George Washington University The Key Stakeholders Your Employees Questions


 Carefully read Chapter 8 (The Key Stakeholders: Your Employees) in the Caywood text.
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Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., is a full professor and member of the Integrated
Marketing Communications Department in the Medill School of Journalism, Media,
Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. He was one of 4
faculty members who initially created and designed the integrated marketing
communications program. He is the first tenured professor of public relations to
teach PR at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism Media and Integrated
Marketing Communications. Professor Caywood teaches graduate classes in public
relations, marketing, social and business media, crisis management,
communications management and marketing PR.
Dr. Caywood has published numerous articles and book chapters on public
relations, advertising and marketing in business and political campaigns and has
done research on values in contemporary advertising. Caywood is editor of the bestselling first and second editions of The Handbook of Strategic Public Relations &
Integrated Communications (McGraw Hill).
He was named by PRWeek as one of the 100 most influential PR people of the
twentieth century and one of the top 10 outstanding educators in 2000. He was
named Educator of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and
awarded the PRSA Anvil prize. He was also named the Educator of the Year by the
Sales and Marketing Executives of the Chicago area. He has served as vice president
of marketing for start-up company eMarketWorld. He has worked for two past
governors and the attorney general of the state of Wisconsin. He ran a number of
state campaigns in Wisconsin and has served as a political expert for ABC-TV
Channel 7 Chicago. Since 2004, he has spoken extensively to audiences in China and
Chinese business leaders in the United States. Honored as an educator, he carried the
Olympic Torch in Lijiang, China. He holds a number of honorary teaching posts with
Chinese universities.
He is a member of the board of, which is a global disaster relief
organization using advanced supply chain solutions. He is also a member and former
trustee of the A.W. Page Society. He is founding publisher and continues as
publisher of the Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. He is a member
of the board of the Journal of Interactive Advertising (University of Texas–Austin),
the new Case Research Journal (University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill) and the
Journal of Public Relations. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of
America, the American Academy of Advertising and the American Marketing
Professor Caywood received his joint doctorate in business (management) and in
journalism–mass communications (advertising and public relations) from the faculty
of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He also earned a Master of Science in
Public Affairs in the first class of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs,
University of Texas–Austin, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the
University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Al Golin, Chairman and Founder, GolinHarris
Chapter 1
Twenty-First Century Public Relations: The Strategic Stages of Integrated
Marketing Communications
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Chapter 2
Communications Research: Foundational Methods
Anders Gronstedt, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, The Gronstedt Group Clarke
L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Chapter 3
Communications Research: Dynamic Digital Methods
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Chapter 4
Public Relations Law
Karla K. Gower, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Advertising and Public
Relations, University of Alabama
Chapter 5
A Brief History of Public Relations: The Unseen Power
Scott M.Cutlip, Fellow, PRSA, Professor and Dean Emeritus, University of
Georgia (deceased)
Brent Baker, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.) and Dean Emeritus, College of
Communication, Boston University
Chapter 6
Ethics: Grounding the Promotional Strategies of China’s Tobacco Industry in
Cornelius Pratt, Ph.D., APR, Professor, Department of Strategic
Communication, Temple University
Chapter 7
The Stakeholder Concept: Empowering Public Relations
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Chapter 8
The Key Stakeholders: Your Employees
Keith Burton, President, Insidedge
Chapter 9
Consumer Insight in a Digital Age
Geraldine Henderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Business, Rutgers
Chapter 10
Marketing Public Relations: Cementing the Brand
Patricia T. Whalen, Ph.D., APR, President, Whalen Communications Group
Chapter 11
Investor Relations for Shareholder Value: Communicating with the Market
Nancy Hobor, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Northwestern University and Retired
Senior Vice President, Communications and Investor Relations, Grainger
Chapter 12
Mergers and Acquisitions: Communications Between the Lines
Joele Frank, Founder and Managing Partner, Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer
Chapter 13
Charities and Corporate Philanthropy: Giving Back
John A. Koten, Founding Director of Arthur W. Page Society, and former Vice
President, Corporate Communications, Ameritech
Chapter 14
Government Public Information: Portal to the Public
Brent Baker, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.), and Dean Emeritus, College of
Communication, Boston University
Chapter 15
Broadcast Media as Broadcast Public Relations
Tim Larson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Communication,
University of Utah
Craig Wirth, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Communication,
University of Utah
Chapter 16
Digital Communities: Social Media in Action
Richard Edelman, President and CEO, Edelman
Robert Holdheim, Managing Director for India, Edelman
Mark Hass, President of Edelman China
Phil Gomes, Senior Vice President, Digital Integration, Edelman Digital
Steve Rubel, Executive Vice President, Global Strategy and Insights, Edelman
Derek Creevey, Contributor,
Communications, Edelman
Chapter 17
Global Media Relations: Traditional through 2.0
Matthew P. Gonring, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Jackson
National Life Insurance Company
Chapter 18
Nongovernmental Organizations: Solving Society’s Problems
Ray Boyer, Communication Consultant and Owner, Boyer Media
Governor Scott McCallum, CEO, Aidmatrix Foundation
Chapter 19
Associations: A Strong Voice
Richard L. Hanneman, President, Salt Institute 1986-2010
Chapter 20
Agencies: Managing a Global Communications Firm
Ray Kotcher, Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer, Ketchum
Chapter 21
Issues Management Methods for Reputational Management
James E. Arnold, APR, Chief Executive Officer, Arnold Consulting Group
Raymond P. Ewing, Associate Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University,
and former Corporate Communications Director, Allstate
Chapter 22
State and Local Government Relations: Guiding Principles
L. James Nelson, Public Affairs Consultant
Chapter 23
Corporate Governance: Operating as an Open Book
Ted McDougal, Founder and Principal, McDougal & Associates and Senior
Counselor, Ketchum
Kurt P. Stocker, Director, New York Stock Exchange Regulation, Inc. and
Former Chief Communications Officer, Continental Bank Corporation
Chapter 24
Career Paths in Public Relations
Jean Cardwell, President, Cardwell Enterprises, Inc.
Dana Rubin, Rubin Creative
Chapter 25
The Chief Executive Officer: The Key Spokesperson
John D. Graham, Chairman, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications
Chapter 26
Crisis Communications: Brand New Channels, Same Old Static
Hud Englehart, Managing Partner, Beacon Advisors, Inc. and Adjunct
Professor, Integrated Marketing Communications, Northwestern University
Chapter 27
Sustainability for Business: A New Global Challenge
Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, and Chief Sustainability
Officer, AT&T
Tony Calandro, Senior Vice President and Partner, VOX Global
Chapter 28
Environmental Communication: A Matter of Relationships, Trust and Planning
Susan Croce Kelly, APR, President, Kirkpatrick International, Inc.
Chapter 29
Relationship Transformation: Shifting Media Boundaries
Kevin Clark, President and Founder, Content Evolution LLC and Director,
Emeritus, Brand and Values Experience, IBM Corporation
Chapter 30
Reputation Management: Building and Maintaining Reputation through
Craig E. Carroll, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Department Chair of
Communication and Journalism, Lipscomb University
Stephen A. Greyser, DBA, Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business
Administration (Marketing/Communications), Emeritus, Harvard Business
Elliot S. Schreiber, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Marketing and Executive
Director of the Center for Corporate Reputation Management, Bennett S.
LeBow College of Business, Drexel University
Chapter 31
The Automotive Industry: A Race to the Future
Ray Day, Vice President, Communications, Ford Motor Company
Stephen J. Harris, Senior Counselor, McGinn and Company, and past Vice
President, Global Communications, General Motors
Chapter 32
The Aviation Industry and Civil Aviation: Flying High for Business
Robert P. Mark, Chief Executive Officer, CommAvia, and Editor,
Chapter 33
The Insurance Industry: Reputation Management in Good Hands
Robert P. Gorman Jr., Principal, Robert E. Gorman Communication and
Former Sr. Communication Consultant, Allstate Insurance Company
James M. Dudas, Communications Consultant and Former Sr. Director, Allstate
Insurance Company
Chapter 34
The Hospitality Industry: Communicating with Our Guests
John Wallis, Global Head, Marketing and Brand Strategy, Hyatt Hotels &
Chapter 35
Sports Marketing: Champion Communicators
Amy D. Littleton, Vice President, KemperLesnik
Steven H. Lesnik, Founder, KemperLesnik
Chapter 36
Effective Technology Communications: Innovation that Matters
Edward Barbini, Vice President of External Relations, IBM
Rob Flaherty, Senior Partner and President, Ketchum
Chapter 37
The Entertainment Business: Lights, Cameras, Promotion
Rob Doughty, President, Rob Doughty Communications and past Vice
President, Communications, Disney Resorts
Chapter 38
Health Care: Harmonizing the Healthcare Message
Richard T. Cole, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Advertising, Public Relations
and Retailing, Michigan State University and former Vice President,
Communications, Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Chapter 39
The Global Restaurant Industry: Communications Strategies
Jonathan Blum, Senior Vice President, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Yum!
Chapter 40
The Retail Industry: Not Your Father’s Drugstore
Michael Polzin, Divisional Vice President, Corporate Communications,
Walgreen Co.
Chapter 41
The Pharmaceutical Industry: From Promotion to Constituency Relations
Elliot S. Schreiber, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Marketing and Executive
Director, Center for Corporate Reputation Management, Bennett S. LeBow
College of Business, Drexel University, and former Vice President,
Communications, Bayer
Chapter 42
Consulting, Technology Services and Outsourcing: An Integrated Approach to
Marketing and Communications
Roxanne Taylor, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Accenture
Jayme Silverstone, Sr. Director, Marketing and Communications, Accenture
Chapter 43
The Financial and Banking Industry: Investing in Our Stakeholders
Chapter 44
The Food and Beverage Industry: Catering to People’s Palates
Richard L. Nelson, Vice President, Corporate Communications, ACCO Brands
Marguerite Copel, Vice President, Corporate Communications, The Dean
Foods Company
Chapter 45
The Oil and Natural Gas Industry: Communicating in a Challenging
Sam Falcona, Vice President (Retired), Communications and Public Affairs,
Chapter 46
Internal and External Communications in a Law Firm
Mark Bain, Former Global Director of Communications, Baker & McKenzie
Chapter 47
Changing Your Own Behavior to Enhance Behavioral Results
Kerry D. Tucker, Chief Executive Officer, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, Inc.
Bill Trumpfheller, President, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, Inc.
Chapter 48
Creativity: Powering Integrated Marketing Communications Ideas
Marty Kohr, Faculty, Northwestern University Medill IMC, Director, Chicago
4A’s Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies, and former Advertising
Practitioner, DDB, Y&R, Hal Riney and Leo Burnett
Chapter 49
Writing for the Ear: The Challenge of Effective Speechwriting
Lee W. Huebner, Ph.D., Professor, George Washington University, and former
Publisher and CEO, International Herald Tribune
Chapter 50
Writing for Your Audience Matters More Than Ever
George Harmon, Professor Emeritus, Medill
Northwestern University
Chapter 51
Storytelling: All Stories are True
Emma Caywood, MLIS, Storyteller and Storytelling Consultant
Emma Caywood, MLIS, Storyteller and Storytelling Consultant
Chapter 52
Branded Content Strategy: Meaningful Stakeholder Interaction
Sara E. Smith, MSIMC, Content Strategy Consultant, Boulder, CO
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
Chapter 53
Immersive 3-D Virtual Worlds: Avatars at Work
Anders Gronstedt, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, The Gronstedt Group
Chapter 54
Global Public Relations Networks: The Efficacy and Role of Membership
Organizations in Public Relations
Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder and Chief Executive Officer,
Redphlag LLC, and Chairman and President of the Public Relations Society
of America, 2012
Chapter 55
The Future of Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communications
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D., Professor, Northwestern University
It may not have taken a village, but it did take a relatively small community of
people to produce this second edition of the Handbook.
Nearly 70 chapter authors were “cross nominated” by other professionals in the
field as leaders in their fields, excellent writers and dedicated professionals. All of
the authors were willing to share their knowledge with a new generation of public
relations professionals, students and other managers. Many of the authors were
personal and professional associates from the Arthur W. Page Society, my
membership and service in the Public Relations Society of America and my work at
Northwestern University as past chair of the Department of Integrated Marketing
Communications (IMC) from 1994 to 2000 and also as director of the Graduate
Program in Corporate Public Relations beginning in 1990. I owe most of these
introductions initially to Ray Ewing, Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University,
who first encouraged me to interview for a faculty position at Medill. We met during
a program I managed on telecommunications in 1987 at Marquette University in
The most important people were, of course, my “team” of editors and researchers.
For this edition, Mary Caywood is the most important contributor. Her fluency in
Spanish and French has given her an interest in grammar that makes her an excellent
first-line copy editor. This is the third book she has helped me develop and edit. It
was Mary’s father, Professor J. Howard Westing at the University of Wisconsin–
Madison, who inspired me to consider books based on the thoughts of other experts.
While spending a lot of time in my early career standing in the shadow of great men
and women in government, business and academics, I became persuaded that they
had more than just spoken words to share. Mary has given me the discipline and
diligence to complete the words of over 100 experts in three books that we have
shared with thousands of readers.
Working with Mary was Sara Elizabeth Smith, an extraordinary young
professional and scholar. Sara was the editor of the 21st edition of the Journal of
Integrated Marketing Communications before she graduated with a degree in IMC in
December 2010. With extraordinary business experience as well, she was the perfect
recruit. I was fortunate to have the contributions of Sara, who also coauthored a
chapter on the newer field of content management that she seems destined to lead.
Another contributor to the book, who authored a chapter on one of her areas of
expertise and helped with the chapter editing process as well, was my daughter
Emma Caywood. I thank Emma for taking the time to write this chapter while she
was finishing her graduate degree. I also thank my son Graham Caywood, who was
the research assistant to his boss, Scott McCallum at the Aidmatrix Foundation, for
the case study in the chapter on NGOs. It would also be appropriate to recognize my
son, Matt, who always has an intelligent and thoughtful comment to alleviate our
writer’s block or search for a new idea. I do not know how many public relations
professors have a neuroscientist with a doctorate (Harvard, Cambridge and UCSF), a
professional storyteller with a master’s degree (Northwestern and Dominican) and a
younger global NGO manager with a cognitive psychology degree (UCLA) advising
them for free, but I find it useful and inspiring.
Always standing ready with the experience of the world-class publisher McGrawHill were Mary Glenn, Mary Therese Church and Peter McCurdy as our editorial
contacts. They publish more books than even the faculty of the IMC program, so
they know what to do and when it should be done. Mary Therese returned to graduate
school and was replaced by her boss Mary Glenn, with the help of Peter McCurdy.
We also wish to thank Richard Rothschild and his team from Print Matters. All have
been terrific supporters of the book’s authors, ideas and goals.
Academics sometimes speak of the “publish or perish” pressures of their jobs in
research universities. Business leaders do not normally operate under these rules but,
given the fact that many of the authors in this volume have published more than
white papers and memoranda, PR professionals seem to have an appetite for
cogently writing down their thoughts. I would like to thank my Northwestern
colleagues in the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing
Communications, in Communications and in the Kellogg School of Management,
who have inspired me during all these years that I have been a professor here. I
would like to thank the exceptional students whom I have had the pleasure of
teaching and learning from, while I have been privileged to enjoy the best part of
being a professor: teaching in the classroom. Finally, I would like to thank the dean
of Medill, John Lavine, for granting me a sabbatical so I could concentrate on
completing this book. I hope that what I have learned from the 68 other writers will
help me start new conversations with the new generation of students who are just
entering this field and will be entering my classroom.
Clarke L. Caywood
I am flattered that Clarke Caywood asked me to write a preface to this book, which
covers essentially every facet of the communications business—a field I have
worked in and loved for over a half century.
Shortly after I joined a fellow named Max Cooper, who had a small PR firm in
Chicago, I made a cold phone call that led to the growth of our company. This call
was made to Ray Kroc, who had a handful of restaurants nobody ever heard of—
named McDonald’s. Our first priority was to help them gain awareness—and thus
sell franchises, which we accomplished through old-fashioned publicity techniques.
As they, and we, grew, we had to deal with all the disciplines you will read about in
this book.
When I started, the public relations business was in its infancy—and was a lot
simpler than it is today. You could reach a huge percentage of the population with
well-placed stories on television and in major newspapers and magazines.
Our goal was to get our clients mentioned, and as the cliché stated: “Just spell the
name right.”
Of course, there was no Internet back then, and communications were generally
one way—but today, with millions of websites and web pages, anyone with an
Internet connection and a point of view can potentially influence public opinion. In
the world of phone cameras, citizen journalism and our global 24/7 news cycle, the
PR-communications industry faces challenges I never dreamt about.
Invariably, after most of my speeches, I am approached by a young person in the
audience, who laments the problem they have with their companies, in that their
supervisor or management does not appreciate what they do or really does not
understand their functions. They always ask me, “How can I convince them that
what I do is meaningful to the success of the company?”
Most times I give them an answer that shocks them. I tell them to quit their job
and go somewhere where the companies do understand and appreciate them.
Many of you who will read this book are already in the industry, and some are
contemplating careers in this profession. I have never regretted going into it, as it
has kept me engaged, because unless you are current, creative and curious (my three
Cs), you will never succeed.
I would like to emphasize curiosity. My favorite trait, and lately, the common
thread I have been hearing about, when determining why a CEO or even a president
of the United States is successful, is “an insatiable curiosity.” I am always happy
when a grandchild of mine, or a youngster I meet, asks me a lot of questions!
The following pages will give you an outstanding background in just about every
aspect of the communications business—but, in addition, don’t forget to follow your
“gut” feelings. When I hear someone say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” my blood
begins to boil. Folks around my firm have always heard my constant mantra: “fix it
before it breaks.” We should all have the courage to change things before we have
Al Golin
Chairman, GolinHarris
April 28, 2011
Stages of Integrated Marketing Communications
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D.
Professor and Past Chairman, Department of Integrated Marketing Communications
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Northwestern University
Since the last time I edited this book, public relations (PR) practitioners have
continued their efforts to build strong leadership for businesses and other complex
organizations. These continued efforts to integrate at several levels of business and
society will create more integrated management processes, protecting and
preserving the reputation of the organization and its stakeholders. In the past decade,
public relations has moved beyond its self-defined role of building “relations” to
integrating relationships between an organization and its publics.
Public relations is the profitable integration of an organization’s new and continuing
relationship with stakeholders, including customers, by managing all
communications contacts with the organization, which creates and protects the brand
and the reputation of the organization.
After reading all the chapters in this second edition of the Handbook, the big idea
that emerges is that PR provides management a leadership opportunity to integrate
relationships both inside and outside their organization, using a wide range of
management strategies and tactics, including communications. I was surprised to
find that I only needed to modify my formal definition slightly since the first
Out of all the functions of management, PR has the broadest reach, appealing to
the greatest number of audiences or stakeholder groups and individuals. The chief
executive officer (CEO) understands that the shareholder, employee and customer
are all important stakeholders, although not the only ones. This book begins its
section on stakeholders with a chapter on employees by Insidedge CEO, Keith
Burton (Chapter 8), which makes this important point.
However, PR is still naturally focused on communications as its strategic
advantage and knowledge base. Because of what we are presently calling social
media, the field of communications has exploded. The social media chapter, written
by part of the leadership team at Edelman, reinforces the concept that PR has gained
t h e greatest ownership and understanding of the use of these applications.
Reputation management is now under the wing of public relations, as demonstrated
in the chapter by John Graham of Fleishman-Hillard (Chapter 25).
Although some teachers and practitioners continue to waiver between the fields
being called strategic communications and public relations, I prefer not to begin to
label all the sister fields of marketing, advertising, and human resources with the
now overused descriptor of strategy or strategic.
Possibly the most confusing part of my working definition of PR is the word
profitable. My defense is the effort to align PR with driving corporate and
organizational goals rather than the use of a more narrow definition of PR, focusing
only on the functions of PR. With my background in ethical political campaigns,
government service, public television, business and academics, I know that the word
profit has a special meaning in business. I have argued that the word profitable can
be viewed as it appears in “beneficial” or “useful.” Using instead
synonyms such as advantageous, valuable and helpful, the meaning for
nonbusinesses such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other
organizations may be clearer. Naturally, the link to profit reminds the reader of what
they already know: profit is a financial term for the use of capital while profitable
seems a bit less capitalistic.
The terms new and continuing are also prescient to the common marketing word
loyalty. Perhaps loyalty is a more pithy representation of the idea, but new and
continuing are dynamic. Finally, relationship is defined as a two-way interaction,
obviously augmented by Web 2.0, which allows for the conversation to occur on the
Internet. This idea continues to be defined by public relations.
Most of the authors in this field have the idea that integration is more than a simple
(although useful) combination of the fields of advertising, promotions, direct
marketing, events and marketing public relations. The growth of integrated
marketing communications (IMC) as a practical field was based on the initial value
of this useful combination of communication tactics into a more comprehensive
strategy. However, what is still missing from the general teaching and understanding
of IMC is a broader understanding of the importance of integration and why public
relations is the ideal professional field to guide and lead in integration.
First, PR will lead corporations and other organizations on several levels,
including the integration of relationships with various stakeholders, the integration
of corporate and organizational structures, the integration with industry and
competitive groups, and finally, the integration with society. The integration of
complex organizations demonstrates the range of leadership that public relations
professionals can offer, from a macro level of interaction with society to a more
micro level with individual stakeholders. This range of relationship building and
management is what is ultimately appealing to many professionals in the field, with
a broader view of the ultimate role of individuals and organizations.
The first level of integration relies on the PR professional’s intellectual and skillbased fostering of new relationships with valuable stakeholders to maintain and
enhance the reputation of her organization. Stakeholders include individuals and
organizations that have a stake in the failure or success of an organization.
As the name suggests, public relations manages relations with various publics.
Rather than focusing on the important, but more narrow, relationship of marketing
with customers, for example, public relations is expected to manage the
corporation’s or organization’s relationships and reputation with many groups. More
than other professions, public relations strengthens the outside–in perspective of an
organization by managing relationships with many stakeholder groups inside and
outside of the organizational boundaries. Borrowed from Chapter 7, with some
modification from the energy industry, is a strong listing of stakeholders. In my
experience, it is possible to double and triple the listings with specific names of
stakeholder groups and individuals.
Management and executives
Individual investors
Federal elected officials
State elected officials
Local elected officials
Staffs of elected officials
Non–U.S. Government
Elected officials
National, state, and local
Traditional News Media
Point-of-view journalists
Social Media, Blogging, Tweeting, Facebook
Industry bloggers
NGO bloggers
Industry Associations
Integrated segment
Retail Marketers of Your Product or Service
Company owned
Privately owned
Labor Unions
Local Community
Accident- or incident-affected residents
Nongovernmental Organizations
National, state and local
Relationship partners
Because public relations is responsible for stakeholders, this allows the practitioner
to bring a tremendous asset to the boardroom. The second level of integration of PR
is with other management functions, including marketing, finance, accounting,
human resources and general management. PR also integrates with the legal
The interaction of public relations practitioners with other managers will provide
the men and women in the field the opportunity to assume a leadership role. A force
driving this development is the downsizing of organizations, which has led to the
expectation that all members of the organization are a part of a management team,
rather than just staff. Because the lines between management and staff have blurred,
projects must now be managed by qualified individuals, rather than by people with
job titles or what used to be the necessary credentials. As you can see from Al
Golin’s preface, over the past decade public relations has earned a “place at the
(management) table.” Through the growth of management-level education of public
relations professionals in universities, through professional societies, from corporate
educational efforts and by means of individual commitments to learning, PR has
become more managerial.
Public relations still offers its organizations the greatest experience and skill
through the use of various communications-based strategies and tactics. Other
management fields represented by the educational curriculum for the MBA in
finance, management, marketing, human resources, production and accounting do
not receive any serious level of communications knowledge or training. Although
PR does not only use communications to accomplish its goals, the practitioners in
this field have built their careers using, testing and recommending all forms of
communications including written, oral and nonverbal. PR has used and refined all
channels of communications, including advertising, speeches, press releases,
Internet and intranet, direct mail, events and displays. According to most observers,
PR has become the principal advocate of social media for management goals.
This level of PR integration also logically emerges out of the changes in the
restructuring and design of organizations. Stress and demands on corporations and
other complex organizations also force public relations professionals into a
leadership role. In increasingly diversified corporate structures, where profit and
management responsibilities have been given to strategic business units (SBUs) and
separate profit centers, public relations must examine its role in all areas of
management. The continued downsizing and leveling of the corporate hierarchy will
force public relations managers to examine their roles in the management of
divisions and at the corporate level.
As the chapters on the industries of oil, auto, and food and beverage show, the
movement of power and responsibility away from the traditional headquarters
toward the divisional level compels PR to examine its contribution to the marketing
function, its ability to create relationships and drive employee communications as
well as other diversified management issues at a more local level. For example,
building relationships with the general media for a division president, strengthening
specific trade press relationships for the products and services of the division, local
community relations and other contacts must be moved from the corporate level to
the SBU level.
Another integrated action might be to use zero-based planning and budgeting.
This practice, long recognized in state and even federal governments, forces the
managers to assume that last year’s programs are not necessarily going to be
supported in the forthcoming budget. Under financial pressures in public and private
organizations in this second decade of the second millennium, the concept may find
a more appreciative audience. Although it is dangerous to try to zero-base the entire
budget too widely because organizational leaders may find it difficult to rethink all
activities at once, the selective zero-basing of several programs can be productive.
This challenge to the management team will permit fresh ideas, new strategies and
new tactics to emerge.
Selectively using the traditional notion of zero-based planning and budgeting with
selective programs can mentally challenge an organization’s team not to think only
incrementally. Although many organizations operate on a year-to-year basis, with
budget increases or decreases of only 2 to 5 percent, such common instrumentalism
does not provide a manager with the courage to totally re-examine the reason for the
program, expenditure or objective. “Just because we did it last year,” as the saying
goes, does not mean the conditions of the market or environment are correct for the
same program or tactic in the coming year. A fresh, zero-based view of the program
gives permission to the management team to make new assumptions and use new
developments to plan totally new programs.
For example, Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), the largest national dairy food
marketer for its farmer members, initiated, under the direction of its CEO Tom
Gallagher, a “no sacred cows” planning effort to create a zero-based attitude among
its managers and members. The effort was symbolized by an image of a dairy cow
with a halo over its head within a circle with the international symbol of a diagonal
bar meaning no. Used on printed planning materials, and naturally on the everpresent “corn seed” cap, the symbol sent the signal to the organization that the future
might not necessarily look like the past for DMI. The very best communications
professionals know how to use communications for strategic change to build new
organizational policies and plans.
The ability of the PR professionals to integrate the communications, product and
corporate branding strategies, and generate a unified message to investors increases
the operational level role of PR in the C-suite. Again, the ability to manage current
issues and anticipate future demands on corporate resources enables educated and
well-trained public relations professionals to assume leadership roles.
The third level of integration also logically emerges from the changes in the
restructuring and design of institutions. Where there are mergers and acquisitions,
there are opportunities for the role of PR, as discussed by Joele Frank in Chapter 12.
In early 2011, CNN reported that, “global M&A has totaled $309.6 billion since
January 1 (2011) according to data from Thomson Reuters. That’s a 69% jump over
the same period in 2009, and represents the busiest start since 2000.” Globally, they
reported that “the largest geographic gainer has been the Americas, up 97 percent
year-over-year (including a 295% spike for U.S. M&A). European activity was up
90%, Asian activity up 1 percent, and both Africa and the Middle East experienced
volume declines (−38% and −29%, respectively).”1
The merger of companies creates a constant redefinition of the boundaries of the
industry, leadership in an industry sector and more. These mergers will force the
restructuring of communications in many companies. More importantly, the
dynamics of business and related sectors such as finance, health care, food,
consulting, energy, entertainment and a long list of other subsectors to business will
be radically changed.
The realignment of power within an industry sector, such as food and beverage,
will send reverberations throughout the market. New stakeholder relationships will
have to be defined without the previous players. The question of “who is on first”
will be played out in the market, but also in the press. The addition or closing of
merger-affected companies will affect all stakeholder groups, including local
government, which will be affected by tax and employment changes. Some
employees will be moved or let go and others will be newly hired. The press will
have to find out who the new spokesperson is, and the spokesperson will have to
develop new contacts. Experts and social media pundits will have to catch up on the
change in leadership and policies. Industry associations, business conference
planners and others will also have to adjust.
Industry integration has always been with us, but the driving forces of the
economy, technology, regulation and the market will add another level of integration
for public relations to manage, or at least direct, their response to the changes.
Finally, public relations managers will lead their organizations’ relationships with a
more global society. With the micro relationship built with many stakeholder
groups, the corporate and organizational public relations professional will guide the
corporate values that permit organizations to operate at a macro, global level.
Again, the education and training of the PR professional may equip him or her to
reflect the dynamics between the legal, political and social expectations of society,
corporations and other organizations. After years of listening to, speaking to and
building relationships with various publics and stakeholder groups, PR professionals
have the experience to manage the corporate response to society and societal
changes. PR has always advocated the importance of using local contacts to
understand how to build relationships in richly varied cultures.
In a graduation speech to my students, Thomas Friedman, New York Times
columnist and Pulitzer Prize–winning author, noted (from his series of books and
revisions on a “flatter Earth”) that the relationships have changed in the past decade
from those between governments or companies to those between governments and
companies.2 Even more importantly, relationships have grown into those between
individuals, governments and business in all combinations. Oprah Winfrey, in her
last televised daytime show from Chicago, noted that she had visited 150 countries
via her show. The global work of Bono and former presidents George Bush and Bill
Clinton is a remarkable statement of the changing nature of the role of the individual
and organizations’ and society’s need for strong communications and relationship
building.3 The work of, reported in Chapter 18 by Ray Boyer and
former Governor of Wisconsin, Scott McCallum, proves the importance of a global
integration—in this case, using supply chain (logistics) software to raise nearly $2
billion in global aid each year.
The border-crossing role of public relations, in which the managers operate at the
porous boundary of the organization, permits the PR professional to interact with a
wide range of stakeholders, but it also creates an expectation that PR should be fully
aware of the changing expectations of society and the matching of corporate
purposes with societal goals. The ability of the PR professional to describe, explain
and predict the societal pressures on the firm provides general management with a
risk assessment and interpretation necessary to operate in a complex social setting.
As Cornelius Pratt explains in Chapter 6 on ethics, having one more manager at the
table with a vision of ethical and value-driven purpose and actions gives PR one
more reason to be recognized for its leadership.
Although the initial analysis of public relations above requires integration at various
levels between stakeholders, business and society, the other powerful dimension of
PR is the development of a more integrated process within PR itself. One of the
fastest growing strategies associated with public relations and public relations
communications tactics is integrated marketing communications (IMC). Pioneered
by the faculty of the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications in
Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, the field has flourished in
the past 22 years in increasing practice and theoretical development. A definition of
IMC was developed for a national study for industry at Northwestern:
[IMC is a] concept of marketing communications planning that represents the
added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a
variety of communications disciplines—general advertising, direct response,
sales promotion and public relations—and combines these disciplines to
provide clarity, consistency and maximum communication impact.4
IMC emerged out of an academic department that, for several decades, had been
recognized as the number one advertising program in the country (and perhaps the
world). The department’s integration team was initially led by Professors Jack
Scissors, Stanley Tannenbaum, Don E. Schultz and me. The department had also
redefined public relations and direct marketing education with a strong managerial
approach to traditional staff functions. One goal was to change the position of the
new field from a service or staff function in organizations to a management
function. Based on my MBA teaching and educational experience, the new
curriculum included many of the core elements of an MBA curriculum. This unusual
action in a traditional journalism school allowed us to position the PR and
advertising students to “sit at the management table” with financial, organizational,
marketing and general management knowledge skills.
The leadership of the school was again demonstrated when the faculty,
administration and students integrated the existing power of the advertising, sales
promotions, direct marketing and public relations courses and knowledge. The
combination of the fields provided businesses and organizations that hired the
graduate students, interacted with the faculty and read the research with a
competitive advantage over the traditionally nonintegrated and functionally separate
operations. Although the curriculum has fluxed from time to time under pressures of
temporary market changes and changes in leadership, the field continues to fill an
important void in business education. However, IMC has not been given as much
attention from the academic community as it has from the practical professional
community in PR, sales, marketing and advertising.
IMC proves that educators can take a new direction with the traditional elements
of advertising, direct marketing and public relations education. The distinct
elements provided corporations and other organizations with compelling reasons to
re-examine their business processes. The reinvention and re-engineering of
marketing, public relations and direct marketing as a more fully integrated process
has offered public relations professionals the most significant opportunity for
advancing the influence of the profession. As a number of authors have shown, IMC
and integrated communications will permit PR to take the leadership role it deserves
based on the range and depth of the field, its attention to multiple stakeholder
groups, and its experience and strength using communications as an important
management tool.
Early in the creation of the discipline of IMC, I speculated on how long it would take
for the word integrated to be dropped in favor of marketing communications
(already used in business and business courses). It also became increasingly clear
with the work of “relationship marketing” researchers that the term might gain
favor.5 Later, the even broader term integrated marketing began to gain momentum
in the literature and references in the profession. The latter was recently explored by
Kondo and Caywood to show that the movement in theory and research has moved
toward the term integrated marketing several times more than the volume of
research work and published thought on IMC suggested.6 In other words, both
integrated marketing and PR outpublish IMC. IMC was also outpublished by the
concept of relationship marketing. Additionally, both the traditional fields of
marketing and PR outflank and outpublish the still “thin blue line of IMC,”
challenging the more established intellectual and professional practice disciplines.
As long as IMC was considered a marketing subfunction rather than a
communications function, the term seemed to have an expected shorter shelf life.
This book is one of the most successful publishing efforts in IMC to date. It has
demonstrated the ability of integrated thinking to strengthen the communications
function through stakeholder relationships. Without this perspective, it seems clear
that the term IMC will fall into disuse, in favor of integrated marketing without
more academic leadership.
More than 15 years ago, the use of the term integrated communications was an
attempt I made to bridge the gap between academic communications, public
relations and advertising by not using the “m” word (marketing). There was a
healthy debate in the 1990s over the rapacious function of marketing taking over and
subsuming the PR function in organizations, spearheaded by Professor Martha
Lauzen, Ph.D.7 Although there was some truth to it, its advocates’ narrow definition
of marketing communications as solely consumer oriented, and the still more narrow
definition of marketing as being only consumer focused did not worry most
business-oriented PR academics or practitioners. PR has thrived, as this book will
show, with its wider agenda and growing powers.
For this edition of the Handbook, I have asked many of the authors to address
their relationship with marketing, which has become more prominent since the
previous edition. So, in keeping with some tradition and risk, we are using the
descriptive phrase “Public Relations & Integrated Marketing & Communications.” It
still uses the transitory label of “integrated,” but it assumes with more ampersands
that public relations, marketing and communications must be integrated together in
more than one combination.8 Finally, on this seeming nuance, but useful distinction,
which separates this book from others in public relations, I ask a somewhat obvious
question that still might predict the future use of the hopefully unnecessary word
integrated as the field matures. The question that will be answered time and time
again in the book is, “What else would you want: a disintegrated management
This book explores the power, depth and breadth of the field of public relations, with
its sister fields of communications, integrated communications, integrated
marketing communication and marketing, as a professional field of study and
practice. PR is a highly applied discipline in the wide range of businesses and other
organizations. The book’s authors have recognized that, with their multigenerational
perspectives, advanced education and broad experience, public relations does not
operate in a vacuum.
In fact, the power of public relations is its ability to relate and develop productive
relationships with other business functions and with multiple stakeholders. PR has
not just been introduced to the notion of integration in the last decade, it has defined
the concept and practice over many decades of leadership. If the future of public
relations is not integrated, then the future will not be as bright as the authors predict
in the following pages.
As the editor of this book, I promise you that all of the authors are individuals you
would want to spend hours with, talking about the topics that they have generously
summarized for this book. If you remember conversations about important subjects
with your favorite teacher, professor, peer, boss or brightest friend, you will realize
that these authors reflect the very highest levels of thought, trust and ability to
recommend. If they were readily available, you would want to ask their opinions
before making a decision.
My objective was to permit the “voice” of each author, as a leader in the field, to
speak with his or her own point of view and style. Even with editing, the book tries
to maintain the tone of each person’s work and its details. Collectively, these
chapters represent their willingness to share with you their experience and current
thinking about how to manage, work and think—now and in the future. It is not their
cumulative experience that makes these authors’ ideas so powerful (although their
total years of experience are significant); instead, it is the vitality and currency of
their ideas that has permitted them to be successful during their entire careers,
through change after change in the environment, market conditions and society.
To summarize, the book is organized around four key sections:
1. The first highlights the areas of professional practice in public relations that focus
on specific stakeholder groups important to an organization. This area has been
greatly expanded to show the importance of a stakeholder model in business and
other organizations.
2. Many of chapters provide an extraordinary view of the practice of corporate
communications and public relations in numerous specific businesses, nonprofit
and government sectors including hospitality, technology, health care, consulting
and many others. Again, this section has been broadened to give readers an even
greater choice of topics relating to their targeted business or organization.
3. The book also includes several chapters related to research, law, career
development and the history of the profession to provide students and
professionals with a clear background to the field.
4. Finally, the book expanded the sections on how to create great communications
with stories, speeches, virtual meetings and much more. All the chapters from the
first edition have been substantially rewritten since 1997. The reader will find the
wait worthwhile because so much has changed that empowers and redefines the
professional and practical role of public relations.
This book was designed as both a professional project and a work of art and social
science. The project dimensions were clear to the original publishers as we discussed
the depth and breadth of the field and the range of experts necessary to define the
field. The coordination of 70 authors on more than 50 topics was an intellectually
stimulating challenge.
Based on an agreed structure for each chapter, the authors were asked to use their
experience and knowledge of the field to produce chapters that (1) define their area
of PR, (2) describe the strategic approach that their company and other organizations
have taken to the field, (3) discuss and list tactics that have usefully implemented
these strategies, (4) describe in one or more detailed case studies the best practices
in public relations, and (5) discuss future trends relevant to their industry or area of
expertise in PR. This format proves useful to the reader searching for specific ideas
across industries. The organization of the book also provides a strong sense of the
future from a wide range of authors and a wide selection of case examples
illustrating the practice of PR.
The book also proves to be a resource for general knowledge about public
relations. It is designed to serve the needs of the professional business book market,
and it may be one of the longer entries in this category in 2012.
The first edition was, for a time, the third best-selling textbook in public relations.
To all my colleagues who have encouraged me to design this book with two
audiences in mind—the student and the professional—I appreciate their vote of
confidence. At this point in my career, writing a typical textbook does not interest
me. I believe the next generation of public relations professionals, management,
marketing students and a host of others will find this book both instructive and
helpful. Time and time again, the authors demonstrate their depth and breadth of
knowledge about the field of PR. Seen as personal essays from individuals with
experience and credentials, the chapters provide extraordinary insight to a wide
range of organizations and PR practices. The authors are highly credible sources of
information about their topics. In addition, many of the authors have relied on
research from their organizations and others to document specific issues. The book
serves as a source of personal insight, research and parallel discussion of key issues,
industries and activities in public relations and management.
Without overpromising, I know that you will learn from the authors and enjoy
their insightful perspectives on the field of integrated public relations now and
throughout your career in the twenty-first century.
1. Define public relations for a manager who is trying to decide if public relations
could be of value to a new business that has innovative software.
2. What are the “stages” of the evolution of integration in public relations? What is
the value of knowing in what stage your company might be?
3. Explain to an interviewer what you might bring to a company with knowledge of
public relations.
4. What does the stakeholder concept bring to the discussion of the role of public
relations in business and other organizations?
1. Primack, Dan. “Gonna Be a Blockbuster? M&A Off to Best Start Since 2000.”
The Term Sheet: Fortune’s Deals Blog Term Sheet. Fortune Finance: Hedge Funds,
Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Wall Street,
Washington, (May 31, 2011).
2. Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: a Brief History of the Twenty-First
Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.
3. Clinton, Bill. Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. New York: Knopf,
2007. Print.
4. Caywood, Clarke L., Don E. Schultz, and Paul Wang. 1991. A Survey of Consumer
Goods Manufacturers. New York: American Association of Advertising Agencies,
5. Godson, Mark. Relationship Marketing. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
6. Kondo, Kimihiko, and Clarke L. Caywood. 2011. “IMC as an Innovation: Toward
a Theory of Integrated Marketing Using Theoretical Propositions,” Presented in
June 2011 to the American Academy of Advertising 2011—Asia Pacific
Conference, Brisbane Australia.
7. Lauzen, Martha M. “Public Relations Roles, Intraorganizational Power, and
Encroachment.” Journal of Public Relations Research 4.2 (1992): 61-80.
8. Tybout, Alice M., and Bobby J. Calder. 2010. Kellogg on Marketing. Hoboken,
NJ: Wiley.
Caywood, Clarke. 1995. “Integrated Marketing Campaigns.” In Integrated
Marketing Communications Symposium, edited by Ron Kaatz. Lincolnwood,
IL: NTC Business Books.
Clinton, Bill. 2007. Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. New York:
Lauzen, Martha M. “Public Relations Roles, Intraorganizational Power, and
Encroachment.” Journal of Public Relations Research 4.2 (1992): 61-80.
Schultz, Don E., and Heidi Schultz. 2003. IMC the Next Generation: Five Steps
for Delivering Value and Measuring Returns Using Marketing
Communication. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Thorson, Esther, and Jeri Moore. 1996. Integrated Communication: Synergy of
Persuasive Voices. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Tybout, Alice M., and Bobby J. Calder. 2010. Kellogg on Marketing. Hoboken,
NJ: Wiley.
Vocus White Paper. Measuring the Marketing ROI on Public Relationships. (Accessed 5/2/2011).
Wang, Paul. 1995. “Measuring ROI.” In Integrated Marketing Communications
Symposium, edited by Ron Kaatz. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books.
Weiner, Mark. “Beyond ROI.” Institute for Public Relations. (Sunday, August
19, 2007 at 12:45 pm).
Anders Gronstedt, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
The Gronstedt Group
Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D.
Professor and Past Chairman, Department of Integrated Marketing Communications
Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Communications
Northwestern University
The public relations (PR) profession is under increasingly intense pressure to justify
its existence and to demonstrate accountability. Nobody questions the need to have a
sales, accounting or manufacturing department. The senior vice president of sales
can show up for top management meetings with sales statistics. The vice president
of manufacturing can bring productivity numbers, defect rates and cycle time
reduction data. The chief financial officer can dazzle senior management with
budget forecasts and cash flow analyses. However, most senior public relations or
corporate communications directors do not have the hard data to demonstrate their
value to the corporation. In the last decade, the percentage of respondents to the
University of Southern California Annenberg General Accepted Practices (GAP)
study who report directly and exclusively to the C-suite has increased to 42.5
percent, with 57.5 percent reporting to other officers. Among smaller companies, it
is likely that the percentage reporting to the C-suite is much smaller. 1 Previously, it
was thought that the small number (25 percent) of public relations or corporate
communications managers in the United States who were also members of the senior
management team may have kept public relations from helping make the decisions
that have an actual impact on the organization.2
Demonstrating accountability through research is necessary not only to get behind
closed doors but also to avoid being outplaced. Public relations has been a prime
target for workforce reduction and elimination during the cost-cutting and
downsizing mandates of the 1980s and 1990s. The good news is that in the first two
decades of the twenty-first century, the growth of PR will be more than twice that of
new and replacement work in advertising and promotions, according to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics. In fact, PR is estimated to grow by 13 percent, while advertising
promotions will decline by 1.7 percent. To put this category of advertising,
marketing, promotions, PR and sales management in perspective, the employment
size of sales management will continue to be six to seven times that of PR, and
marketing management will be three times that of PR. PR will continue to present 27
percent more jobs than advertising and promotions and increase to 45 percent more
by 2018.3
To reaffirm the central, strategic role of public relations or corporate
communications, we need to be vigorous and persistent in systematically capturing
and analyzing information from key stakeholders and in keeping the organization
informed and focused on the stakeholders’ needs. We need to be the organizational
radar, taking soundings and providing early warnings to help the senior management
team steer clear of public relations problems and charting the course to building a
desired corporate reputation.
The focus of this chapter is on developing public relations strategy and objectives
on the basis of insights from research and on using research to evaluate progress
toward predetermined objectives. In survey after survey, public relations
professionals rank measurement and accountability as the number one priority of the
profession,4 but few public relations managers “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”
Most public relations research decisions are still based on gut feelings, speculation
and hearsay. More than 50 percent of recently surveyed public relations managers
rarely or never budget for research.5 Experts in the industry recommend that at least
10 percent of the public relations budget should be allocated to research.
Lack of funding is the most frequently mentioned reason for not doing public
relations research.6 The more appropriate question is how anyone can afford not to
do research. There are instances in which PR departments have tripled the outcomes
of their efforts because of research-based planning and implementation.
Historically, the research most PR departments conducted was tactically rather
than strategically oriented and was designed to legitimize decisions that had already
been made rather than to gain new insights. In the words of the advertising luminary
David Ogilvy, research is used like the drunkard uses the lamppost, for support
rather than illumination. Because public relations is largely intangible, there is a
strong tendency to focus the research on what is most tangible and easy to count,
like the number of print publication clips about the company. Two-thirds of all
public relations managers in one survey listed “count clips and broadcast
placements” as the research approach of “first importance.”7 Such research is not
exactly the fabric that strategy-building insights are built on. It is like a VP of sales
citing “initiated sales calls” as the number one measure of success. Clip counting
was a more important measure of success in the past when the number of media
outlets was small and people still trusted media. Besides, there were few other
research methods available in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, we have more
sophisticated methods at our disposal. Chapter 3 will discuss online systems, but to
know what questions and what data are needed for making decisions in management,
public relations must take a leadership role in social science research or research
that studies the response and action of consumers and other stakeholders to
organizational messages, products and actions.
Public relations professionals frequently bemoan that senior managers “do not
understand public relations” when, in fact, the real problem is that many PR
professionals do not understand management. Our profession needs to develop tools
and measures of accountability like our peers in other departments. When senior
management asks, “What have you done for me lately,” we need to have the hard
data to support our answers.
One answer has been to change the educational definition of public relations. At
Northwestern University’s Medill School and the University of Colorado-Boulder’s
School of Journalism, the traditional journalistic curriculum was merged with
advertising, promotions, direct mail marketing and public relations. Education and
training in advertising and PR go back to the beginning of the 1900s when
newspapers depended on advertising dollars and journalists often worked in PR after
leaving the newspaper. By cross educating and training students, the focus on using
communications as a strategic advantage is apparent.
By adding business courses in management, accounting, finance, statistics,
marketing and communications research and marketing management,
communications students are better equipped to address business and organizational
challenges. The integrated model provides a superior knowledge of communications
over the traditional approach of advertising or public relations, which taught the
subjects separately in two different majors. The challenge would be that many small
marketing communications agencies and smaller companies needed more
professionals. After all, what marketing communications program would want to be
considered “disintegrated?”
Historically, communications has not been a serious topic of study for schools of
business, despite criticism by their own accrediting council.8 In 1980 and 1983, the
American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business held seminars on the teaching
of business communication. In the 1980 seminar, three graduate programs were
presented. These programs emphasized memorandum and report writing, visual aids
and oral presentations. The graduate programs described at the 1983 seminar were
much broader, emphasizing writing letters, memorandums and reports; oral
presentations; interpersonal communication; interviewing; and organizational
Since then, the topics have become more strategic and complex, but the criticism of
the master of business administration and executive master of business
administration programs still stands that communications is not taught as a strategic
tool or management advantage to the next generation of business managers (Figure
FIGURE 2.1 The Role of Research in the Four Interactive Steps of Effective
Public Relations Practice
Effective public relations should be practiced in four iterative steps, as illustrated
i n Figure 2.2: (1) research, (2) planning and goal setting, (3) implementation and
monitoring and (4) evaluation and acting on the evaluation to make improvements.
This approach is analogous to the continual improvement cycle of “plan–do–check–
act” prescribed by W. Edwards Deming and other total quality management
proponents. It is also similar to the Silver Anvil process for strategic public relations
programs. The Silver Anvil process was refined by the chapter authors when
Caywood was co-chair of the committee and Gronstedt was a consultant to the
committee. New training standards for the 100 or more judges who evaluate the
Silver Anvil awards for the Public Relations Society of America were developed,
which included a more research-oriented process. In fact, of the maximum 40 points
(10 points in each category), 30 points were specifically related to research methods,
discussed in this chapter and in the next chapter (see Figure 2.3 from Silver Anvil).
We will briefly describe these steps and then give examples of how they are applied
to research different stakeholders.
How thorough and relevant was the research to overall planning and audience
Did the research reflect a clear need or opportunity?
Was original or secondary research undertaken to achieve the desired results?
How clearly was a baseline and/or process defined by which to gauge the
program’s success?
Did the plan clearly define objectives?
How well did the objectives support the organization’s overall goals?
Did the strategy reflect research findings and support objectives?
How original was the strategy?
How thorough was the plan?
How appropriate were the tactics to achieving objectives and executing strategy?
How creative were the tactics?
How well were the tactics implemented?
How integrated were the various tools with one another?
How efficient was the execution of tactics in relation to resources (personnel and
How successful was the organization in achieving its objectives?
How thorough and relevant were analysis and quantification of results?
Did the results clearly reflect original strategy and planning?
How well did the team work together?
Were there continuous opportunities for learning and program refinement?
FIGURE 2.2 Silver Anvil
FIGURE 2.3 Design to Distribution Employee Satisfaction Compared with a
After 20 years of education and training in graduate, undergraduate, and professional
education, the field acknowledges that research is a more critical part of the strategic
process. The leadership of social science researchers in business, nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs), education, and government has provided support for public
relations practitioners to apply research to their PR programs.
The challenge to PR is to be able to use:
Secondary research: existing research perhaps collected for another purpose
that can be applied to the current issue or program or
Primary research: newly developed, custom research directly inquiring about
the questions and issues facing the organization
As we will discuss in greater detail, the first questions for the research- and
planning-oriented PR professional, according to the Public Relations Society of
America Silver Anvil standards are as follows:
1. How thorough and relevant was the research to overall planning and audience
2. Did the research reflect a clear need or opportunity?
3. Was original or secondary research undertaken to achieve the desired results?
4. How clearly were a baseline and/or process defined by which to gauge the
program’s success?
As the questions suggest, the judges look for evidence that the program strategists
in PR are precise in their understanding of the stakeholder or audience groups
involved so that programs and messages will be carefully targeted. The research
should be important and reflect a profitable or critical opportunity for the
organization. Part of the business teaching is to set priorities, and careful research
and planning will give the PR program a stronger justification. Finally, the initial
research to understand the market, the audience and the challenge should rely on
both primary and secondary data. It should also set a baseline or a clear level of
previous support, performance or other metrics to allow the program to show
progress with the new efforts.
Every carpenter knows that you save time, aggravation and money by measuring
twice and cutting once. The same holds true for public relations and overall business
planning. Research helps to frame issues, to identify key stakeholders and to set the
objectives that the public relations program can be measured against.
Public relations research should support the planning of not only the PR programs
but also the overall business strategy. Research can be used to redefine the
organization’s strategic direction in response to changing conditions in the
environment. The researcher’s involvement in strategic management processes
ensures that public relations plans and objectives are aligned with overall business
plans and objectives. In fact, one study indicated that 83 percent of public relations
or corporate communications managers make no separation between corporate goals
and public relations goals.9
To support the strategic management and strategic public relations planning
processes, public relations professionals need to research the following issues.
The first step in any planning is an environmental scan, in which the researcher is
charting what is happening in the environment. One useful format is the strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis, which analyzes the
company’s strengths and weaknesses in meeting the opportunities and threats in the
external environment. The opportunities and threats have to be prioritized and
strategies developed to leverage the company’s strengths and address its
A less well-known but obvious application of SWOT is threats, opportunities,
weaknesses and strengths (TOWS). The reason for the switch of the acronym is that
an outside–in perspective is often more useful in PR and stakeholder work. Our
experience has been that the planning process will focus initially on the internal
strengths and weaknesses and spend too much time listing and talking about subjects
familiar to the planners. By the time the planning exercise is coming to a close, the
effort on the less known external threats and opportunities loses momentum. By
starting with the external factors, the analysis illustrates the advantage of PR as an
outside–in management process.
The environmental scan needs to be ongoing. By monitoring issues, opinions and
corporate reputation over time, the researcher uncovers dynamic complexity,10 that
is, recurring processes of change that the organization can act on. In contrast, most
research in the field today consists of the occasional “snapshot” survey with
hundreds of variables that create detailed complexity without discerning any
patterns. The research process needs to anticipate and prepare for events that are
likely to affect the organization in the future, such as evolving debates over political
issues or changes in customer preferences. Organizations that enter a
communication process at an early stage are more likely to affirmatively manage
One approach to make the environmental scan ongoing is to set up an issues
anticipation team composed of employees from different parts of the organization
who meet on a regular basis to discuss emerging issues that will affect the
When the SWOT/TOWS analysis is completed, it is important to identify the key
stakeholders and rank their relative importance to the organization. The stakeholders
can first be ranked generically—customers, employees, investors and so forth. The
next step is to identify the specific groups and individuals that have a stake in the
organization’s purpose. If at all possible, the stakeholders should be segmented on
the basis of behavior. Examples of behavior segmentation among customers are
nonusers, light users and heavy users. News reporters can be divided into categories
on the basis of whether they have written negative stories about your organization,
neutral stories, positive ones or no stories.
The development of relational database technology makes behavior segmentation
manageable. Companies in the airline, hotel and mail order industries have massive
amounts of individual consumer data, for instance. The relational database plays an
important strategic role in public relations as well. The public relations department
at Walmart, for instance, uses a database to track individual journalists. To build a
stakeholder database, start with internal sources: the rolodex, the Christmas card
mailing list, the billing list from the accounting department and so forth. Next,
consider renting outside lists to enhance your database. The process of incorporating
different databases with each other and deleting duplicates is called merge or purge.
The database can identify the “critical few,” the small number of stakeholders that
cause most problems or accomplishments. For instance, 80 percent of sales usually
come from 20 percent of the customers. This phenomenon is called the Pareto effect,
after the Italian economist Wilfredo Pareto who concluded that 80 percent of wealth
was owned by 20 percent of the people. The Pareto effect is true for any stakeholder
group. Most organizations will find, for instance, that 20 percent of all journalists
account for 80 percent of the media coverage of the company, and 20 percent of all
shareholders own 80 percent of the company. The critical few are, in most cases, the
most cost-effective group to target with communications.
If behavioral data is not accessible, the segmentation can be based on
demographic criteria such as sex, age, marital status, race, education, income or
geographic region. Alternatively, segmentation can be based on psychographic
criteria, such as opinion or lifestyle.
The researcher’s responsibility goes beyond just defining a target audience by
sterile behavioral or demographic data (which will probably tell you that the average
audience member has one testicle and 2.2 children). They need to bring the target
audience member to life by describing that person in qualitative terms. Celestial
Seasonings, the herbal tea manufacturer, has even given its target customer a name,
Tracy Jones. Tracy is a 35-year-old professional woman who enjoys relaxing in the
evening with a soothing cup of herbal tea. During any meeting, employees will ask,
“What would Tracy Jones say?” or “Would Tracy like that?”
For each prioritized stakeholder segment, the research must identify its most
important needs. The critical questions to ask to identify these needs are as follows:
Customers: Why should I buy from company X?
Employees: Why should I work for company X?
Investment community: Why is company X a good long-term investment for
Regulators: How will changes in regulatory policies and practices which favor
company X also provide benefit to customers or the general public?
Local communities and public at large: What makes company X an asset to my
community and my country?
When the critical needs are identified, the public relations function needs to
collaborate with the departments responsible for respective stakeholders to address
these. Employee needs are addressed in collaboration with the human resource
department, customer needs with marketing, and shareholder needs with the finance
department. Thus, public relations research is supporting not only changed behavior
by the stakeholder but also changed behavior by the organization.
On the basis of the stakeholder needs analysis, behavioral objectives should be
developed for each targeted stakeholder group. The behavior objective for a
consumer segment of “brand switchers” can be to turn them into loyal users, for
employees it can be to recommend the company to a friend as a place to work, and
for investors it can be to obtain the largest current shareholders to buy more shares
in the company. When behavioral objectives for each stakeholder group are
determined, communication objectives can be developed to support them.
The final step of the planning process is to develop a media plan for each target
group. Research plays an important role in identifying the personal media network
of a target audience member. By mapping a typical day in the life of such a person,
the researcher can identify when—during the year, month, week and day—and where
the target audience member would be most receptive to your message. The
advertising agency DDB calls these windows of opportunities media “apertures”
(which is the opening in an optical instrument that limits the amount of light passing
through). The agency has, for instance, found that people are more susceptible to
home mortgage offers on Monday mornings, and the best media aperture to
advertise diapers is right after the birth of a new baby. Sophisticated companies ask
its most important stakeholders when and how they want to receive information to
tailor the communication to each individual’s need. New owners of a Lexus car, for
instance, are asked how they want information from Lexus—if they like to get a call
or a letter, if they want to be contacted at home or at work and so forth. The next
issue is what combination of media vehicles can be used to communicate with the
target audience at the times and places when it is ready to hear it. This zero-based
media approach, where the media are selected from the target stakeholder’s point of
view, is dramatically different from traditional approaches where the planning team
picks the tried-and-true media vehicles (like events and press releases) that have
worked well in the past and that they are most comfortable with.
The approach just described is an outside–in approach to strategic public relations
planning, which can be contrasted with the traditional inside–out planning model.12
The inside–out approach starts with the organization’s objectives, which
determine cognitive, attitude and action objectives. This model builds on an almost
100-year-old communication model of cognitive, affective, and behavioral response
from the target audience, or “think–feel–do.”13 That is, communication will put
information in the consumers’ minds, change their attitudes and get them to act.
There are endless variations of this learning hierarchy—“awareness–interest–desire–
action” is one of the most commonly used. Every self-respecting research firm and
public relations agency has its own in-house version of the model. There is only one
little problem with this theory: the last 50 years of research indicate that the model
is wrong!
The think–feel–do model is built on the assumption that communication is like
injecting a hypodermic needle into someone; people will uncritically absorb
messages, later develop a feel for them and eventually act on them. In reality, the
different steps of the hierarchy might even be in conflict. United Color of Benetton’s
advertising, for instance, gets attention for reasons that make many consumers
develop a negative attitude toward the brand; a different message focusing on an
important product difference might be persuasive but fail to get the target audience’s
attention in today’s cluttered media environment, as suggested by Patrick Jackson at
the 1995 PRSA national conference. Another problem with the approach is that it
treats the action as the culmination of the communication process, instead of
treating it as the beginning of an ongoing relationship. The model does not address
the issue of how communication can support a relationship with customers,
employees, shareholders and other stakeholders, only how to attract new ones.
The traditional inside–out approach to public relations research is the product of a
time when more than 90 percent of the U.S. population watched the three television
networks and the rest of the world watched government-controlled TV stations. In
today’s world, people are actively seeking information they believe to be relevant.
They are active, interactive and equal participants of an ongoing communication
process rather than passive sponges. The role of the communicator is increasingly to
make information available to stakeholders in a user-friendly way, rather than
shoving it down their throats, and to support an ongoing relationship rather than
transferring information. The purpose of communications is not necessarily to
influence stakeholders but to add value to them.
Rather than focus the research on what communication does to the stakeholder, we
need to focus on what the stakeholder does with the communicated messages. This is
the focus of the outside–in or behavioral approach to research and planning. The
outside–in approach begins with the key stakeholders’ needs and then determines
behavior objectives of the organization and the stakeholders. Research is essential in
this process to determine what is the stakeholder’s value, to monitor how well their
needs are being met and to measure how their behaviors are changing.
Several sources should be drawn on to answer the research questions. Every
organization has internal sources of information such as records of customer service
calls, market research and product performance data that need to be tapped. Most
importantly, it has internal databases that can be used.
In addition, there are several external sources of information that can be tapped at
low cost and with little effort. Trade and popular press and academic journals are
readily available through computer (see Chapter 3 on online research methods).
There are several syndicated research studies that companies can subscribe to.
Examples of such studies in the United States are Simmons, MRI and Nielsen for
consumer information and media usage data and the Yankelovich Monitor and Roper
Report for public opinion data. In addition, external databases can be purchased and
overlaid onto the company’s own database.
The analysis of existing information inside and outside the organization will
determine what new research information is needed. The type of information that is
needed and the budget and time frame determine the design of the research study.
The most effective research design in most situations is a combination of qualitative
and quantitative methods.
Qualitative methods like focus group interviews, in-depth interviews and
observation are valuable to help determine the target audience, to frame the issues
and to develop key messages. Box 2-1 briefly describes these methods. The aim of
such research is to get insights into the hearts and minds of key stakeholders to
formulate the PR strategy.
The strength of a qualitative interview is that the interviewer can probe the
underpinnings of the interviewees’ standpoints. That is important because most
people are unable to describe or are unaware of their underlying feelings and
motives. There are various creative questions that can be used in an in-depth
interview or focus group to make it easier for people to talk about their feelings, like
“If company X were an animal, what animal would it be?” or “If it were a
country…” When Apple did focus group studies in preparation for the launch of its
Macintosh, it found that people associated IBM with Big Brother, which sparked the
idea of the famous 1984 commercial in which IBM was portrayed as author George
Orwell’s “Big Brother.” Such questions require a lot of creativity to interpret. The
continued higher “share of heart” of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Macs frustrates
Microsoft and other competitors who have a relatively high “share of mind” with
Apple but cannot grab the soul of the consumer. Paying attention to continuing
research seems to keep Apple ahead of their competitors with their communications
and business strategies.
Focus Group
A focus group is a group of 8 to 12 people in a roundtable discussion, led by a
moderator (two moderators are preferred if resources allow). The discussion is
typically video recorded and monitored by the client through a one-way mirror.
Online focus groups can be held via phone and text chat. The participants are
screened to create homogenous groups. For instance, one focus group might consist
of people 45 years and older, another of people 30 to 44 years old and another of
people younger than 30 years. The moderator(s) begins by asking easy and general
questions about the topic, which get more and more specific as the discussion
progresses. An important task for the moderator(s) is to avoid permitting a few
individuals to dominate the discussion. The focus group is typically used in the early
developmental stages of the planning process but can also be used to test and hone in
on messages and creative message executions.
Ethnography (Observation)
Ethnography, developed initially by anthropologists, is based on extensive field
observations. The researchers leave their offices and immerse themselves in the
lives of the people being studied. By living and breathing the lives of consumers,
employees or whoever forms the focus of the study, the researcher will experience
the problem from their perspective. The researcher can either observe people or act
in the role of the people under study. Mystery shopping is a common application of
ethnography in marketing research, where researchers will act as customers and
report their experiences.
In-depth Interview
Personal in-depth interviews offer many of the advantages of a focus group without
the negative side effect of someone dominating the discussion. This format allows
the researcher to use a questioning technique called laddering, in which the
interviewer asks “why” several times to discover underlying feelings and motives.
Another situation that calls for personal in-depth interviews is when the subjects are
opinion leaders and experts who are difficult to recruit to a focus group. In a crisis,
when the researcher only has a few hours to obtain information, it can be valuable to
do a soft sounding, that is, in-depth interviews with a handful of opinion leaders over
the phone.
After insights have been developed, it is important to use quantitative survey
research to verify the insights and to obtain baseline data to measure progress. By
repeating the survey after a public relations program, a researcher can measure the
effect. The most commonly used quantitative, verification-oriented methods—
telephone, mail and mall-intercept surveys—are described in Box 2-2.
The advantage of the survey is that the results reflect the general population from
which the sample is drawn. The logic is much the same as drawing a blood sample.
You do not need to drain your entire body of blood to determine your blood type.
Similarly, a small random sample of people can represent a larger population. The
key is that the sample must be randomly selected. Every individual in the population
should have the same probability of being selected. The margin of random sampling
error can be calculated mathematically on the basis of the sample size and some
other factors. The results of a survey might, for example, have a 95 percent chance
of having a margin of error of ±3 percent. It is important to keep in mind that there
will also be systematic errors resulting from factors such as biased questions and
poorly trained interviewers, which cannot be calculated.
Most questions in a quantitative survey are closed-ended. The answer alternatives
can be dichotomous (yes–no), determinant (“pick one from the list”), frequency of
occurrence (“how many bottles do you drink a day?”) or scale (good, fair or poor?).
Such forced choices make quantitative analysis possible. It is common to include a
few open-ended questions as well, thus combining quantitative and qualitative
Telephone Survey
The telephone survey is by far the most commonly used research method in public
relations. It is a quick, inexpensive and convenient way to reach people. With
today’s computer technology, the results can be tabulated immediately after the
interviews are completed. The drawbacks are that the survey needs to be relatively
short and the interviewer cannot show visuals. Rasmussen Reports
( is one organization that uses telephone survey with
random digit dialing to research national samples of respondents in polling across
the United States. They can take advantage of the time zone changes and evening
calling. Random digit dialing allows the company to find respondents by asking
them to respond if they fit a specific profile and answer on the phone by pushing a
button. The dialing is done automatically to reach the right sample and sample size.
By the next morning or earlier, the company can deliver a full report on what a
sample of consumers, voters and decision makers think and do about a critical topic.
Omnibus Study
A less expensive approach to telephone surveying is to piggyback some questions on
a research company’s omnibus poll.
Mail and E-mail Surveys
So-called self-administered e-mail and even mailed surveys are inexpensive but
usually take a lot of time and have a low response rate. Survey Monkey is one online
research tool that is free at beginner levels and low cost for more advanced analysis.
Zoomerang is another online tool. The low response rate makes the findings less
reliable because the people who responded might not be representative of the
population at large. Another drawback is that people frequently give more
superficial answers than in personal and telephone interviews.
Mall-Intercept Study
When the population is hard to reach by phone or mail or the budget is limited,
people can be intercepted in a convenient public area. Employees can be surveyed in
the lunchroom, doctors can be surveyed at a trade show and children can be surveyed
at a shopping center. 11 Caution should be used in analyzing results of such surveys
because the sample is not random. Everyone in the population does not have the
same probability of being selected. Some employees don’t go to the lunchroom and
some parents never take their children to the mall.
Quantitative research delivers hard data. It is rigid and formulaic and does not
leave as much room for subjective interpretations as qualitative methods do.
However, if the quantitative survey is not grounded in qualitative research, it is
likely to generate useless statistical artifacts. It is important to recognize that
qualitative and quantitative research play different roles and can complement each
other. Qualitative research stresses depth rather than breadth and offers insights
instead of numbers. Quantitative research, with a larger randomly selected sample,
is important to verify the insights and measure what number of people hold certain
attitudes and behaviors. The main differences between qualitative and quantitative
methods are summarized in Box 2-3.
Unfortunately, many researchers marry a particular research method and apply it
to every situation, much like the carpenter who only has a hammer and thinks any
problem can be fixed with a nail. Instead, it is important to use a combination of
methods for each problem to “triangulate” findings. This is a metaphorical
expression borrowed from the navigation technique by which an unknown point can
be located by establishing the intersection of three vectors. In social science
research, triangulation is the cross-checking of data and interpretations using
multiple methods and sources.
In the case of the Silver Anvil awards, the judges will have reviewed each step
above for the following questions:
• Did the plan clearly define objectives?
• How well did the objectives support the organization’s overall goals?
• Did the strategy reflect research findings and support objectives?
• How original was the strategy?
• How thorough was the plan?
It is clear from the attention we have paid to the planning stages that we believe
this step is crucial to the success of any PR effort. However, the Silver Anvil awards
only 10 points, or 25 percent of the points, to planning. As we illustrate throughout
the book, the implementation and the post-program evaluation are also critical.
When a strategy has been developed and the public relations plan is implemented,
research plays an important role in monitoring its effectiveness and making
adjustments. Telephone surveys and well-planned e-mail surveys of the targeted
audiences and analyses of media coverage are quick ways to get an indication of how
things are going. Questions from the Silver Anvil evaluations include the following:
• How appropriate were the tactics to achieving objectives and executing strategy?
• How creative were the tactics?
• How well…
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