February 15, 2017, by Academic contributor
Managing effective media communications
One of the most challenging modules of the MBA is Sustainable Decisions and Organisations. This module challenges our students to run a business over the course of the week and to retrieve the strategic direction of Wearing Well. A failing fashion retailer with considerable ethical and sustainability challenges.
During this module students will face an intense press conference where they will have to defend the companies reputation against a panel of real journalists.
As part of our Personal and Professional Development Programme (See post: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/mba/2017/02/08/developing-competencies-transforming-lives/) we conduct training in how to Manage Effective Media Communications.
Here are some considerations from our recent training by Ellen Manning.
Whilst there are no “rules’ for the perfect response to a media challenge there are some principles that can lead to success. At the heart of these is the principle that all communications are about relationships. The media acts as a gatekeeper between your business and it’s stakeholders.
“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.” Chartered Institute of Public Relations
In the book, PR Masterclass. Singleton (2013) suggests that accuracy, authenticity, and interest are essential for any PR communications. Accuracy – be sure of your facts and check your details. Authenticity – be truthful and check your facts else others might do. Be interesting – at the heart of communications are a compelling story.
What makes a good story? Consider the who, what, when, where, and why of your narrative. Each story needs a unique selling point (USP) something that captures the interest and makes this story stand out.
Great stories, have a strong human interest. They are real. People like to read/hear about people. Facts and figures support your story and make it more credible. Images can also illustrate and communicate your story. Capture the imagination and interest of your readers.
Companies will engage in PR activities in two ways. They might be proactive to establish relationships and take charge of the narrative. Or they might have to be reactive to stories being raised by stakeholders, and be forced to rapidly defend a position.
How to be proactive with a negative story? Be prepared, have a strategy for when things go wrong. Be fully aware of the facts, do not make stuff up you will be found out. Be upfront and communicate in plain English. Show compassion and humility when you need to, remember there are human relationships at the heart of the story. Avoid panic responses and over commitment, the press will realise that resources might be limited. Don’t hope the problem goes away. It wont! And neither will the press.
Whatever your need for public relations whether proactive or reactive building relationships is key. The relationships with the media has to be earned and are based on mutual respect.
Source: Singleton, A. (2013). The PR Masterclass: How to develop a public relations strategy that works!. John Wiley & Sons.