Steps to Professionalisation of PR: Part II

A codes of ethics, the final and what seems to be the most important of the criteria, is the puzzle piece that would complete the picture of professionalization for the industry. L’Etang says in Public Relations; Concepts, Practice and Critique “Ethics are a part of organizational identity and of course a vital part of the organization’s reputational stance. These are usually found in the Code of Ethics or Code of Practice.” In our case, these codes are known as the codes of conduct.

In Exploring Public Relations, Ralph Tench and Liz Yeomans identify these codes as being a safeguard for professions and their values and contribute to professionalisation and enhancing the reputation of public relations. In order to demonstrate this, we will look at selections from two different codes of conduct from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

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Steps to Professionalisation of PR: Part I

whattheythinkido_pr1Becoming a profession, a process outlined in Effective Public Relations, is a progression that contains a well-developed formula found in well-respected professions such as law and medicine. Among these are specialised education, recognition by the community, autonomy and personal responsibility, and finally “codes of ethics and standards of performance enforced by a self-governing association of colleagues.”

The last qualification, probably the most vital for a thriving industry, is one that has kept the public relations industry from becoming the established profession that they strive to be. Across the profession, there are several different codes of ethics provided for practitioners, however, the issue of ease of entry coupled with lack of enforcement prove vexing for the professionalization of the PR industry.

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‘Share This’: Media Monitoring and Measuring

Share_This_frontcover-e1341834417738Share This, a book about social media, created by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, celebrates the dynamic relationships that social media outlets can facilitate. However, the CIPR also focuses on what these complex relationships mean for public relations practitioners and the rapid development of online communications.

One section of this book looks specifically at social media monitoring and measuring.

With many of today’s new practitioners growing up digitally literate, we can assume that they use, or at least are familiar with, different social media. The same can be said for the public they are trying to reach.

The chapter ‘Real-Time Public Relations’ is centred on how media monitoring has changed from a ‘slow and reflective’ process into one that is fast-paced with an over abundance of information. Media monitoring went from scanning a few new clippings to being inundated with blog posts, Tweets, Facebook shares and likes, repins on Pinterest, photo uploads to Instagram and Flikr along with traditional media.

‘Conversations play out second by second, minute by minute on Twitter, blogs, forums, Facebook, Google+, Quora, on the talk pages of Wikipedia, on comment-enabled websites run by established news media… And this has…major ramifications, meaning that monitoring alone is insufficient: Your stakeholders’ expectations of your participation in the real-time conversation may well have changed.’

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The Cost: Celebrity-Cause Relationships

The Telegraph reported Jimmy Saville, Top of the Pops presenter and host of Jim’ll Fix It, raised over £40 million for charities including Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the National Spinal Injuries Centre and St. Francis Hospital.

In the U.S., Lance Armstrong raised over $325 million for cancer awareness and research through his charity organization Livestrong.

If we look at the numbers, it’s hard to argue that both of these celebrity endorsers didn’t do well for their charities. However, with such a favourable light so closely attached to each of these celebrities, charities need to carefully consider what it means to take on a celebrity endorser.

Not only do charities reap the benefits of fame and notoriety passed down vicariously through their celebrity, they also inherit any negative backlash that arises should the celebrity fall from grace.

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Monitor Your Social Media: Free Online Tools

Social media monitoring may sound fun because you get to be on Facebook, Twiter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media sites all day, but it’s much more rigorous than you would think.

I spent the last three weeks following Tottenham Hotspur FC on all of their social media channels. I figured it would be best to follow something that I would already be interested in so as not to burn out during the monitoring.

During those three weeks I counted thousands (yes, thousands) of tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and Instagram photos, plus all of their comments, likes, shares, retweets, favourites, and even dislikes.

Through the sea of data I collected for myself, I learned a lot about Tottenham’s social media, things that aren’t as apparent just by looking at them. Facebook is better for sharing pictures, while Twitter is great for minute-by-minute match updates, and fans can’t get enough of videos and Instagram photos, which seemed to become more popular in the last three weeks.

Well, maybe you would notice that from just looking at their social media, but what about sentiment, engagement, the best time to tweet, reach, exposure, or even tweet density?

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The Power of Simplicity: Vaseline

Our Consumer PR module started by talking about the power of brands. We are exposed to an amazing number of brands each day. A Consumer Report says we are exposed to about 247 images per day. We are exposed to brands on clothing, food, adverts, social media- everywhere.

What makes brands so powerful? One answer is simplicity.

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For or against?: Lobbying in PR

BellPottIndy-228x300In our ‘Contemporary Theories and Issues in PR’ module, we recently had a debate with this prompt: Lobbyists further the interests of powerful elites and imbalance the democratic process – the lobbying industry should be banned.

Initially I thought to myself lobbying is just like any other form of public relations. Lobbying tries to influence the public on a point or issue just like other PR sectors.

However, when I started researching lobbying, I changed my mind.

In the 2012 European Communications Monitor, lobbying, public affairs and governmental relations had the most trouble with ethical issues. According to the 2,137 public relations practitioners that were surveyed, 66.7% of them said they faced ethical issues once to several times in their workplace.

What more unethical of a workplace dilemma than that of the Bell Pottinger ‘dark arts’ scandal that took place in December of 2011.

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Six Seconds of Fame: Using Vine for PR

Vine has been out for about two weeks now and no doubt you’ve heard about it. (Hopefully not just for its scandalous beginnings.)

I admit I didn’t quite understand what Vine was all about until I watched their introduction video. You’re allowed six seconds of filming time and you have the power to start and stop filming by pressing a finger down on your smartphone screen.

Filming six seconds of video seemed like just a Twitter gimmick to me. However, I was surprised by the creativity that people have put in their videos, creating stop-motion adventures and scenes of childhood sweethearts.

But what does this mean for PR?

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#hmvXFactorFiring: HMV Social Media Crisis

I like to check out what’s trending on Twitter for kicks and giggles. Sometimes you get gems like #puertoricanproblems or #unansweredhiphopquestions, which I personally found hilarious, but yesterday #hmvXFactorFiring was trending.

I would bet vast sums of money those higher up at HMV weren’t laughing.

On January 15th, HMV announced they were going into administration due to bankruptcy, a move that would put 4,350 jobs at risk and close 300 stores. Yesterday began the first round of job cuts.

However, HMV overlooked an important detail- they hadn’t revoked the fired employees’ Twitter access.

Rogue ex-employees began tweeting live from HR about the mass firings and according to The Drum ‘in the space of 15 minutes, the official account, followed by over 70,000 people’ saw these Tweets:

HMV

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Football on Pinterest: Grow Your SEO

In my ‘PR and New Media’ module we’re currently working on a social media monitoring project. I’ve been feverishly tracking Tottenham Hotspur FC on all of their social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Pinterest? For football?

My experience with Pinterest has only ever included looking up recipes, laughing at memes and piecing together my imaginary wardrobe. Just from using the platform, it seems geared more towards women based on the content and according to Econsultancy I was correct.

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Copyright: Econsultancy

Through Econsultancy’s research, they also identified that while Pinterest is ranked number three in the social media world with a staggering 12 million users in the US, there are only 200,000 users in the UK.

So how does a predominately female platform connect with a predominately male sport? The answer lies in the knowledge of your audience and the platform.

Even though most Pinterest users are women, UK Pinterest users are majority male.

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Brett Ashley Bridges

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