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PUBLIC RELATION

Examples include:
• Corporations use marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products they manufacture or
services they provide to potential customers to support their direct sales efforts. Typically, they support sales in the
short and long term, establishing and burnishing the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.

• Corporations also use public-relations as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians, seeking favorable tax,
regulatory, and other treatment, and they may use public relations to portray themselves as enlightened employers, in
support of human-resources recruiting programs.

• Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and social service agencies, use
public relations in support of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting, and to increase patronage
of their services.

• Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise money, and, when successful at the ballot box, to promote
and defend their service in office, with an eye to the next election or, at career’s end, to their legacy.
PR has had many definitions over the years and since its early boom days of the 1980s has almost entirely redefined
itself. This is probably because most clients these days are far too media-savvy to think that fluffy ideas and
champagne parties constitute a good media service (of course this is a good thing, but we do still like a good
champagne party).

PR these days is often misunderstood, and it’s probably the fault of the PR industry itself that most people aren’t sure
where PR is supposed to stop and marketing, advertising, branding and all the other media services begin.
Put very simply, good PR encourages the media (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio) to say good things about your
product/service or whatever it is that you want to promote so that more people buy your product/use your
services/think you’re great.
Of course, most PR companies have a team that will come from a mixture of media backgrounds and may be able to
offer all sorts of PR-related services such as branding, marketing, copywriting and advertising. That can make defining
pure PR all the more confusing for the client.

NATURE AND FORM OF PUBLIC RELATION

No one can provide a magic formula for figuring out what form and nature of PR and organization will need. The
approaches are many but the time constrains and budget limitation will prevent the organization or the PR person from
pursuing all the avenues at one and the same time. It would be sensible to decide about specific jobs which are
relevant to particular PR programmes for an organization.

In any kind of human activity may it be in industry, commerce, education, health, local government or social service,
they need to understand and use public relations and communication. Public relations involve two-way communication
between an organization and its public. It requires listening to the constituencies on which an organization depends as
well as analyzing and understanding the attitudes and behaviors of those audiences. Only then can an organization
undertake an effective public relations campaign.

Public relations should be seen as a management function in any organization. An effective communication, or public
relations, plan for an organization is developed to communicate to an audience (whether internal or external publics) in
such a way the message coincides with organizational goals and seeks to benefit mutual interests whenever possible.
Form of communication that is primarily directed to image building and that tends to deal with issues rather than
specifically with products or services. Public relations uses publicity that does not necessitate payment in a wide
variety of media and is often placed as news or items of public interest.
It would be better to make a checklist to find out the exactly the organization wants and what the PR
person himself wants to achieve.

1) Extent of PR function

To what extent the organizations use public relation? The PR function should be recognized as central to good
management and able to act as a unifying force within the organization and in the way it’s itself. That way a schedule
of activity can become campaign and a campaign can become a programme.

2) Level of PR function
This depends on the nature of business or services being provided by the organization. The point to think is
corporations can be longer operating in an environment of confrontation. They must have the acceptance of the
government and the citizens. Moreover, in handling sensitive issues, corporate management cannot do away with
social, cultural, economic and political ethos existing in the community.

3) Target public

‘How to handle the target public’ is a frequently raised question for PR person. It has been acknowledged by the
management that the PR person is a necessary link between the management and the various publics (audience).
Fortunate this trust has arisen out of the services rendered by PR as a professional.

4) Maintaining goodwill

In the long run goodwill always pays. In the early days business and industry could function in total secrecy without
public scrutiny. In the present competitive society all sections of the economy i.e. private or public are under constant
public gaze. It is equally important to guard the reputation once earned.

5) Evaluation of work

PR person should always evaluate himself in his work environment. He should always appraise his own competence,
acknowledge potential weakness and thereafter seek expert advice. One should be aware of and be sensitive to
cultural environment or which one is working. While improving his professional capability a public relation person has
to recognize his organizations responsibility

6) General areas of objectives

It is mainly known as which and what are the particular PR objectives do we tend to achieve. It mainly consists of
changes we want to bring about. Terms like market standing, innovation, work performance and attitude and Public
responsibilities are mainly comes in PR.

7) Communication skills

Managing the strategy and skills of communication are an integral part of business policy and decision making.
Ultimately, PR is involved in the management of organization behavior and also of the public important to them. PR
decides about the methods and media of communication and when and how to use the target public.

THE SCOPE OF PUBLIC RELATION

Public relation is a window of the corporation through which management can monitor external changes and
simultaneously a window through which society can affect corporate policy.

Today most social conflicts are caused by changing values and higher expectation from the superiors.

We find regular conflicts between employer-employee consumer-manufacturer, management-shareholders, citizens-


government and so on due to misconception and misunderstandings. These are generally the major challenges where
public relation practitioners can play a crucial role. They should get to know the psychology of the public mind and
acquire skill in solving and also avoiding such conflicts.

In our market economy there are information gaps which cannot be filled by the interaction of supply and demand via .
cost, wages or prices. Here public relations activity steps in. It provides relevant information on planning technical and
organizational developments, inventions and their potential utilization, etc.

The relations activity is becoming more and more important for the procurement of economically essential production
factors. It makes it easier to tap the money-market or financing their projects by issuing bonds or shares.
If the corporation cultivates public relations, it is easier for them to acquire land from a community and bring in own
interest in harmony with these of the community. Today the
public relation profession has even entered into the fields of non-commercial organizations, government departments,
hospitals, universities and other non profit organizations. According to Edward L. Bernays, the fundamental laws and
the necessity of public relation may be expressed in three words, information, adjustment and integration.

The scope of public relation is wide and also include political filed. Entrepreneurs, teachers, political leaders, social
workers, religions, leaders are all involved in public relations day in and day out.

In business public relation is tool of management like marketing, production and finance. It is investing and creating
asset for an organization which is finally reflected in improved performance profitability, and growth of the
organization.

Successful public relation can be measured by its ability to convert negative situations into positive ones.

Plan
Media
• Press Kits (Print and Electronic)
• Develop Media Lists
• Press Releases
- Announcements
- Major announcements
- Trend Press releases
- Feature story releases
- B-roll or video news releases (VNRs)
- Webcasts
• Media Training
- Becoming a source
• Public service announcements (PSAs)
• Op-Ed Articles
• Letters to the Editor
• Press conferences
• Media tours
• Press Clipping Services
- “Riding” a news story
Special Events
Trade Shows
Speech Writing
Photography
Audio Tapes
Internet Monitoring
Community Meetings
Specialized Fact Sheets
By-line Articles
Quarterly Newsletters
Annual Reports
Community Calendar Listings
PR Campaign Measurement
Crisis Management•

WHAT IS A GOOD PR

1. Good PR is telling the client what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear. Good PR
recognizes that the best “PR strategy” needs to be followed-up with the client’s good
products/services or else it’s all a vain and wasted effort that harms everyone’s reputation.
2. Good PR is not just about the over-glorified launch. Good PR helps build and sustain
a groundswell of brand support — incrementally changing consumer behaviors via a steady stream
of relevant and candid communication to both “media” and “consumers.”
3. Good PR celebrates the client’s customers in an inclusive, non-exploitive way. And, good PR
welcomes the input of “neutrals” and especially “critics,” and adapts strategy accordingly.
4. Good PR is proactive in idea generation and responsive in a crisis. Good PR finds the balance.
5. Good PR is measurable. (And yet also hard to measure, since most clients want to measure
different things.)
6. Good PR leverages pre-existing relationships with influential people — relationships built on trust
and credibility earned over years of service.
7. Good PR doesn’t need to know Larry Ellison or Kevin Rose or anyone in particular in the media,
either. Even though such relationships can come in handy, good PR almost always “gets ink”
because a good story has been well-told to the right people.

ORGANISING A CORPORATE PR DEPARTMENT

There can be no rigid of PR department; indeed, flexibility should be one of its chief characteristics.
It needs to be ready to tackle any and every PR requirement and able to adapt itself to changing
situations without much loss of momentum.

There is nothing static about PR- it is essentially a dynamic function both in the characteristics of
the work it does and in its attitude of mind towards that work.

It is however becoming increasingly evident in a large number of industrial companies that PR is


being recruited as an aid to marketing, making possible improved communications with customers,
suppliers, stockholders and the creation of a favorable public image that is able to influence the
attitudes of specific groups of people towards the company.

There are some companies that look PR mainly as a means of contacting the press with the object of
interpreting policy and communicating information about products and new development; this is
the narrow view.
The proper function of PR in an industrial concern is to help improve communications with all its
contacts, including labor, customers, suppliers, stockholders, the press, community neighbours and
the public, and to provide management with advice and assistance on all matters which have a PR
aspect.

How does the Public Relation manager set about the task of organizing the public relations function
within an established company management?

He must first define its place within that management. Should the public relations department
come under the control of the marketing manager, the advertising manager, or the sales manager?
Should it be in the managing director’s department, responsible to the chief executive, and acting as
a service department to others? To some extent these questions will be answered by the existing
attitude of the management.

If management expects the major role of PR to be promotion aid to advertising, then the public
relations manager is likely to find himself with the marketing, advertising, or sales departments.
Such a placing carries with it crippling disadvantages because he is under constant pressure to
concentrate on promotional activities to the exclusion of most else. He becomes, infact an extension
of the sales force.
The right place for the public relation function is within the department of the managing director,
the general manager, or whatever the chief executive may be called. The reason is simply that PR is
not a one sided business. It is concerned with the life of the whole organizations.

Assuming that the Public Relations manager has been appointed within the chief executives
department and is directly responsible to him for advising on, and implementing the PR
programme in all its varied aspects, he could be responsible for

• controlling the PR department, and presenting and implementing as all public relations
policies and activities.
• Conveying and interpreting to management, information on public attitudes and views about
the company and/or the industry it serves.
• Preparing all policy and financial statements on company affairs to the Press TV and radio.
handling day to day inquiries from the press and the initiation of press interest in the affairs,
services and production of the company, regularly issuing news material on all company
activities.
• Advising on the preparation of prestige publications, institutional advertising, films,
exhibition, shareholder relations, house style, community relations and other relevant
activities.
• Instructing the company’s financial advertising agents on all matters relating to financial
and annual report, advertising and publicity.
• Liaison with the personnel department on all matters relating to the dissemination of
internal information and the company’s employee publications.

Working with other department.

The public relation department will approach the following senior executives, dependent upon the
subject-matter required.

COMPANYY POLICY: …… Managing director and/or company secretary


SALES AND MARKETING: … SALES DIRECTOR
PRODUCTION : ……… PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
FINANCE:…… Finance director.

NOTE: No unauthorized statement should be made at any time to the press, by any individual, in
the name of the company. In the event of emergencies or accidents at any of the company’s major
plants or works the work manager must notify head office immediately, and co-operate with
national and local PRESS inquiries to the full, while an official account and statement is being
prepared.

PLACE IN THE ORGANIZATION CHART:

The organization or structure of a company PR department depends on the character as well as the
volume of work and the policy of the Board towards PR, i.e. whether the directors regard its
functions as crucial to the well being of the firm and encourage its management to give PR
opportunities to improve and extend communications or whether they look upon PR narrowly and
rate the PR man rather low in the hierarchy of the firm.

PUBLIC OPINION

\
PUBLIC OPINION: A group of people with similar interest who have a common opinion on a controversial
subject.
It is an expression of a belief held in common by members of a group or public on a controversial issue of
general importance.
e.g testing of nuclear material, welfare, where debate can take place.

MEANING: Opinion means ‘ a view’, judgement or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular
matter.
A opinion is stronger than an impression but weaker than positive knowledge. A ‘view’ is an opinion more or
less colored by bias.

CHARACTERISTICS OF PUBLIC OPINION:


1. It provides the psychological environment in which organization can prosper or perish.
2. Each issue, problem or interest creates its own public and their own opinion.
3. Public opinion gets its power from individual. Hence, individual opinion understanding is essential.
4. As the opinions are weaker than knowledge, therefore cognition part of the attitude formation should
be revamped by providing authentic and factual information to the public to form the positive image
of the organization.

Factors influencing formation of opinion(attitude: ) GENERATORS OF PUBLIC OPINION

• Group influences individual opinion


• Individual need, emotions, experience, heredity, culture, economic status, education, family and
religion.
• Other factors

GENERATORS OF OPINION :

The factors of culture, family, religion, schools, social group, economic class and race interact with
the active, direct effects of what people see, hear and read.- their ‘experience’ Our environment and
our experience fuse. These primary factors of opinion formation and change lead to the intense
competition for public attention.

CULTURE: No man lives unto himself alone. From birth to death, a person is influenced by others.
family, play group, school, church, city, state and nation are organized ways of social relations.
To put in short “ Man shapes these institutions and in turn, is shaped by them.”

THE FAMILY: The germ cell of society, is the first molder of opinion. Within the family is to be
found the germ of all such potentialities that later ripen into love and hate, work and play,
obedience and revolt, reverence and agnosticism, patriotism and treason.

RELIGION: One basic human trait that binds nearly all people together is religion, the belief in a
supernatural, universal power. Religion is a vital force. Both believers and non believers are
affected by it, and no effort to change public opinion can omit or deny its strong influence.

SCHOOL: The influence and the importance of school in the public opinion process is powerful in a
state that regards an educated, enlightened electorate indispensable to a free society. What is taught
by teachers at school and acquires by the pupils from their fellow pupils is the interaction of forces
that shape knowledge, belief and attitude.

ECONOMIC CLASS: The economic motivation and influence are strong with most people that
shapes an individual attitude towards any situation.

SOCIAL CLASS: Somewhat related to the influence of economic class is that of social status.
Certainly one’s position as member of say Golf club, Race club will determine his outlook, sources
of information and opinion. Determining factors are family background, education, occupation,
home and neighborhood. Status influence every phase of life.

RACE: Black v/s White


Communication tend to regulate one’s opinion and tend to change the opinion of an individual.

OTHER FACTORS INCLUDE:


• MEDIA: anything in media captures the attention of the people.
• POLICIES AND REGULATIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT ( BILLS, RULES OF TAX
etc
• POLITICAL PARTIES
• ACTION / OPERATIONAL GROUPS
• BUSINESS ASSOCIATION / TRADE ASSOCIATION
• ITERNATIONAL RELATIONS.
• ACTIVITIES OF CORPORATE

FUNCTION PERFORMED BY ATTITUDE:

1. ADJUSTMENT FUNCTION: As individual has formed opinions, people tend to adjust


themselves with regard to the environment i.e ( culturally e.t.c) therefore, different people
have different attitudes( social, physical, and economical) it decides the level of tolerance
among people.

2. KNOWLEDGE FUNCTION: Attitudes in someway are reflection of our knowledge about


certain issue or situations. Although information may be complete or incomplete, true or
false.

3. VALUE EXPRESSION FUNCTION: Attitudes are certain expression of values of people


like honesty, integrity etc.

4. EGO DEFENSIVE FUNCTION: We protect our ego’s on the account of attitudes that
surround ourselves in different situations. It is an important challenge for PR department.

In desire to change the attitudes of people, we need to study the entire background of public
opinion.

CHANGING EXISTING ATTITUDE:


• COMMUNICATION
• EDUCATION
• BY SOLVING PROBLEM
• BY PERSUASSION

CATEGORIES OF PUBLIC OPINION :

It can exist in 3 set of categories ranging from broadest to narrowest.

1. In broadest sense it refers to GENERAL OPINION of environment prevailing in a country or


culture. ( socially or culturally relevant issues)
2. second category is concerned with the current scenario. It is perception of world that
environment creates.
3. in narrowest sense, it refers to the situation i.e how a person view a certain situation.
When we express our view, it is a reflection of all three factors i.e social & cultural, current
environment, the situation.

PROCESS to change OPINION FORMATION:

There are four stages:

1. problem recognition: number of people recognize a situation as being problematic and


conduct some fact finding and explore possible solutions.

2. Alternative solution to solve the problems emerged and are discussed


3. a policy or solution is agreed upon as best meeting the situation, recongnised as being
problematic.
4. a program for action is undertaken and pressure tactics are applied until the requisite action
is obtained or the group turns its attention to other matters.

OPINION LEADERS: Any person, individual, group, organization who has the ability to influence
others informally / formally is called an opinion leader.

TYPES OF OPINION LEADER:

1. STIMULATOR: These public opinion leader generates interest for a particular


issue.

2. LEGITIMIZER: These public leader gives information / facts such that opinion
moves in a particular direction.

3. IMPLEMENTER: These leader continues to crystalise the opinions till an action


result / till a due action takes place.

OPINION LEADERS:

The opinions of people in a group are influenced by what they hear from ‘Opinion Leaders’,
sometimes from other members of the group of persons outside the group.
An individual who is a member of a group manifests certain characteristics in his thinking and
behavior which contributes the formation of ‘public opinion’. The thinking of an individual in a
group is characterized by identification, conformity, anonymity, sympathy, emotionalism, nobility,
oppression, symbolism and rationalization.

As a result of education, experience in men and matters, the opinion of the leaders is based more on
rational thinking. They weigh and consider information on controversial question by suspending
their judgement until they have facts. They do not evaluate the information they receive from
various sources until they are sure of the source from which such information has emanated.

PRINCIPLES OF PERSUASION

There are two forms of intercourse between individuals and between groups: FORCE AND
PERSUASION.
Before engaging in persuasion take time to settle a few questions in your mind, -
What do I wish to accomplish?
What are the interest of the people?
What are the facts that I wish to tell them?

Here is a skeleton upon which you may erect a structure for persuasion.
(a) show that a problem exists or a situation needs correction.
(b) Explain the essential elements of the problem or the various aspects of the situation.
(c) Show why your solution is the best one.
(d) Picture your solution in operation, including the benefits it will give to others and the
satisfaction it will give to those who join in reaching it.

Principles: by Katz and Lazarfeld.

(1) To accomplish attitude change, suggestion for change must first be received and
accepted, “ Acceptance of the message” is a critical factor in persuasive
communication.
(2) The suggestion is more likely to be accepted if it meets existing personality needs and
drives.
(3) The suggestion is more likely to be accepted if it is in harmony with group norms and
loyalties.
(4) The suggestion is more likely to be accepted if the sources is perceived as trustworthy
or expert.
(5) Change in attitude is more likely to occur, if the suggestion is accompanies by other
factors underlying belief and attitude. This refers to a changed environment which
makes acceptance easier.
(6) There probably will be more opinion change in the desired direction if the conclusios
are explicitly stated than if the audience is left to draw its own conclusions.
(7) When the audience is friendly or when immediate but temporary opinion change is
wanted, it is more effective to give only one side of the argument.
(8) When the audience disagree or when it is probable that it will hear the other side
from another source, it is ore effective to present both sides of the argument.
(9) When equally attractive opposing views are presented one after another, the one
presented last will be more effective

(10) Sometimes emotional appeals are more influential, sometimes factual ones are.
It depends on the kind of messagte and kind of audience.
(11) There is a ‘sleeper effect’ in communications received from sources which the
listener regards as having low credibility.

Types of Public Relations Tools

As we noted in the Public Relations tutorial, the challenges faced in doing PR will lead many marketers to
hire professionals to handle these activities. Whether marketers do their own PR or seek outside help, it is
important they be familiar with the tools available for public relations.

The types of key tools available to carryout the public relations function include:

• Oral Communication: Speeches, Round Table conference, Question and answer discussion,
Demonstration.
• Newspapers, magazine, radio and T.V, Articles and publicity.
• Advertising
• Periodicals: internal and external Periodicals
• Audio-Visual media
• Campaign, Propaganda, fairs and festivals, exhibitions and Displays.
• Media Tours
• Newsletters
• Special Events
• Speaking Engagements
• Sponsorships

Each of these PR tools is discussed in detail below.

Media Relations

Historically the core of public relations, media relations, includes all efforts to publicize products or the
company to members of the press — TV and Radio, newspaper, magazine, newsletter and Internet. In
garnering media coverage, PR professionals work with the media to place stories about products,
companies and company spokespeople. This is done by developing interesting and relevant story angles
that are pitched to the media. It is important to remember that media placements come with good stories
and no payment is made to the media for placements. In fact, in order to maintain the highest level of
credibility, many news organizations bar reporters from accepting even the smallest gifts (e.g., free pencils
with product logo) from companies.
Key tools used in media relations include:

• Press Kits - Include written information such as a news release, organization background, key
spokesperson biographies and other supporting materials that provide information useful to
reporters.
• Audio or Video News Releases - These are prerecorded features distributed to news media
that may be included within media programming. For instance, a local news report about
amusement parks may include portions of a video news release from a national amusement park
company.
• Matte Release - Some media, especially small local newspapers, may accept articles written
by companies often as filler material when their publication lacks sufficient content. PR
professionals submit matte releases through syndicated services (i.e., services that supply content
to many media outlets) or directly to targeted media via email, fax or snail mail.
• Website Press Room - While hard copies of materials are used and preferred by some media,
marketers are well served by an online press room that caters to media needs and provides
company contact information.

As PR people know, many story ideas for newspapers, magazines and television news often start with a
suggestion from a PR person. If things work out, a reporter or editor will, at best, write a positive story
with the company as a key feature or, at minimum, include the company’s name somewhere within an
industry-focused article.

Media Tour( new product/service/movie publicity-information)

Some new products can be successfully publicized when launched with a media tour. On a media tour a
company spokesperson travels to key cities to introduce a new product by being booked on TV and
radio talk shows and conducting interviews with print and Internet reporters or influencers (e.g.,
bloggers). The spokesperson can be a company employee or someone hired by the company, perhaps
a celebrity or "expert" who has credibility with the target audience. One common use of the media
tour is the book tour, where an author travels the country to promote a newly released book.

A media tour may include other kinds of personal appearances in conjunction with special events,
such as public appearances, speaking engagements or autograph signing opportunities.

Newsletters

Marketers who have captured names and addresses of customers and potential customers can use a
newsletter for regular contact with their targeted audience. Newsletters can be directed at trade
customers, final consumers or business buyers and can be distributed either by regular mail or electronic
means (i.e., e-newsletters delivered via email or rss feed).

Marketers using newsletters strive to provide content of interest to customers as well as information
on products and promotions.

A bookstore may include reviews of new books, information on online book chats and information
on in-store or online promotions.
A food manufacturer may include seasonal recipes, information on new products and coupons. Online
newsletters offer the opportunity to link to stores carrying the marketer's products. Effective newsletters
are sought out by and well received by interested audiences.

Special Events

These run the gamut from receptions to elegant dinners to stunts.

Special events can be designed to reach a specific narrow target audience, such as individuals
interested in college savings plans to major events like a strawberry festival designed to promote
tourism and regional agriculture.

Stunts, such as building the world’s largest ice cream sundae during National Ice Cream month captures
the attention of an audience in the immediate area, but also attracts the attention of mass media such as TV
news and major newspapers, which provide broad reach. The Oscar Mayer Weiner mobile is a classic
example, providing a recognizable icon that travels the country garnering attention wherever it visits. As
with all PR programs, special event planners must work hard to ensure the program planned conveys the
correct message and image to the target audience.

Speaking Engagements ( used for generating leads)

Speaking before industry conventions, trade association meetings, and other groups provides an
opportunity for company experts to demonstrate their expertise to potential clients/customers.

Generally these opportunities are not explicitly for company or product promotion; rather they are a
chance to talk on a topic of interest to potential customers and serve to highlight the speaker’s expertise in
a field. Often the only mention of the company or its products is in the speaker biography. Nevertheless,
the right speaking engagement puts the company in front of a good target audience and offers networking
opportunities for generating customer leads.

Sponsorships

Companies and brands use sponsorships to help build goodwill and brand recognition by associating with
an event or group. Marketers can examine sponsorship opportunities to find those that reach target groups,
fit within a specified budget and provide sponsorship benefits that suit the marketer’s objectives.

There are numerous local, regional, national and international sponsorship opportunities ranging from a
local art center or theatre to the Olympics.

Most organizations seeking company sponsors provide information on the variety of sponsorship levels
which include data on event audience, exposure opportunities, which can include signage, T-shirts,
public announcements and numerous other opportunities, receptions and much more.

Marketers can use this information to help match sponsorship opportunities with the company’s
objectives.
Publicity: This refers to any attempt designed to expose an organisation, its services or product to the
public through any public media. It includes advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, etc.
However in a technical sense, it is more limited and defined, so that it means free publicity which is
provided essentially by the press. It is the practice of placing newsworthy and factual information
written in a journalistic and editorial format published in the news media at no cost.
An example of publicity is a situation where a company issues a news release about a new product or new
functions of an existing product. Should Nigeria produce its first air plane for instance, it will be given
wide, free publicity.

Press Agency: Unlike a news agency, a press agency deals with staging newsworthy events that are
designed to attract the attention of the public by publicising them in the media.
Such events include press conferences, trade exhibitions, fashion shows, etc. These must be
distinguished from events that happen daily. They are rather pseudoevents because they are stage-
managed for the purpose of being reported by the media.

Lobbying: This is one of the most abused expressions in common usage. In a technical sense, lobbying is
a professional attempt designed to influence the government or any authority to change a public
programme or policy in favour of an organisation, a cause, a group, an event
e.g. organising a petition drive against a cause, e.g.. Dry cell manufacturers in Nigeria did this a few years
ago to draw government attention to the unbridled importation of dry cell batteries. Lobbying is a legal
open letters in daily newspapers or magazines thing when it has points, information and logical reasons.

Merchandising: This deals with blending an acceptable appearance. It is part of promotion. You blend
the product or person with the real it or him, so as to win acceptance and patronage from public for a
group, a product, service, cause or an idea e.g. the grooming of a positive image by a politician who acts,
dresses and speaks like a real native even though he is from somewhere else, e.g. during political
campaigns when politicians dress like the native people he is going to speak to. In commercial
merchandising, most products are designed to convey messages by their packs. You know that normally
people do not patronize badly packaged products.

Promotion: This involves moulding or mobilising opinion favourably to an organization to get it to


support a worthy cause, e.g. the mounting of events or fund raising programmes for motherless babies’
homes.

Personal Selling: This talks about a personal effort involving a person who is attempting to woo other
people on behalf of a product, a group,an idea, etc, e.g. religious crusaders who go from door to door.
There are two types of personal sellers namely: order-takers and order-getters.

Human Relations: Human relations deals with an individual’s ability to develop and maintain a
personality type as well as image that is capable of successful and spontaneous interpersonal relationship
with other people. Human relations is relating well with others. It talks about manners and character. Good
human relations is the basis of good public relations.

Persuasion: It is a fundamental assumption in public relations that effective public relations is persuasive,
not intimidating or forcing. Persuasion is any mass communication effort designed to change public
opinion, believe, attitudes as well as action.
Communication: This is a process of sharing ideas with other people.In a professional sense, it is a means
of sending information from one person to another. Public relations in all its forms
embracescommunication in one form or the other.
Writing
But what does writing involve? Let me say from the onset that good writing is hard work. This is a fact
that has been acknowledged by award-winning writers of past and contemporary times. American
journalist and playwright Gene Fowler said “writing is easy, all you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper
until drops of blood form on your head.” Ernest Hemmingway added “writing is easy, just open a vein
and bleed on paper.” All these suggest that writing can be a challenging job. I must tell you however that
writing is easy if you learn it. Writing is like fixing a jigsaw. This seems to support Mortiner Adler’s view
that ‘good writing like a good house is an orderly arrangement of parts.’ The days are gone when writers
were born. Now they are made. No doubt there are persons with some native writing ability, but without
effort at learning to use the ability, such persons won’t become good writers.

The Phases of Writing


Good writing is a function of good organisation of thought, and good organisation follows a defined
process. We can look at the process of writing in terms of the main phases namely: prewriting, writing and
rewriting.
Prewriting involves generating ideas, planning, purposing, ideating and searching, setting goals and
objectives of writing.
Writing has to do with putting together words that convey the meanings you wish to make. It is a stage
where you compose, absorb some words and reject others.

Rewriting involves putting finishing touches to your work. It entailsrechecking, editing, fine-tuning,
smoothening and polishing. To a lot of writers, this stage may be a crucial one and the ability to handle it
well could reveal the difference between a fledgling of a writer and a groomed one. Vladimir Nabokov
once said
‘I have rewritten – often several
times – every word I have ever published.
My pencils outlast their erasers.’
Suzan Sontag also asserted
‘My first drafts
Have only a few elements worth keeping
I have to find what they are
And build from them
And throw out what doesn’t work
And what simply is not alive.’

Basic Rules of Writing


Geoffrey Ashe suggested what he called ‘six basic rules of writing. 'There are no basic rules of writing,
but for the student of writing, adherence to some basic principles helps. Matured writers have equally
found these rules as faithful signposts in the process of writing.
1. Write about what you know and care for: Writing entails an appreciation of the known. It involves
getting across with an idea about which you are fairly knowledgeable. Attempting to write on a
topic that you are not familiar with is not only pretentious but suicidal.

2. Approach people through their interest rather than yours: This implies that a writer should relate
his message to the interest which his audience already has.
3. Don’t let the reader hover uncertainly: Make your point plain early enough and leave with an ending
as strong and expressive as the beginning.
4. Start from what is familiar and easily grasped, then proceed from that to the uncertain and
difficult: This rule is similar to the elementary mathematics rule of moving from the unknown to the
known.
5. Tell things through concrete examples and anecdotes, and through people rather than
abstractions: A good example of a master of this art of using concrete examples that people can relate to
is Jesus Christ who has been described as the greatest teacher the world has ever known. He used example
of things his hearers saw
and lived with everyday.
6. Treat your readers with respect: If you find some expressions
rather too abrasive, it is just rational to recast them.

Speaking
Speaking is equally a useful skill for public relations. You would find yourself speaking at different times
with one or more of your various publics like the media, your immediate community, your employees,
etc. Although you need different approaches when dealing with each of these publics, but there are general
speaking skills that apply to all and that is what we shall look at in this section. We shall not be doing an
intensive lesson on writing and speaking in this course. I shall simply look at the basics of these very
important skills and expect you to pick up specific books on them from your bookstore. You could also
take the NOUN course on public speaking.

Propaganda
Propaganda can also be defined as the dissemination of information facts,
arguments, rumour, half-truths or lies to influence public opinion.
Another author says it is “the more or less systematic effort to
manipulate other people’s belief, attitude or actions by means of
symbols (words, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia,
hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth.”

Propaganda Techniques
As note earlier, propaganda can be used in both positive and negative ways.
When used positively, it yields great dividends for the organisation, but when
used as a tool of deception it leaves a sour taste in the mouth in the long run.
Some techniques of propaganda often used today by commercial and political
organisations include:

1. Plain Folk Talk: This is an approach used by individuals to identify with


low status members of the society. It is employed as a strategy for
eliciting the support of this category of people to act in a desired way. I is a
way of saying to them “I was like you, we have things in common.”
2. Testimonial: It is a device for gaining credibility and support for a product,
service or person. It involves using a well-known person to speak in
favour of the person, service or product. It is a common approach in
advertising.
3. Bandwagon: Bandwagon attempts to make the receiver of the message
feel isolated for not being part of the train. It uses such rhetorical devices as
“everyone is using this product or supporting this idea, why not you.”
4. Card Stacking: This involves selection of facts and data to build an
overwhelming case on one side of an issue while concealing the other side.

5. Transfer: This is a technique of associating the person, product of idea


with something that has a high or low credibility depending on the intention of
the message. For example Glo’s blackberry is associated with top rate, very
busy executives.

6. Glittering Generalities: This is a technique of associating a cause or


product or idea with favourable abstractions like freedom, justice, democracy,
etc.

7. Name Calling: Involves the use of terms charged with negative meanings
such as selfish, mindless, etc. The goal is to discredit and make a person, or
group and their cause to become socially less acceptable.

A PRESS RELEASE TEMPLATE


For better results, your press release should be printed on your
organisation’s letterhead. It should also include information in a
particular order to help the media people get whatever information
from any part of the release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE **Contact: Name, Phone, e-mail
address
(Or date that you wish the information to be released)
Headline: Something that briefly summarizes the point of the
release and peaks readers’ interest. Just about a line or in the
extreme two. Should be about ten words or less)
CITY, STATE—This is the lead, or opening paragraph. It should be brief
but address all important points. It should be three to five sentences in
length. If you use any abbreviations (e.g., FCMB), spell them out the first
time; and put the abbreviation in parenthesis after (e.g., First City
Monument Bank (FCMB).
The next paragraph offers more details. For example, it could explain the
importance of the event, programme, or other issue. An interesting quote by
a key leader would be appropriate here. Remember that information should
be included in a descending order of importance, i.e., the most important
information goes in the first paragraphs, the less important information
toward the end, following the inverted pyramid pattern.
Subsequent paragraphs offer additional information and additional
interesting quotes. Limit your release to one or two pages. Keep your
paragraphs short (about 3-5 sentences would do). If possible, keep your
release to one page.
The last paragraph is called the “boilerplate.” It describes the organisation
issuing the release and, when appropriate, directs the reader to sources of
additional information or materials.
This mark ### lets the reader know that this is the end of the release. You
could also use the sign ‘30’. However if your release goes to the next page,
then you write ‘MF’ at the bottom of the first page to show that “More
Follows”.
** You could have your contact information on the bottom left of your
page.

Public Relations Speaking Tasks


The first question we shall attempt to answer is what situations would you need to speak as a public
relations professional? Well the answer depends on the kind of organisation or client you work for. There
are situations in which some organisations think it necessary to speak to the public whereas some other
would rather issue a public statement in a document form. Generally however, speaking tasks in public
relations would include the following:

Annual General Meetings


Your Annual General Meetings would bring together several of your publics such as your shareholders,
staff, the government, the media, your host community, etc. It is a time to tell them how your organisation
has faired in the past accounting year. You would also outline new plans and policies, receive responses
from your publics as well as seek their support for the future. You will agree with me that all these require
some good public speaking skills.

Product Launch and Re-launch


When you are introducing a new product into the market or repositioning an existing product, you would
need to do some bits of public speaking. You would be expected to tell the publics present about
the product, its use and benefits, its unique selling point, price, distribution channels etc. For a product re-
launch, you must tell them the reason for a re-launch, what added value the product now has etc.

Fairs and Exhibitions


These are avenues to warm up your company or client into new marketing relationships. You would be
having several of your competition there as well; therefore you must gear up for good speaking
that would give you a good day.

Press Briefings
You would usually find some reasons to brief the press on certain developments in your organisation at
some points. Good public speaking skills would be useful to you here. You may want to state your
company’s position on a government policy, brief the press on a crisis,
refute a media report, etc.
Community Social Events
Your host community may invite your organisation to some events in their community. These could be an
annual festival, project commissioning, award ceremonies, coronation ceremonies, etc. Your
company could on the other hand be the one hosting the community to similar events e.g. scholarship
award ceremonies, project commissioning, etc, you would very likely give a speech at these
events.
Other Events
The kinds of events that your organisation or client would put up are usually a function of its nature of
business, corporate philosophy, organisational goals and aspirations. They are equally a function of its
public relations policy. For instance, if your organisation is the people oriented
type, you will find yourself organising more events and probably giving more speeches.
Appeal for funds
This is a common public relations activity. You may be appealing for funds on behalf of your organisation
or your client. Whichever way, you must know that you need an approach that will make your listeners do
what you wand them to do.
Presentations
Sometimes you may be required to give a plaque, a certificate or just commendation to someone. Most
often, such request comes with little or no notice. You would learn to do this by practice. Reading some
good books on public speaking would also help you.
Retirement Speeches
This is a common task in several organisations. At such occasions, the Managing Director or Chairperson
may be required to say a few words about the retiring staff. On the other hand, he may be the very one
who is retiring.

Employee Communications

For many companies communicating regularly with employees is important in keeping employees
informed of corporate programs, sales incentives, personnel issues, as well as keeping them updated on
new products and programs.

Companies use a variety of means to communicate with employees, including Intranet, email, online
and print newsletters.

In larger firms an in-house PR department often works in conjunction with the Human Resources
Department to develop employee communications.

Community Relations and Philanthropy

For many companies fostering good relations with key audiences includes building strong relationships
with their regional community. Companies implement programs supportive of the community ranging
from supporting local organizations and institutions (e.g., arts organizations, community activities, parks)
to conducting educational workshops (e.g., for teachers, parents) to donating product for community
events and charitable fundraisers. The goal is generally to develop a positive relationship with members of
the community (i.e., be known as a good neighbor). Effective community relations can help a company
weather bad publicity or a crisis situation that can unexpectedly arise due to a problem with a product,
unethical behavior by management, or even by false rumors. Some companies also make an effort to
contribute to charitable organizations, often organizations that have some relationship to the company’s
mission or to a key principal of the company.

Issue Management : an issue is a trend / condition either internal/external which if continued would
affect an organisations operations.

CATEGORIES OF ISSUES THAT MUST BE MONITORED/ IDENTIFIED


-current , emerging, societal
In business, Issue Management refers to the discipline and process of managing business issues and
usually implies using technology to electronically automate the process.

In Project Management, the purpose of Issue Management is to ensure that any concerns recognized
during a project are addressed in a timely manner and do not go unresolved until they become major
problems[1]. Electronic issue management has gathered steam as a business and technology movement in
recent years[when?] as mid-sized and large businesses have realized the advantage of implementing systems
to manage, document, and track work.[citation needed]

A typical issue management electronic workflow might look like this with regard to roles:

1. An issue is submitted by a customer, salesperson, engineer, or test engineer, often via a web
browser.
2. The issue management system logs the issue and relocates the issue to a predefined
representative's inbox.
3. The representative evaluates the issue and assigns it to an appropriate employee.
4. Work is done on the issue, documented in the system, and closed.
5. In most processes, the originator is notified that the issue has been resolved.

Any issue management process in which there are well defined inputs and outputs can be automated
electronically.

There are both private and open source issue management software solutions[clarification needed] available to
companies interested in implementing issue management.

Open source issue management systems are steadily improving, but still have some short-comings
compared to commercial solutions.[citation needed] At the time of this writing[when?] they have not incorporated
important system features related to project integration. Specifically, open source solutions have not yet
delivered features that contextualize issues as a part of an overall project, incorporate dependent and
transitional fields, and support multiple workflows within a single interface.

The word issues management[2] was first used to describe the social, political, and economic concerns that
affect organisations strategic future and viability by Howard Chase in 1976.[3] It is a process that is
inherent to the practice of modern Public Relations.

What is issue process

An Issue Process, or Issue Management Process, is a set of procedures that help you manage issues
as they occur.

Whether you're part of a project or operational team, issues will occur on a regular basis affecting the ability to
meet your team goals. That's when an Issue Process is invaluable. An Issue Process helps you record each issue
and identify the actions needed to resolve it. As part of the Issue Process, an approval step is included to ensure
that the right actions are taken, at the right time.
This Issue Management Process will help you to:

• Identify and record issues clearly


• Use Issue Forms to document issues properly
• Determine the impact of each issue
• Prioritize issues and report on their status
• Review all issues and decide on a course of action
• Take the steps needed to resolve issues quickly

By using this Issue Management Process, you'll also be able to:

• Assign actions to staff to resolve issues


• Monitor the outcome of the actions taken
• Assign roles and responsibilities for managing issues
• Report on the status of issues to management

Your ability to identify and resolve issues as quickly as possible will directly affect the success of your
team. This Issue Management Process will help you achieve this, by describing the steps taken to resolve
issues swiftly and efficiently.

When do I use an Issue Process?

You follow an Issue Process when you encounter issues that need to be resolved quickly. Examples of
issues that are resolved through an Issue Process include; lack of funding, insufficient resources and tight
deadlines. Regardless of the circumstance, this Issue Process helps you get approval to take action to
resolve it immediately.

BENCHMARK FOR EVALUATION:


OPPORTUNITY BENCHMARK: Point before which an organization must take action to control
the issue.

THREAT BENCHMARK: Level of loss beyond which the survival of firm, organization, product or
division is endangered.

DIMENSION OF ISSUES:
• BROAD IMPACT ISSUES
• BROAD IMPACT BUT RELATIVELY ABSTRACT
• NARROW IMPACT ISSUES
• TECHNICAL ISSUES.

LIFE CYCLE OF A PUBLIC ISSUE:

1. AN UNDEFINED PROBLEM EXISTS.


2. ISSUE IS IDENTIFIED AND GIVEN A NAME
3. IDEAS BEGIN TO CRYSTALLIZE.
4. SOLUTIONS EMERGE.
5. LEGISLATION IS INTRODUCED AND ENACTED.
6. ADJUSTMENTS ARE MADE VIA REGULATION AND JUDICIAL REVIEW.
7. FORMERLY NON EXISTANT / UNNOTICED PROBLEMS EMERGE.

ISSUE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM:

1. EXAMINE ALL POSSIBLE ISSUES / THREATS/ TRENDS AFFECTING THE


COMPANY.
2. IDENTIFY SPECIFIC ISSUES TO BE CONSIDERED
3. EVALUATE THE IMPACT OF ISSUES ON ORGANISATION.
4. DEFINE CORPORATE POSITION
5. DETERMINE COURSE OF ACTION
6. IMPLEMENT ACTION PLAN
7. MONITOR RESULTS.
QUESTION PAPER: 2009
1. You are a Public Relation manager of Jetways Airlines. The employees of your corporation have gone
on strike on the question of the renewal of wage and service contracts. Design the plan of action
communication stage for the situation.

2. What role does the media play in the public relation?

3. You are public Relation executive of a political party which has lost its popularity in Andhra Pradesh
reflected in the bye-elections for municipality and state assembly. You are approached by the chief of the
political party to conduct a survey to find out the real reasons for the setback to boost the party’s image in
the region. How can the knowledge of Public Relation assist the situation?

4. Discuss the objective of a Distributor – dealer Relation program? What different tools and media do
you suggest for better PR with them?

5.Write short notes on


lobbying
open system model of pr
principles of persuasion.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT AND PR

Crises are less predictable and could require some investment in time and money as well as other
resources to addresses them. They equally, very often attract public attention. Over the years, there have
been divergent views among authors and practitioners on the specific meaning of crisis. However, a
consensus is gradually emerging.

Ole R. Hosti defined a crisis as a situations ‘charactierised by surprise, high threat to important values
and a short decision time.’
Thierry C. Pauchant and Ian I. Mitroff, say that a crisis is a ‘disruption that physically affects a system
as a whole and threatens its
basic assumptions, its subjective sense of self, its existential core.’ Crisis expert Steven Fink defines a
crisis as an "unstable time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending." Barton (1993) has
defined a crisis as a situation characterized by:
(1) A surprise
(2) A high threat to important values, and
(3) Requiring a short decision time.
Fern-Banks (1996) views a crisis as "a major occurrence with a potentially negative outcome affecting an
organization, company, or industry, as well as its publics, products, or good name."

Steven Fink further points out that all crises run the risk of:

* Escalating in intensity
* Coming under close scrutiny of the media and the government
* Interfering with normal operations
* Jeopardizing the positive public image of the organization.
* Damaging a company’s bottom line

PLANNING FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT:


1. CLEARLY DEFINE THE PROBLEM
2. FIX CLEAR CUT OBJECTIVES
3. DEFINE TARGET AUDIENCE.
4. CONDUCT A CRISIS AUDIT ANALYSE PEOTENTIAL RISKS AND PREPARE APLAN
5. DRAW A CRISIS SCENARION THAT MIGHT HIT COMPANY.
6. DEFINE RESPONSIBILITIES ALONG WITH TASK AND JOB THAT NEEDS TO BE
PERFORMED.
7.TRAIN THE SPOKESPERSON.

Steps in Crisis Communication


Jonathan L. Bernstein, principal of Bernstein Communication suggests
what he calls The Ten Steps of Crisis Communication.
• Identify your crisis communication team
• Identify spokespersons
• Train your spokespersons
• Establish communication protocols
• Identify and know your audiences
• Anticipate crisis
• Assess the situation
• Identify key messages
• Decide on key communication methods
• Ridding out the storm

STEPS TO EFFECTIVE (solve) CRISIS MANAGEMENT:


1. ISOLATE A CRISIS TEAM
2. DEVELOP STRATEGY ON WORST CASE SCENARIO
3. DONOT SUPPRESS -TRY AND RESOLVE.
4. IDENTIFY SUPPORT GROUP – SEEK THEIR HELP.
5. HAVE A LONG TERM CRISIS PLAN READY.
6. TEST THE PLAN.
7. BE PREPARED WITH AUTHORITATIVE COMMUNICATION.
8. HAVE EXPERTS IDENTIFIED.
9. PREPARE COMMUNICATION KITS.
10. TRAIN PEOPLE TO MEET TOUGHEST SITUATION.

STAGES:

PRECRISIS STAGE: prepare for crisis, identify adversaries , build image through meaningful
corporate communication.

DURING CRISIS: Reduce channels of rumors through continuous communication with public,
highlight on action taken, respond quickly and honestly.

POST CRISIS PERIOD: Continue relationship building , continue communication, continue image
building.

The Stages of a Crisis


No organisation remains the same after a crisis. Any crisis would usually leave
some positive or negative trials behind. The state of your organisation after a
crisis is a function of how prepared it was and how it handles the crisis. The
truth is, any organisation must have a crisis plan, but no crisis plan fits
perfectly into any crisis situation. You would need some amount of pragmatic
tilt to handle crises at any given time. At the end of a given crisis, your
organisation may come out as a villain or a victim and probably as a hero.
Most companies would rather come out as heroes. But this is dependent on
your level of preparedness.
Nothing is as good as a crisis that is averted. It is better to avert a crisis than
to solve it. The old saying’ prevention is better than cure ‘ is as true in public
relations as it is in other areas of human life. With a good team on ground,
you should be able to foresee and forecast a crisis and nip it in the bud before
it gets out of hand. There is hardly any crisis that occurs without early
warning signals. Ignoring the warning makes the
crisis loom large and often to uncontrollable proportions.

Crises develop in four stages, namely: Warning stage, Point of no


return, Clean up Stage and the stage when things return to normal.
Warning Stage: As we noted above, crises do not ‘just happen’. Every
crisis gives some form of signal or the other. You must be able to see
and read these signals and nip the crisis in the bud. At the warning stage,
events are still largely under control. A proactive step could be all that is
needed to do the trick. It is an indication of professional expertise to
recognize the potential for danger and act accordingly. When the cloud
is gathering, native wisdom demands that you bring in your cloths from
the wash lines, call in the kids from the playing filed and get an
umbrella if you must go out.
Point of no Return: If you do not take proactive steps as expected at the
warning stage, then you must take reactive steps when you have reached the
avoidable point of no return stage. The crisis could have been avoided before
now but having reached this stage, you would need the Wisdom of Solomon
to prevent it. It is no longer avoidable, it just must happen, and some
damages are inevitable, but the extent of damage will depend on how your
organisation responds to the situation. You must know that the longer it takes
to react effectively to a crisis, the greater the potential for damage.
Marguerite Sullivan, (p.62) observed that ‘the key to effective crisis
communication is to be prepared before the crisis occurs. Once an emergency
happens, there is little time to
think much less to plan. Without a crisis plan, you can be overwhelmed by
events.’ At this point, your various publics especially your traditional publics
would know about the crisis and would be watching keenly to see how you
would handle it. At this stage, you must be giving information that would give
a true picture of the situation; else the
rumour mill would grind fast. You must have a crisis communication plan.
Someone in the public relations office must be talking but must know what to
talk and who to talk to. Sullivan further recommends ‘in a crisis, the best
course of action is to be forthcoming and honest and to do what it takes to
facilitate stories. The media are going to write and
air stories with or without your help. It’s in your best interest to
participate in a story- even a negative one – in order to have your
position correctly represented.’
Clean up Stage: The point of no return is not a total loss stage. The degree
of damage can still be minimised. This is however dependent on what you do
in the third stage which is the clean up stage. Here, you areattempting to deal
with the problem and its effects. Making a success of this stage will depend
on your organisation’s crisis management and communication capacity. A
well laid out crisis management and
communication plan will take care of the crisis in a short time, but a weak or
non-existent crisis management policy could make the crisis drag on for a
long time during which much more damage could be done by the escalation
of the crisis. The clean up stage is a period of recovery, it is a time to take a
retrospective look at the past before the crisis and examine the build up of
events to the crisis. It is a period to do thorough internal and external
investigations into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis. The last
stage is that when things return to normal. Let’s get it right, things can
never be exactly the same for any organisation after any crisis, so we cannot
have a situation where things return to how they were before the crisis.
Usually, a crisis would leave in its trail some
changes in structure, policy and even personnel. We can therefore use the
word ‘normal’ here to mean a time when everyone gets back to work after the
crisis. It is a time to see what went wrong or went right at any given stage. It
is also a time to assess your organisation’s preparedness for crisis. You would
want to ask ‘how can this crisis and indeed other crises be prevented in future
and when they unavoidably occur, how do
we react to minimise damage?’ All of these can be represented in a crisis
dynamic model as shown below:

Crisis Dynamics: Adapted from Guth and Marsh (2000)


As you examine the above model, you will discover that it suggests a
continuum of a crisis in a way, i.e. a situation in which we move from one
crisis to another. This is true to some extent; the extent to which your
organisation does little or nothing about its crisis communication and
management plan. If management takes proactive steps by identifying the
warning signals of an impending crisis and nips it in the bud, it won’t have to
go through the cycle. You also have another chance to prevent the cycle run
after the crisis. If management properly takes stock of the crisis through a
thorough evaluation, assessment and post-mortem of the crisis and
management performance, and apply the
lessons it has learnt. Except this is done, history will certainly repeat itself.
Kinds of Crisis
The nature or form of a crisis would usually determine its impact,
consequences and indeed the approach to handling it. We can classify
crises into two categories namely: Act- of- Crisis and Man-Made Crisis.
Act-of-God Crises often occur due to the vagaries of nature. Man can
do very little to prevent them, but can prepare for them through careful
and diligent planning. Examples of act-of-God crises are flood,
earthquake, volcanic eruption, death, etc. Your organisation may not be
able to completely stop any of these crises but with good foresight, it
could lessen their consequences.
Man-Made Crises are preventable crises which often occur as a result
of human negligence. Examples include fire disaster, epidemic, labour
or civil unrest, etc. You will agree with me that each and all of these
crises can be adequately preempted and prevented.
Sam Black’s classification of crises includes (1) Known-unknown crises
and Unknown-Unknown crises.
Known-unknown Crises are those kinds of hazards and adversities that
are common to a particular line of business. For instance, a motor
company knows that it is prone to road accident, fire or theft of vehicle.
An electricity company knows that one or more of its staff could be
electrocuted while on duty, a chemical company runs the risk of
chemical poisoning. Usually, organisations are conscious of the
possibility of these crises but may not know when they could happen.
Unknown-unknown Crises are usually not predictable or foreseen.
They spring from the blues and take everyone unaware. An example
here could be an earthquake in an unlikely place like Nigeria.