Wednesday, March 25, 2009

12 steps to a successful PR campaign

"Campaigns are a significant part of the public relations profession
and should be carried out with meticulous planning and thorough
management," writes Steve Davies at "Specific
step-by-step measures should be taken when planning any PR campaign to
ensure it meets the objectives set or, in other words, achieves what
needs to be achieved."

He lists the 12 stages of planning a successful PR campaign.

1. Research
2. Situation analysis
3. Objectives
4. Identifying publics
5. Identifying stakeholders
6. Key messages
7. Strategies
8. Tactics
9. Timescale
10. Budget
11. Crisis issues and management place
12. Evaluation

See his complete article at

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Executive speeches online

At the 2008 National Communication Association conference Joshua Boyd
and Stephen Boyd presented research about "Executive speeches online."
They found that most speeches, although informative, were not
particularly great speeches. They lacked good form.

Here are a few paragraphs from their paper which describe some of the
better speeches they found from their search of the Internet.

"Though the overall picture here is one of the public speech as a
minor (if not trivial) tool of investor relations, there were a
handful of corporations that seemed to place great emphasis on
speeches. Their speeches did more than report earnings and project
the next quarter's results—they used more sophisticated rhetorical
strategies in order to burnish image and manage issues. In order to
provide a richer picture of what the study found, we analyze one
speech from each of three companies that demonstrated through their
websites the positive value they placed on speeches.

John Deere, with 14 speeches available in just three clicks, has a
CEO who takes great pride in preparing and delivering speeches as an
important part of his leadership (M. Doss, personal communication, 10
January 2007). One of the speeches available online is titled "No
Smoke, No Mirrors—Straight Down the Middle," an address delivered by
CEO Robert W. Lane to students of the Mendoza College of Business at
Notre Dame on September 27, 2006. The speech is focused on integrity,
and he pulls no punches in discussing political scandals (albeit from
the Grant and Harding administrations) and recent business scandals.
His audience adaptation includes acknowledging the College's highly
ranked business ethics program and even quoting a recent article by
the professor who introduced him. There is a clear connection to
corporate social responsibility when he talks about world hunger and
the company's commitment to increasing use of alternative fuels. And
as a good organizational rhetor attending to his organization's
image, he reinforces John Deere's identity in all of this by quoting
the founding Deere: "I will not put my name on a product that does
have in it the best that is in me."

Merck, with 63 speeches available in five clicks, reflects a focus on
image restoration in many of its speeches. In the aftermath of the
Vioxx scandal, in which the company removed a drug from the market
due to its fatal side effects, many of the posted speeches address
this crisis and attempt to bolster the company's image. One such
speech was delivered by CEO Raymond Gilmartin to the Jonathan Club in
Los Angeles, on February 15, 2005. Though the speech appears
primarily to trumpet Merck's corporate social responsibility, it
might also be categorized as an image restoration bolstering strategy
(Benoit, 1995) in the aftermath of the Vioxx scandal. As speakers for
the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey did almost exactly 100 years
earlier (Boyd, 2001), Gilmartin addresses not the alleged wrongdoing,
but rather all of the good works and great benefits the company has
brought to the world. And it is an impressive litany —medicines to
fight measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, asthma, and cholesterol;
vaccinations against rotavirus, shingles, and cervical cancer;
research on drugs to treat stroke, HIV/AIDS, and lymphoma; free drugs
for needy American families through the Patient Assistance Program;
and free drugs to people all over the developing world. Merck
skillfully doubles its investment in this speech, however, by not only
bolstering its status in light of its recent crisis, but by laying
groundwork for favorable issue management. In values advocacy mode
(Bostdorff & Vibbert, 1994), the CEO first lays out all of these
advances (which praise values of innovation, ending suffering, and
helping the needy) and then moves from those widely accepted values
into his advocacy of a private sector solution for American
healthcare problems. Gilmartin ties together these twin goals of
bolstering and values advocacy by also quoting his organization's own
founder, George W. Merck, who said, "We try to remember that medicine
is for the patient. It is not for the profits…."

General Motors is the quantity leader in this study, with 220
transcripts available at its website. Bob Lutz, GM Vice Chairman,
delivered the speech "The Lost Art of Fun" to the Global Product
Development Group in Detroit on April 12, 2005. Lutz, though no
celebrity, is noted for his vehicle development at Chrysler, Ford, and
GM, as well as for his innovation (even in his 70s) in blogging on
GM's corporate website (Catalano, 2007). His speech is far enough
removed from the drudgery of formulaic financial reports that it even
starts with a joke. The joke tells of a man who tries to get into a
trendy night spot but is told he has to wear a tie. He has no tie, so
he looks through his car and all he can come up with is a set of
jumper cables. He manages to swirl it around his neck and fashion
something of a knot, with the ends hanging free. He goes back to the
door, the bouncer looks him over suspiciously for a few moments, and
then says, "Well, okay. I guess you can come in—just don't start
anything." This opening, to an audience of primarily engineers,
makes a clear statement about the value of this speech, not only for
the information it might impart, but for its ability to deliver on the
promise of its title. As Lutz continues the speech, he explains
contrasts between American and European engineers and admonishes the
Americans to have fun tearing things apart and putting them back
together, to use creativity and curiosity to get their hands dirty and
recover the lost art of fun. Perhaps executives at other
corporations deliver similar kinds of [market-driven] motivational
speeches, but from this study it is clear that not many organizations
choose to share such speeches with outside publics."

Presented at NCA, November 22, 2008, San Diego, CA

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Publicity Dilemma

SALT LAKE CITY 9 March 2009 Like other large faith groups, The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes finds itself on
the receiving end of attention from Hollywood or Broadway, television
series or books, and the news media. Sometimes depictions of the
Church and its people are quite accurate. Sometimes the images are
false or play to stereotypes. Occasionally, they are in appallingly
bad taste.

As Catholics, Jews and Muslims have known for centuries, such
attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a
size or prominence sufficient to attract notice. Yet Latter-day Saints
– sometimes known as Mormons - still wonder whether and how they
should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively
trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices.

Church members are about to face that question again. Before the first
season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the
show's creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series
wouldn't be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love
indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the
show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come
across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now
seems the show's writers are to depict what they understand to be
sacred temple ceremonies.

Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices
are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding. Last
week some Church members began e-mail chains calling for cancellations
of subscriptions to AOL, which, like HBO, is owned by Time Warner.
Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy
Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company.
Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if
they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does
not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of
controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase
audiences for the series. As Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert
D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have both said
recently, when expressing themselves in the public arena, Latter-day
Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness.

Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated
in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and
maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, "This
isn't 1830, and there aren't just six of us anymore." In other words,
with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no
need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly.
The Church's strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus
countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in
the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term
negative effect on the Church.


* During the Mitt Romney election campaign for the presidency of
the United States, commentator Lawrence O'Donnell hurled abuse at the
Church in a television moment that became known among many Church
members as "the O'Donnell rant." Today, his statements are remembered
only as a testament to intolerance and ignorance. They had no effect
on the Church that can be measured.
* When the comedy writers for South Park produced a gross
portrayal of Church history, individual Church members no doubt felt
uncomfortable. But once again it inflicted no perceptible or lasting
damage to a church that is growing by at least a quarter of a million
new members every year.
* When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted
version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church
ignored it. Perhaps partly as a result of that refusal to engender the
controversy that the producers hoped for, the movie flopped at the box
office and lost millions.
* In recent months, some gay activists have barraged the media
with accusations about "hateful" attitudes of Latter-day Saints in
supporting Proposition 8 in California, which maintained the
traditional definition of marriage. They even organized a protest
march around the Salt Lake Temple. Again, the Church has refused to be
goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its
position in tones that are reasonable and respectful. Meanwhile,
missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and
vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many
unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances
from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show's fictional non-Mormon
characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the
insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say
about Latter-day Saints.

If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on
which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the
focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years.
Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it
continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the

This statement is excerpted in its entirety from

Sunday, March 1, 2009

New Colorado PR firm will take advantage of stimulus package

Lisa Bachman and Barry Grossman have started a new Colorado-based PR
firm that deals with companies that are building infrastructure. "We
didn't go into business because of the stimulus package, but the
timing is fortuitous," Bachman said. "We're shovel-ready." Read more

Jif is being proactive

You get this message when you go to the Jif Peanut Butter homepage at

A Special Thank You to Our Consumers:

The J.M. Smucker Company appreciates the trust consumers place in our
Jif® peanut butter brand and peanut butter products. We respect this
trust and are fully committed to ensuring that each jar of Jif® that
you open will be both safe and delicious.

Please be assured that our Jif®, Smucker's®, Adams® and Laura
Scudder's® grocery products are not involved in the PCA recalls.

The company wrote the following press release on January 19, 2009:

No products made by The J. M. Smucker Company are included in the Food
and Drug Administration recall of foodservice peanut butter and peanut
butter products. Our peanut butter products and brands are safe for
consumption, including Smucker's®, Jif®, Smucker's Uncrustables®,
Adams®, Laura Scudder's®, Eagle Brand® and Pillsbury® brands.

The J. M. Smucker Company does not purchase peanuts or any ingredients
from Peanut Corporation of America.

We are confident that our comprehensive product safety and quality
assurance policies and procedures, which include testing for the
presence of Salmonella, ensure the safety of all our products,
including our peanut butter and our products containing peanut butter.

Consumers may contact 1-800-283-8915 with any questions regarding this issue.