political PR. Table 2 in about here Political Relations with Publics Within the political sphere the evidence for this school comes from political marketing. Whilst opinion polls have been used since President Herbert Hoovers administration (1928-32) (Eisinger 2000), the equivalent of Situational Theory, focusing on electioneering efficiency and effectiveness is much more recent. Political parties have increasingly sought to collect data on voters through polling and focus groups (Lees-Marshment 2001, Worcester & Baines 2006, Lilleker & Negrine 2006). The impact of this has been to help shape party messages, for example, in the 1980s both the SDP and the Conservative Party targeted its messages to key audiences (Scammell 1995, Wring & Horrocks 2001). The key question is not whether parties have been using a more research centred approach, but why and with what effect. The use of polling was believed to have helped reposition Clinton in 1994 (Worcester & Baines 2006), and shift the Labour Party from a four times losing party to a landslide in 1997. McGough (2005) suggests that Sinn Fein used segmentation to reach key existing and new audiences. The explanation for such benefits is, according to Scammell (1999), that increased research has made political parties more sensitive to the electorates views. However, whilst noting that for the first time polling took centre stage at the U.S. 2000 elections, Sherman & Schiffman (2002) suggest this was not so much parties researching their key audiences, as trying to make sense of what the electorate were thinking and their likely voting behaviour. In Australia, OCass (1996) argues that such polls were used to assess the success of the campaign, rather than to help develop policy. Savigny (2007) goes further and suggests that the Labour Partys misuse of focus groups was unscientific, and confined democratic debate to the few. The literature, therefore is divided between that which believes a more research orientated approach reflects a proactive stance seeking to influence an elections result, and that which suggests such activity is merely a description of what happened. The Grunigian Political Paradigm Whilst probably dominant within current PR literature, there is very little evidence of the Grunigian paradigm within the political sphere. There is, as noted above, some use of research to identify what electors/citizens think, but this is essentially asymmetrical rather than designed to create a win-win situation. Crozier (2007) notes that any increase in information loops are of more value to outside bodies such as pressure groups rather than political parties. The one political arena where there is some theoretical or empirical support for the Grunigian paradigm is within the narrow confines of the Internet. Hiebert (2005) argues that online dialogue could 10

Copyright PSA 2010

lead to greater participation, and hence restore democracy. However, he also notes that any new technology is a battleground between those who want more dialogue, and those who want to control such technologies. Despite this, there is some evidence that at the margins of political power online political PR does support this approach. There is evidence that pressure groups, and smaller parties, are more likely to use two-way symmetrical communication as a means of recruiting new support because they have limited access to the electorate through the media (Rommele 2003, Jackson 2006). Of more mainstream politics, Jackson & Lilleker (2004) note that MPs are more likely to use two-way communication specifically for their constituency function but not others. On the whole then, the Grunigian paradigm is used by those with limited access to political power and the traditional mass media. Political Hype Politicians have sought to influence the media, either directly or through press officers, since at least the nineteenth century. For example, Martinelli & Mucciarone (2007) outlined the activities of Stephen Early, Roosevelts press officer, during the 1930s. They found that he relied on issuing press releases and building personal relationships with journalists in order to promote the Presidents messages on the New Deal. In the UK, Heffernan (2006) has pointed out that the Prime Ministers press officer has played a similar role since the early 1960s. What appears to have changed, however, is the intensity of how politicians seek to manage the media. Broadly accepting the view that politics is now a mediated process (Heffernan (2006), through a dominant mass media (Esser et al. 2001), political actors have sought to raise visibility for their causes, policies and key personnel through the media. This might include launches of new policies, pseudo-events in the form of stunts and promoting speeches. Gaber (2000) suggests that such above the line communication is perfectly acceptable, and he identifies five different activities, as largely designed for information provision. However, the permanent campaign has resulted in the growing use of professional PR practitioners seeking to gain competitive advantage in managing the public agenda through the media (Esser et al. 2000, Plasser 2002). Gaber (2000) suggests that this has lead to below the line communication, of which he identities 17 activities, which is more about gaining competitive advantage than providing information. Whilst primarily dominated by media management, political actors attempts to spin have also been online, for example, Dorling et al. (2002) noted that New Labours website sought to present statistics, in what they suggested was a disingenuous way, to prove that everyone was better off under Labour. There is emerging a divide between traditional publicity based PR which is considered acceptable, and a more modern variant associated with spinning messages (Wright 1998, Esser et al. 2001, Jones 2004). Whilst there is general acceptance of the use of traditional media management to provide information, this is not the case with the permanent campaign based spinning. There are concerns about the ethics of spin (Jones 2001), and the reliance on professional spinners (Esser et al. 2001). All the critiques of spin suggest it has created problems for the body politic. Esser et al. (2001) suggest that the use of spin has created meta-communication whereby journalists respond by attacking the spinners. Heffernan (2006) believes that spin has encouraged the cult of political 11

Copyright PSA 2010

personality, and so concentrating power in the hands of a few well-known politicians. Spin has been attacked as being control freakery (Heffernan 2006). Overall, such developments may lead to citizen disengagement from the political process. Politics the art of persuasion? Whilst political actors seek to inform and then change the attitudes and behaviour of citizens/voters, which is entirely consistent with other persuasion theory, the political arena stresses another aspect. As noted by Moloney and Colmer (2001: 965), during an election parties and candidates also seek to create an obfuscating trellis of presentation, so that PR is also used as a defensive strategy designed to hide information. Therefore, as David (2004) notes, most of a political PR operators time is spent blocking and reacting to negative coverage, not providing information. However, it must be noted that not all attempts at persuasion are successful, Deacon and Golding (1991) note that Conservative Party did not persuade either the media, or the wider public, on the issue of the Poll Tax. The attempt to persuade creates a clear link to the hype approach, where political actors, especially during election campaigns, seek to control the process of information provision. This approach uses a wide range of PR tools, and often in slightly different ways to other approaches. For example, media relations is a staple indirect route used, but the intended audience is not always transparent, and whilst it is often the citizen/voter it can also include internal party audiences and other political elites who may read such public stories (Davis 2004). There is some evidence that impact of the media is via a two-step process during elections (Norris and Curtice 2008). During election campaigns we find regular use of events, especially in the form of stunts, public meetings and rallies. These events can be planned, or as in the case of prescotts punch unplanned (Moloney & Colmer 2001), but they can influence the media agenda. The use and the impact of the Internet as a persuasive tool is complex, with websites essentially informative, but email can potentially be more persuasive. Political parties have been unable to use email as a persuasive tool to members of the public (Jackson & Lilleker 2007), but they have used private email lists during elections to mobilise activists offline activity (Jackson 2006). Yet, Jackson (2008) notes that some MPs have been able to use non-election time enewsletters to influence voting behaviour of citizens. The reason for this difference in persuasion towards members of the public, is that MPs e-newsletters enhance their representative role, and so are a much more subtle means of persuasion than party appeals. Whilst clearly political actors seek to use rational argument to persuade, there is evidence that they use a much wider range of persuasive techniques. For example, the Liberal Democrats use of an election message of 1P on income tax for education might at first appear merely a detail of education policy, but was in reality designed to provide both a rational and emotive reason for people to vote for the third party (Grender & Parminter 2007). Many political messages are couched in emotional terms, indeed, Westen (2007) suggests that the emotional side of the brain is more influential in determining voting behaviour than the rational. Politicians enhance emotional messages in a number of ways. For example, during the Conservative Party leadership election campaign, David Cameron was able to use two conference speeches to demonstrate his youthful appeal, and so move from an 12

Copyright PSA 2010

outsider to the front runner (Denham & Dorey 2006). Oswald Mosley, and the British Union of Fascists, in the 1930s made use of symbols such as creating a celebrity myth, showmanship at meetings and charismatic speeches by its leaders (Gottlieb 2006). Occasionally political parties have used celebrity endorsement, so Labours first Party Election Broadcast (PEB) during the 2001 General Election included Geri Halliwell, Dickie Bird and Tanni Grey-Thompson (Moloney and Colmer 2001). However, persuasion is not just about the message itself, but can also be influenced by other factors. For example, Mullen & Burkitt (2005) suggest that the reason the UK eventually entered the European Union is that the political, economic and media elite were in favour of entry, and this bias was reflected in media debate. Individual psychological factors can also be persuasive, so that Caparava et al. (2007) identifies the importance of personal traits. They suggest that in Italy and the U.S. people vote for the candidate they believe whose traits are most like their own. Fein et al. (2007) conducted an experiment which suggested that the individuals watching the U.S. Presidential debates were influenced by the reactions of the audience around them. Persuasive techniques tend to be used by political actors to serve their own interests, and this does not always mean they encourage greater participation within the political process. Political Relationship Management Essentially this approach is the preserve of pressure and lobbying groups who seek to influence government policy (Kovacs 2001). Such activist groups need to consider whether they can have the effect they want alone, or that strategic alliances are necessary. How To Lobby books suggest that coalition-building can be an appropriate strategy (Lattimer 2000, Kober-Smith 2000). Kovacs (2001) assessed how groups interested in broadcasting policy came together, and noted the importance of strategic relationship building, that working together could enhance the credibility of the campaign. In considering why lobby groups may take a relational approach, Aitken-Turff and Jackson (2006) suggest that game theory can help explain why lobbying groups would seek co-operation with other groups. A relational approach, by maximising ideas, contacts and political muscle, can be the means by which individual activist groups become part of the policy community. There is very limited evidence that politicians have sought to develop a relational approach. Indeed, Jackson & Lilleker (2004) directly sought to test whether MPs communications to citizens signified that they used this approach. They found that MPs did not use their public relations tools to build relationships, though they suggested that the Internet had potential. Later research has indeed identified that email has been used to build politicians-citizens relationships. Political parties have used their publicly available e-newsletters to develop networks (Jackson & Lilleker 2007), and individual MPs as elected representatives have been even more successful (Jackson 2008). The capacity to enhance a dialogue with citizens through feedback mechanisms, potentially, supports the development of online political relationship building. Political Reputation Management There is evidence that those political parties which have lost a series of elections, eventually turn to reputation management as the solution to their problems (Lees13

Copyright PSA 2010

Marshment 2001). Having lost four elections the Labour Party developed new policies and made a number of organisational changes. Scrapping Clause 4, changing the leadership election rules and rebranding the party as New Labour were not primarily designed to communicate with internal audiences. Rather, the aim of such organisational reforms was to make Labour electable by changing its corporate reputation (Wring 1998). Similarly, the Conservatives first under Hague (Lees-Marshment & Quayle 2001), and then Cameron (Bale 2006) have introduced organisational reforms designed to influence public opinion on the electability of the party. Indeed, Bale (2006) makes a direct link between what Blair did in the 1990s and what Cameron is trying to achieve now. Individual elected representatives also seek to develop their corporate reputation, sometimes at the expense of their partys corporate image. Negrine & Lilleker (2004) note that MPs have sought to use local campaigns to build up their own reputation. Some individual MPs have sought to differentiate themselves from their national party, and many Liberal Democrats using community politics have stressed the local party image. Such local reputation management is driven by a belief that it may help develop a personal vote, and so buck any national voting behaviour trends. Political Relations in Public This approach is largely absent from the literature. Rose (2008) suggested that the linguistic diversity of Europe prevented the development of a European public sphere. However, he did note that with English becoming the lingua franca, it may be possible that such a public sphere is based around the English language in the future. There is little evidence of a distinct European approach to political PR. Political Community Building There is limited evidence that political PR has been used to encourage community building. Copus (2007) notes that many Liberal Democrat politicians use locally focused Community Politics, which can bring together local communities. However, he also suggests that for many Liberal Democrat candidates, Community Politics is more an electoral tool than about political transformation. The one example of where PR does appear to have been deliberately used to enhance the development of civil society is in Bosnia. Taylor (2000) noted that media relations was used to assist relationship building between groups and individuals within Bosnia. She suggests that media relations helps encourage public communication, and so help build democracy. Taylor posits the view that media relations, by encouraging a free press and debate can help developing countries build civil society. The evidence from the literature, however, is that the ability of PR to build political communities is more one of potential than actuality. Conclusion There is both common ground, and contested areas, between the eight separate approaches. For example, the linkage between relations with publics, the Grunigian perspective, relational management and community building is, to varying degrees, the importance of research and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. Similarly, the hype, persuasion, reputation management and relations in public approaches, all seek to influence their target audiences by changing their attitudes and behaviour. Whilst this implies that mutual understanding and influence 14

Copyright PSA 2010

are two key determinants of the nature of public relations, it would be erroneous to suggest that approaches can only be distinguished by these two concepts. There is evidence of some linkage between approaches which might appear opposites on this measurement of mutual understanding and influence. For example, allowing minority groups an opportunity to have their voice heard, can also be found to varying degrees within the persuasion, relations in public and community building approaches. Broadly, approaches may be viewed alone, or with a natural affinity with other approaches, but we cannot conclude that this is always the case. The relationship between these approaches is occasionally very complex and subtle. Applying an approach rather than a definitional methodology, helps our understanding of PR by introducing new categories. Looking at the eight approaches we can identify at least three different meanings/categories. The first is distinguished by the intent of PR. Therefore, two of our approaches (relations with publics, and hype) are primarily tactical in nature. They are more likely to be used to meet precise short term objectives. The other six approaches, may also be used as tactical tools, but they can also apply to strategic issues, such as overall corporate image or power relations. The second category is that we can identify PR by operational style. So the focus for relations with publics, hype and relational approaches is on how the PR is conducted. Whereas the third category, PR by outcome focuses on what the impact is. Thus reputation management, persuasion, relations in public and community building focus on ends not the means. One approach, the Grunigian paradigm could be argued to focus on both the process, and the end by stressing two-way symmetrical communication. We can, therefore, differentiate PR in terms of intent, operational style and outcome. Considering the literature on political PR, only some of the approaches have been applied to PR activity within the political sphere. The two most dominant approaches, in terms of amount of literature, are hype and persuasion. The existence of the permanent campaign appears to have influenced the growth of political spin as a means of winning short-term policy, personality and election campaigns. That persuasion is the single most popular approach, suggests that commentators focus on how policies can be changed and how voters loyalties can be changed. Four of the approaches appear to occupy a political niche: relations with publics, Grunigian paradigm, relationship management and reputation management. These four approaches tend to be applied for either specific purposes, or to meet the needs of those who have limited political power and influence. Two approaches, relations in public and community building, are largely absent within political PR literature. Political PR is drawn from a narrower well of ideas than generic PR. Where generic PR may be weighted towards the strategic and outcome based, political PR is more balanced between the three categories. Whilst there is clearly common ground between hype and persuasion, there are also clear differences. Therefore, political PR covers all three categories, with tactical and strategic, operational style and outcome all present. It is clear, that unlike political communication, political PR uses a wide range of PR tools to meets its objectives. Where political communication is essentially limited to use of mass media, political PR stresses a much bigger toolkit. The political PR practictioner is a media agent, 15

Copyright PSA 2010

who will use whatever tools may be to hand which they believe will be effective. Political PR is ubiquitous, influencing both the tactical and the strategic level, the means and the end. Political PR is largely persuasive in nature, designed to meet the needs of the practitioner, and so utilises both direct and indirect communication. Moreover, political PR should not be viewed as a one-shot in isolation from other communication, rather it is an integrated approach where messages using different channels aim to reinforce one another. Where political communication can be viewed as the result of the interaction between political actors, journalists and public opinion, political PR focuses on how political actors influence a wide range of gatekeepers (such as bloggers) to reach individuals. The long history of PR, stretching back to early civilisation, suggests a clear link between the techniques of PR and political activity both in and out of government. Indeed, at various historical times technological change, societal change and human conflict have acted as spurs to the development of communication techniques. And yet despite the fact that some 500 definitions of PR have been identified (Harlow 1976), there may only be three or four definitions of political PR. One particular problem for identifying a definition of political PR is the association of Governmental and political actors use of propaganda. Once a fairly neutral term synonymous with PR, propaganda has since the 1930s it has taken on a more sinister meaning. It is against this background that political spin is sometimes tainted as being propagandistic. However, Moloney (2006) has provided a link between the two by suggesting that PR is weak propaganda, in that is seeks to argue the case for an interest within a pluralist political system. This implies that political PR is essentially persuasive. Assessing the literature on political PR, and applying the eight approach model, creates a definition. Political PR is essentially persuasive as it represents an interest, and requires representative democracy where different competing interests can be heard. It provides a practical link between abstract political concepts of governing, key political actors and society, and so can present the human side of politics. It operates at both the strategic level in terms of how decision makers, decision influencers and the public should interact, but also the tactical such as how to win a specific campaign. The audience of political PR is other political actors, the media, citizens between elections and voters during elections. Although political PR may often be shouted in a loud voice so it is heard, it should utilise a range of both loud and soft PR techniques using both direct and indirect communication channels. Political PR is not primarily associated with one tool, rather it is integrated so the political PR practitioner uses a range of techniques and channels to reinforce and amplify their messages. Political PR encourages a rich interaction at a range of different levels between those active, interested or even uninterested in the political process and political discourse. Footnotes (1) For a review of the literature on the history of public relations see Duffy, M (2000) Theres no two-way symmetric about it: a post-modern examination of public relations textbooks, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(3) pp294-315. 16

Copyright PSA 2010

(2) For a comprehensive explanation of the thought processes behind the development of this approach see Grunig, J., (2006) Finishing the Edifice: ongoing research on public relations as a strategic management function Journal of Public Relations Research 18(2) pp151-176. (3) Though note, that despite the possible linkages, Kruckeberg critiques both the relational and Grunigian approaches as limited in a letter to the PRaxis Bulletin Board on 8th December, 2006, online at http://praxis.massey.ac.nz/board.html

References Aitken-Turff, F. and Jackson, N., (2006) A mixed motive approach to lobbying Journal of Public Affairs 6 pp84-1-1. Baines, P. Egan, J. Jefkins, F., (2003) Public Relations: contemporary issues and techniques London: Elsevier. Bale, T., (2006) PR man? Camerons Conservatives and the symbolic politics of electoral reform Political Quarterly 77(1) pp28-34. Baskin, O., Aronoff, C. (1992), Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice, 3rd ed., Dubuque, IA: W Brown. Berelson, B. Lazarsfeld, P. McPhee, W., (1954) Voting: a study of opinion formation in a presidential campaign, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Bimber, B., (1998) The Internet and Political Transformation: populism, community and accelerated pluralism Polity 31(1) pp133-160. Blumenthal, S., (1980) The Permanent Campaign: inside the world of elite political operatives, Boston: Beacon. Blumler, J & Gurevitch, M (1995) The Crisis of Public Communication London: Routledge. Blumler, J. and Kavanagh, D., (1999) The Third Age of Communication: influences and features Political Communication, 16 pp209-230. Blumler, J. and McQuail, G., (1968) Television in Politics: its uses and influence, London: Faber. Botan, C., (1992) International Public Relations: critique and reformulation, Public Relations Review 18 pp149-159. Bridges, J and Nelson, R (2000) Issues Management: a relational approach In Ledingham, J. and Bruning, S., (2000) Public Relations as Relationship Management: a relational approach to the study and practice of public relations London: Lawrence Erlbaum.

17

Copyright PSA 2010

Brissenden, J. and Moloney, K., (2005) Political PR in the 2005 UK General Election: winning and losing with a little help from spin Journal of Marketing Management 21 (9-10) pp1005-1020. Bruning, S. Dials, M. Shirka, A., (2008) Using dialogue to build organisation-public relationship, engage publics and positively affect organisational outcomes Public Relations Review 34(1) pp25-31. Caparava, G. Vecchione, M. Barbarabelli, C. Frales, C., (2007) When Likeness Goes With Liking: the case of political preference Political Psychology 28(5) pp609-631. Chaffee, S., (ed) (1975) Political Communication: issues and strategies for research Beverley Hills, Ca: Sage. Chen, N. and Culbertson, H., (2003) Public Relations in Mainland China: an adolescent with growing pains In Sriramesh, K. and Vecic, D., (eds) The Global Public Relations Handbook: theory, research and practice Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Chay-Nemeth, C., (2001) Revisiting Publics: a critical archaeology of publics in the Thai HIV/AIDS issue Journal of Public Relations Research 13(2) pp127-161. Coombs, W.T. and Holladay, S., (2001) An Extended Examination of the Crisis Situations: a fusion of the relational management and symbolic approaches Journal of Public Relations Research 13 (4) pp321-340. Copus, C., (2007) Liberal Democrat Councillors: community politics, local campaigning and the role of the political party Political Quarterly 78(1) pp128-138. Cornelissen, J., (2008) Corporate Communication: a guide to theory and practice (2nd edition) London: Sage. Crozier, M., (2007) Recursive Governance: contemporary political communication and public policy Political Communication 24(1) pp1-18. Culbertson, H. and Chen, N., (1997) Communitarianism: a foundation for communication symmetry Public Relations Quarterly 42 (2) pp36-41. Cutlip, S., (1994) The Unseen Power: public Relations: a history, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Cutlip, S. Center, A. Broom, G., (2006) Effective Public Relations (9th edition) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Davis, A., (2000) Public Relations, news production and changing patterns of source access in the British national media Media Culture & Society 22(1) pp39-59. Davis, A., (2003) Whither Mass Media & power? Evidence for a critical elite theory alternative Media Culture & Society 25 95) pp669-690. Davis, A (2004) Mastering Public Relations Palgrave Palgrave. Deacon, D. & Golding, P., (1991) When Ideology Fails: the flagship of Thatcherism and the British local and national media European Journal of Communciation 6 pp291-313. 18

Copyright PSA 2010

Denham, A. and Dorey, P., (2006) A Tale of Two Speeches? The Conservative leadership election of 2005 Political Quarterly 77(1) pp35-42. Dooley, J. and Garcia, H., (2007) Reputation Management: the key to successful public relations and corporate communications London: Routledge. Dorling, D. Eyre, H. Johnston, R. Pattie, C., (2002) A Good Place to Bury News? Hiding the detail in the geography on the Labour Partys website Political Quarterly 73(4) pp476492. Dozier, D. Grunig, L. Grunig, J., (1995) Managers Guide to Excellence in Public Relations and Communication Management Lawrence Erlbaum. Edwards, L (2006) Public Relations Theories: an applied overview: system theories In Tench, R and Yeomans, L eds) Exploring Public Relations Harlow: Pearson. Eisinger, R., (2000) Gauging Public Opinion in the Hoover White House: understanding the roots of presidential polling Presidential Studies Quarterly 30 (4) pp643-661. Esser, F. Reinemann, C. Fan, D.,(2000) Spin Doctoring in British and German Election Campaigns: how the press is being confronted with a new quality of political PR European Journal of Communication 15 (2) pp209-239. Esser, F. Reinemann, C. Fan, D., (2001) Spin Doctors in the United States, Great Britain and Germany: metacommunication about media manipulation Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 6(1) pp16-45. Ewen, S., (1996) PR! A Social History of Spin New York: Basic Books. Ewles, L. and Simnett, I., (1985) Promoting Health: a practical guide(5th edition) Chichester: Wiley. Farrell, D., (1996) Campaign strategies and tactics In Le Duc, L. Niemi, R. Norris, P., (eds) Comparing Democracies: elections and voting in global perspective, pp160-183 Thousand Oaks: Sage. Fawkes, J., (2008) What is Public Relations In Theaker, A., The Public Relations Handbook (3rd edition) London: Routledge. Fein, S. Goethals, G. Kugler, M., (2007) Social Influence on Political Judgements: the case of Presidential debates Political Psychology 28(2) pp165-192. Ferguson, M (1984) Building Theory in Public Relations: inter-organisational relationship paper present to Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication, Gainesville, Fl. August. Fombrun, C., (1995) Reputation: realizing value from the corporate image Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. Fombrun, C. and Van Riel, C., (2004) Fame and Fortune: how successful companies build winning reputations, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

19

Copyright PSA 2010

Franklin, B., (1994) Packaging Politics: political communications in Britains media democracy, London: Edward Arnold. Froehilch, R. and Rudiger, B., (2006) Framing political public relations: measuring success of political communications strategies in Germany, Public Relations Review,32(1) pp18-25. Gaber, I., (2000) Government by Spin: an analysis of the process Media, Culture and Society 22 (4) pp507-518. Gordon, J., (1997) Interpreting Definitions of Public Relations: self-assessment and a symbolic interactionalism-based alternative, Public Relations Review 23(1) pp57-66. Gottlieb, J., (2006) The Marketing of Meglomania: celebrity, consumption and the development of political technology in the British Union of Fascists Journal of Contemporary History 41 (1) pp35-55. Gotsi, M. and Wilson, A., (2001( Corporate Reputation: seeking a definition, Corporate Communications: an international journal 6(1) pp24-30. Gray, E. and Balmer, J., (1998) Managing Corporate Image and Corporate Reputation, Long Range Planning 31 (5) pp695-702. Grender, O. & Parminter, K., (2007) From My Vote to The Real Alternative: selling the Liberal Democrats Political Quarterly 78(1) pp108-116. Griffin, A., (2008) New Strategies for Reputation Management London: Kogan Page. Grunig, J. and Hunt, T (1984) Managing Public Relations, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Grunig, J. and Grunig, L., (1992) Models of public relations and communication In Grunig, J (ed) Excellence in Public Relations Lawrence Erlbaum. Grunig, J., (1997) A situational theory of publics: conceptual history, recent challenges and new research In Moss, D. MacManus, T. Vercic, D., (eds) Public Relations Research: an international perspective London: International Thomson Business. Grunig, L and Huang, Y., (2000) From organisational reffectiveness to relationship indicatorsd: antecedents of relationships, public realtions strategies and relationship outcomes approach In Ledingham, J. and Bruning, S., (2000) Public Relations as Relationship Management: a relational approach to the study and practice of public relations London: Lawrence Erlbaum. Guth, D and Marsh, C., (2006) Public Relations: a values-driven approach (3rd edition) London: Pearson. Habermas, J., (1989) Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Harlow, R (1976) Building a Public Relations Definition, Public Relations Review 2 (44) pp34-42. Harris. T., (1993) The Marketers Guide to PR New York: John Wiley. 20

Copyright PSA 2010

Haywood, R., (1997) All About Public Relation: how to build business success on good communications (2nd edition) London: McGraw-Hill. Heclo, H. (2000) Campaigns and Governing: a conspectus In Ornstein, N. and Mann, T., The Permanent Campaign and its future Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute and The Brookings Institution. Heath, R., (2001) (ed) Handbook of Public Relations Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Heath, R., (2008) Rhetorical Theory, Public Relations and Meaning: giving voice to ideas In Hansen-Horn, T. and Neff, B., Public Relations: from theory to practice London: Pearson. Heffernan, R., (2006) The Prime Minster and the News Media: political communication as a leadership resource Parliamentary Affairs 59 (4) pp582-598. Hiebert, R., (1966) Courtier to the crowd : the story of Ivy Lee and the development of public relations. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Hiebert, R., (2005) Commentary: new technologies, public relations and democracy Public Relations Review 31 pp1-9. Holtgraves, T. and Lasky, B., (1999) Linguistic Power and Persuasion Journal of Language and Social Psychology 18 (2) pp196-205. Hutton, J., (1999) The Definition, Dimensions and Domain of Public Relations Public Relations Review 25 (20 pp199-214. Ihlen 0. And Van Ruler, B., (2007) How Public Relations Works: theoretical roots and public relations perspectives, Public Relations Review 33 (3) pp243-248. Jackson, N. and Lilleker, D., (2004) Just Public Relations or an Attempt at interaction? British MPs in the Press, on the Web and In Your Face European Journal of Communication 19(4) pp507-533. Jackson, N., (2006) Banking Online: the use of the Internet by political parties to build relationships with voters In Lilleker, D. Jackson, N. Scullion, R., (2006) The Marketing of British Politics: political marketing at the 2005 General Election, Manchester: Manchester University Press. Jackson, N and Lilleker, D (2007) Seeking unmediated political information in a mediated environment: the uses and gratifications of political parties' e-newsletters Information Communication and Society 10 (2) pp242-264. Jackson, N (2008) MPs and their e-newsletters: winning votes by promoting constituency service Journal of Legislative Studies 14 (4) pp488-499. Jefkins, F & Yadin, D., (1998) Public Relations (5th edition) Harlow: Pearson. Jo S. and Kim, Y., (2003) The Effect of Web Characteristics on Relationship Building Journal of Public Relations Research 15 (3) p199-223. Jones, N., (2001) The Control Freaks: how New Labour gets its own way London: Politicos. 21

Copyright PSA 2010

Jones, N., (2004) After Spin: but what about parliament Political Quarterly 76(3) pp318-325. King, C., (2005) Making the case for an entertainment approach to public relations, Public Relations Review 32 (1) pp74-76. Kitchen, P. and Papasaloumou, I., (1997) Marketing Public Relations Marketing Intelligence & Planning 15 (2) Klapper, J., (1960) The Effects of Mass Communication, New York: The Free Press. Kober-Smith, M., (2000) How to Lobby, Cavendish. Kovacs, R., (2001) Relationship Building as an Integral to British Activism: its impact on accountability in broadcasting Public Relations Review 27 pp421-436. Kruckeberg, D., (1995) The Challenges for Public Relations in the Era of Globalisation Public Relations Quarterly 40(4) pp36-39. Kruckeberg, D. and Starck, K., (1998) Public Relations and Community: a reconstructed theory New York: Praeger. Kruckeberg, D. and Vujnovic, M., (2007) Global advertising and public relations In Kamalipour, Y., (ed) Global Communication Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. LEtang, J (2004) Public Relations in Britain: a history of professional practice in the Twentieth Century, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. LEtang, J., (2008) Public Relations: concepts, practice and critique London: Sage. Lattimer, M., (2000) Campaigning Handbook London: Directory of Social Change. Lazarsfeld, P. Berelson, P. Gaudet, H., (1944) The Peoples Choice, New York, NJ: Columbia University Press. Ledingham, J. and Bruning, S., (1998) Relationship Management in Public Relations: dimensions of an organisation-public relationship Public Relations Review 24 (1) pp55-65. Ledingham, J., (2001) Government-community relationships: extending the relational theory of public relations, Public Relations Review 27(3) pp285-295. Lee, S. and Rodriguez, L., (2007) Four publics of anti-bioterrorism information campaigns: a test of the situational theory Public Relations Review 34(1) pp60-62. Lees-Marshment, J., (2001) Political Marketing and British Political Parties Manchester: Manchester University Press. Lees-Marshment, J. & Quayle, S., (2001) Empowering the Members of Marketing the Party? The Conservative reforms of 1998 Political Quarterly 72(20 pp204-212. Lewis, D. and Bridger, D., (2001) The Soul of the New Consumer, London: Nicholas Brealey.

22

Copyright PSA 2010

Lewis, S., (2001) Measuring Corporate Reputation Corporate Communications: an International Journal 6(1) pp31-35. Lilleker, D. and Negrine, R., (2006) Mapping a Marketing Orientation: can we detect political marketing only through the lens of hindsight In Davies, P. and Newman, B., (eds) Winning Elections with Political Marketing PP33-58. McGough, S., (2005) Political Marketing in Irish Politics: the case of Sinn Fein In Lilleker, D. and Lees-Marshment, J., (eds) Political marketing: a comparative perspective Manchester: Manchester University Press. McKie, D (2001) Updating Public Relations: new science, research paradigms and uneven developments In Heath, R (ed) Handbook of Public Relations Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. McLuhan, M., (1964) Understanding the Media: the extensions of man New York: Mentor. McNair, B., (2003) An Introduction to Political Communication, London: Routledge. Mackay, S (2003) Changing Vistas in Public Relations PRism 1(1) online at www.praxis.bond.edu.au/prism/papers/refereed/paper3.pdf. Martinelli, D. and Mucciarone, J., (2007) New Deal Public Relations: a glimpse into FRD press secretary Stephen Earlys work Public Relations Review 33 pp49-57. Messina, A., (2007) Public relations, the public interest and persuasion: an ethical approach Journal of Communication Management 11 (1) pp29-52. Miller, G., (1989) Persuasion and Public Relations: two Ps in a pod In Botan, C. and Hazelton, W., (eds) Public Relations Theory London: Lawrence Erlbaum. Miller, D., (2003) (Ed) Tell Me Lies: propaganda and media distortion in the attack on Iraq. Pluto. Moloney, K. and Colmer, R., (2001) Does political PR enhance or trivialise democracy? The UK general election 2001 as a contest between presentation and substance, Journal of Marketing Management 17 (9-10) pp957-968. Moloney, K (2006) Rethinking Public Relations, (2nd ed) Abingdon: Routledge. Mullen, A & Burkeitt, B., (2005) Spinning Europe: pro-European Union Propaganda Campaigns in Britain 1962-1975 Political Quarterly 67(1) pp100-113. Negrine, R., (1996) The Communication of Politics, London: Sage. Negrine, R. & Lilleker, D., (2004) The rise of a local media strategy in British political communication: clear continuities and evolutionary change 1996-2001. Journalism Studies 4(2) pp199-211. Negrine, R. Mancine, P. Hotlz-Bacha, C. Papathanassopoulos, S., (2007) The professionalization of political communication, Intellect Books. Newson, D, Turk, J, Kruckeberg, D., (2000) This is PR: the realities of Public Relations, (7th ed) London: Thomson Learning. Norris, P. Curtice, J. Sanders, J. Scammell, M. Semetko, H., (1999) On Message: communicating the campaign, London: Sage. 23

Copyright PSA 2010

Norris, P., (2000) A Virtuous Circle: political communications in post-industrialised societies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Norris, P. & Curtice, J., (2008) Gettign the Message Out: a two-step model of the role of the Internet in campaign communication flows during the 2005 British General Election Journal of Information Technology and Politics4(40 pp3-13. OCass, A., (1996) Political marketing and the Marketing Concept European Journal of Marketing 30 (10/11) pp45-61. Oliver, S., (2007) Public Relations Strategy London: Kogan Page. Ornstein, N. and Mann, T., The Permanent Campaign and its future Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute and The Brookings Institution. Perloff, R., (2004) The dynamics of persuasion Lawrence Erlbaum. Plasser, F., (2002) Global Political Campaigning, Westport CT: Praeger Publishers. Regester, M. and Larkin, J., (2002) Risk Issues and Crisis Management (2nd edition) London: Kogan Page. Ries, A. and Ries, L., (2002) The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR Harper Business. Rommele, A (2003) Political Parties, party Communication and New Information and Communication Technologies Party Politics 9(1) pp7-20. Rose, R., (2008) Political Communication in a European Public Sphere Journal of Common Market Studies 46(2) pp451-476. Ruler, B. Vercic, D. Buetschi, G. Flodin, B., (2000) European Body of Knowledge on Public Relations/Communication Management. Report of the Delphi Research Project 2000 Ljubljana: European Association for Publci Relations Education and Research. Ruler, B. and Vercic, D., (2002) The Bled Manifesto on Public Relations Ljublijana: Pristop Communications. Ruler, B. and Vercic, D., (2005) Reflective Communication Management: future ways for public relations research In Kalbfreisch, P (ed) Communication Yearbook 29Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Savigny, H., (2007) Focus Groups and Political Marketing: science and democracy as axiomatic? BJPIR 9 pp122-137. Scammell, M., (1995) Designer Politics: how elections are won Basingstoke: Macmillan Press. Scammell, Margaret (1999) Political marketing : lessons for political science . Political studies. 47 (4). pp. 718-73 Seitel, P., (2007) The practice of public relations (10th editions) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

24

Copyright PSA 2010

Seltzer, T. and Mitrook, M., (2007) The dialogic potential of weblogs in relationship building Public Relations Review 33 pp227-229. Sha, B-L (2006) Cultural Identity in the Segmentation of Publics: an emerging theory of intercultural public relations, Journal of Public Relations Research 18(1) pp45-65. Sherman, E. and Schiffman, L., (2002) Political Marketing Research in the 2000 U.S. election In Newman, B and Vercic, D (eds) Communication of Politics: cross-cultural theory building in the practice of public relations and political marketing London: Haworth. Pp5368. Springston, J. Keyton, J, Leichty, G, Metzger, J., (1992) Field Dynamics and Public Relations Theory: toward the management of multiple publics Journal of Public Relations Research 4 (2) pp81-100. Sriramesh, K and Vercic, D., (2003) The global public relations handbook: theory, research and practice Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Sriramesh, K., (2004) Public Relations in Asia Singapore: Thomson Asia. Stauber,J. and Rampton, S., (2004) Toxic Sludge is Good For You London: Robinson. Taylor, M., (2000) Media Relations in Bosnia: a role for public relations in building civil society Public Relations Review 26(1) pp1-14. Taylor, M. Kent, M. White, W., (2001) How activist organisations are using the Internet to build relationships Public Relations Review 27 pp263-284. Taylor, M., (2004) Exploring public relations in Croatia through relational communication and media richness theories Public Relations Review 30 pp145-160. Trammell, K., (2006) Blog Offensive: an exploratory analysis of attacks published on campaign blog posts from a political public relations perspective Public Relations Review 32 pp402-406. Van Leuven, J. and Slater, M., (1991) How Publics, Public Relations and the Media Shape the Public Opinion Process, Journal of Public Relations Research 3(1) pp165-178. Vasquez, G., (1993) A homo narrans paradigm for public relations: combining Bormanns symbolic convergence theory and Grunigs situational theory of publics, Journal of Public Relations Research 5 pp201-216. Vercic, D. Ruler, B. Butschi, G. Flodin, B., (2001) On the definitions of public relations: a European view, Public Relations Review 27 pp373-387. Werder, K., (2005) An empirical analysis of the influence of perceived attributes of publics on public relations strategy use and effectiveness Journal of Public Relations Research 17 (3) pp217-266. Westen, D., (2007) The Political Brain: the role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation New York: Public Affairs.

25

Copyright PSA 2010

White, J. and Mazur, L., (1995) Strategic Communications Management: making public relations work, Harlow: Addison-Wesley. Williams, A. and Wells, J., (2004) The role of enforcement programs in increasing seat belt use Journal of Safety Research 35 pp175-180. Worcester, R. and Baines, P., (2006) Voter Research and Market Positioning: triangulating and its implications for policy In Davies, P. and Newman, B., (eds) Winning Elections with Political Marketing pp11-32. Wring, D., 91998) The media & intraparty democracy: New labour and the clause four debate in Britain Democratization 5(2) pp42-61. Wring, D. and Horrocks, (2001) Virtual Hype? The transformation of political parties? In Axford, B. and Huggins, R., (eds) New Media and Politics London: Sage. Wright, T., (1998) Inside the Whale: the media from Parliament Political Quarterly 69 (B) pp19-27.

26

Copyright PSA 2010

Table 1 Approaches to PR School of Purpose thought Relations with Identify, reach and publics communicate with key audiences. The management of relationships between an organisation and its publics. Grunigian Mutual understanding. paradigm Mutual benefit?

PR tools used Research the focus is not on the PR tools but matching the most appropriate message to the correct segmented audience. Symmetrical two-way communication based upon feedback.

Application To support all forms of PR activity, both strategic and tactical.

Intended effect To use finite resources efficiently and effectively. Neutral in terms of effect on wider society.

Unintended effect Implies PR is a science. Difficult to actually prove effect.

Research focused. Relational. Strategic.

Hype

Reaching consumers by making a noise through publicity.

Media relations. Online PR.

MPR. Getting bums on seats. Press agentry.

Persuasion

To inform and then change attitudes &/or behaviour

Media relations. Promotional campaigns. Lobbying. Community Affairs/CSR. Issues management. Uses both logic and emotional messages.

MPR - tactical CPR - strategic.

Win-win. Develop conversations. Encourage a strategic approach to PR. Inclusive culture (internal and external). To benefit society as well as the organisation. Increase awareness. Increase sales. Short term. Benefit essentially the organisation. To represent an interest. To inform the wider public. To primarily benefit the organisation, but logic based campaigns may also benefit wider society.

Reflects, and possibly enhances, power relations between sender and receiver of message. Organisation, and possibly societal, culture evolves.

Unethical? Manipulative. Effective in only certain circumstances. Undermines credibility of PR Manipulation? Ethical issues. Enhances the power of certain interests at the expense of others. Undermines credibility of PR? Enhances the organisational reputation of PR. Can marginalise general public/consumers from public discourse.

Relational

Develop influential relationships. Mutual benefit.

Target key influencers. Build networks. Personal interaction.

Issues management. Crisis management.

Long term benefits. Build reputation. To benefit wider society as

27

Copyright PSA 2010

Reputation management

Manage corporate image, brand and reputation. Shape public opinion.

Relations in public

Relations in the public (sphere) and of the public (sphere). Encourage a free flow of information to society. Development of the public sphere. By helping to create a broad sense of community, this in turn benefits organisations.

Community building

Sponsorship. CSR. Online PR. Media relations. Lobbying. Corporate communications. Quanxi. Corporate communications. Investor relations. Lobbying. CSR. Community affairs. Issues management. Crisis management. Media relations. Online PR Issues management. Internal communications. Persuasion based on negotiated connection between audiences. Boundary spanning role. Uses both communication and relational tools. Concept of general public. Interaction. Community Affairs. CSR. Issues management. Two-way symmetrical communication.

well as the organisation.

May place relationships over communication.

CPR shape all audiences perspectives of an organisation.

Build reputation. Create competitive advantage. Enhance profitability. Ensure long-term survival. A side-effect of enhancing reputation may be benefits for wider society. Increase the public sphere. Free flow of information. Encouragement of freedom of speech. Minority opinion is heard. Reflective.

Focus on the intangible at the expense of the tangible. Never-ending competition. Focus on impact on corporate reputation not impact on society of corporate actions. Manipulation? Importance of legitimacy. Impact of, and on, culture. Development of a separate European approach to PR.

Strategic internal and external communications (but probably not customers). Business ethics.

To subjugate interest and segmentation to enhancing community. Globalisation. Multicultural societies.

Enhancement of a communitarian approach. Increased social capital. Improved commercial sector within a more stable community.

Utopian approach ignores the reality of segmentation and interests being served.

28

Copyright PSA 2010

Table 2 Approaches to Political PR School of Purpose thought Relations with Identify, reach and publics communicate with key voters constituencies, profiles and past party behaviour.

PR tools used Database planning and profiling tools. Focus groups and opinion polls. Segment voters. Essentially promotional based channels political event management, media relations and the Internet. Research based on focus groups and opinion polling of both internal (members) and external (citizens/voters) audiences.

Application Elections. Political campaigns. Legislation.

Intended effect Explain ideas, policies and personalities to NGOs/citizens/voters. To bolster existing support. Encourage floating voters to switch party allegiance.

Unintended effect Encourage political monologue. Create sense of alienation for those NGOs/citizens/voters considered unimportant.

Grunigian paradigm

Mutual understanding & benefit between political actors and citizens/voters.

Policy development. Election manifesto construction. Policy implementation.

Enhance democratic dialogue, responsiveness and accountability. Strengthen democracy. Improve decision making and implementation. To win the battle for publicity each day. To encourage citizens to exercise their vote. To persuade voters who to vote for. Short term.

Tyranny of the majority? Policy based on the lowest common denominator? Stagnation in policy making? All political actors meet in the middle ground?

Hype

Reach citizens/voters by making a noise through publicity. To win the permanent campaign every day.

Media relations. Political event management and stunts. Online PR. Professional political communicators.

Day-to-day business of governance within the permanent campaign. Elections.

Persuasion

To inform and then change attitudes &/or behaviour.

Media relations. Use of professional political communicators. Promotional campaigns. Lobbying. Political event management. Uses both logic and

Day-to-day business of governance. Permanent campaign. Lobbying campaigns promoting interests. Elections. Attempts to change societal

To represent an interest. To win an election. To inform the wider public. To change personal and political attitudes and behaviour. To increase civic

Undermine the reputation of PR, politicians and the political process. Change the relationship between political actors, journalists and the wider public. Add to any sense of alienation or marginalisation for some groups/individuals. Manipulation? Undermine reputation of political processes and political actors. Reduce civic engagement? Democratic deficit.

29

Copyright PSA 2010

emotional messages.

behaviour. Political fundraising Building political coalitions. Political recruitment and retention.

Relational

Develop influential relationships. Mutual benefit.

Reputation management

Manage government, political party or NGO image, brand and reputation. Shape public opinion.

Relations in public

Relations in the public (sphere) and of the public (sphere). Encourage a free flow of information to society. Development of the public sphere.

Community building

Create a sense of community. Enhance civic engagement and political participation.

Target key influencers. Build networks. Personal interaction. Lobbying. Online PR. Political event management. Internal communications. Corporate communications. Policy development. Use of attractive/credible personalities. Lobbying. Fundraising. Online PR Issues management. Crisis management.. Focus groups and opinion polling. Persuasion based on negotiated connection between political actors and the wider public. Two-way symmetrical communication. Creation of public sphere online, political event management, direct communication/consultation, promotional materials. Internal communication. Lower barriers to participation. Create communities offline and online.

engagement. To increase political participation. Long-term political change/campaigns. Enhance and strengthen the relationship between the organisation and key influencers. Build reputation. Create competitive advantage. Enhance ability to win campaigns/elections. Ensure long-term political survival (individual/organisation).

Permanent campaign. Election campaign. Corporate change. Political marketing approach.

Bypassing of the media. The development of cosy relationships leading to others to be downgraded in importance. Potentially wider public is ignored. Manipulation of political message. Political actors crowding around the same political ground. Further encouragement of permanent campaign and permanent communication.

Development of Government/party/NGO policies. Development of election manifesto. Create and shape public opinion.

Policy development and implementation. Creation of communities.

The development of a consensus. Increased civic participation. Enhance the concept of political legitimacy. Improved Government policy decision making and implementation based on fuller information. Creation of a more informed public. Enhance political participation.

Tyranny of the majority. Inability to reach a consensus. Elitist not all citizens have equal access to the public sphere. Potential for different and conflicting public spheres to operate at different levels of government.

Inability to make or deliver decisions. Utopian ideal which does not necessarily reflect political

30

Copyright PSA 2010

Enhance representative processes.

reality.

31

Copyright PSA 2010