by N E Renton (published by
Can public relations overcome the problems a company has with its customers? Should a CEO say "no comment" when quizzed by the media? Has the Internet altered the way PR activities are conducted? Does poor grammar prejudice sales?
These and other questions are answered in this very readable book which offers an original slant on the subject.
All companies and non-profit organisations have one important attribute in common: they have a need to communicate effectively with certain target audiences and they want to have a good image in the community.
Whether they recognise it or not they are constantly involved in public relations and government relations. This book shows them how to become more effective in these key areas.
The topics covered include media releases and how to use both the print and the electronic media to best advantage. Style aspects and the preparation of submissions are also dealt with.
The book features a glossary and a number of enlightening case studies. For light relief some PR jokes are also included.
Brian Hamley, the former Group General Manager and Chief Economist of the National Australia Bank, commented in his foreword: "This is a book not just for public relations or corporate affairs departments, but rather for the whole enterprise."
A reader wrote to the author: "Your book is brilliant. Really! Its simple style belies its content and the sledgehammer effect of the advice."
266 pages 9781877029608 RRP $A26.95
ONE OF THE CASE STUDIES IN THE BOOK:
LETTING STUPIDITY GET IN THE WAY OF GOOD PUBLIC RELATIONS
One of the things that can harm the image of a company is to let poorly trained staff send out letters to customers which are breathtaking in their sheer stupidity. The particular example set out below refers to bank, but this quality of output could equally have come from other types of company dealing with consumers.
The customer e-mailed her bank with a simple request for a new book of deposit slips for her account, as her old one was running out.
In response, the bank e-mailed back this amazing waffle:
"We welcome the opportunity to assist you with ordering some deposit books for your account. To assist you further, we will be required to access your account information. We cannot do this without first identifying you as the account holder.
"As we are unable to identify you via email and to ensure the security of your account information, please call Telephone Banking on the number below. We will be happy to place an order for you, as this facility is not yet available online.
"Alternatively, you may visit your nearest branch to place this request. We trust this information is of assistance."
To which the customer was forced to reply:
"It is astonishing that customers can move large sums of money around online, but are not able to order something as harmless as a deposit book. Your systems designers must be woeful and your top management should be advised of how poor an image this creates.
"I cannot see the need to identify recipients of deposit books. If a stranger wants to pay money into a customer's account why not let him?
"But in any case the request was for a book to be sent to the account holder at her registered address. Your reply makes no sense at all."
Characteristically, the bank did not bother to reply.
01 PUBLIC RELATIONS TODAY
02 MEDIA RELEASES
03 MAXIMISING THE CHANCE OF SUCCESS
04 USING THE PRINT MEDIA TO ADVANTAGE
05 USING THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA TO ADVANTAGE
06 ANNUAL REPORTS AS A PUBLIC RELATIONS TOOL
07 GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
09 INVOLVEMENT IN THE COMMUNITY
12 STYLE ASPECTS
13 HOUSE STYLE MANUALS
14 STOCK EXCHANGE HAPPENINGS ARE WIDELY READ
15 VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS
16 THE INTERNET: AN ESSENTIAL PR TOOL
17 THE DESIGN OF WEB PAGES
18 SEARCH ENGINES
A TROUBLESOME WORDS
C A MODEL TRIBUTE
D AUSTRALIAN POPULATION AND AREA
E CASE STUDY: HOW NOT TO DEAL WITH A PR PROBLEM
F CASE STUDY: LETTING CULTURE GET IN THE WAY OF GOOD PR
G CASE STUDY: THE McLIBEL TRIAL
H CASE STUDY: LETTING STUPIDITY GET IN THE WAY OF GOOD PR
I USEFUL INTERNET LINKS
J FURTHER READING
Comments on the "Voluntary Associations" chapter of this book, posted by a PR student, Fairlie Cottrill, on her blog on 2006-05-14:
Breaking down this brief chapter into sections Renton addresses the different ways voluntary organisations can gain increased, positive publicity, with a low budget. Renton demonstrates the importance of transparency, by highlighting the importance of providing as much as information externally as possible.
Such methods could include providing internal publications to the media to ensure accuracy in reporting, inviting the media to both public and private meetings and providing them with background and further information, and circulating organisation newsletters to relevant non-members such as journalists, guest speakers, local members of Parliament and prospective members.
The other interesting point made is that "organisations should ensure that, as far as possible, a single person co-ordinates all their public relations objectives even if the workload is shared around". This is particularly relevant for voluntary organisations because it, as Renton points out, prevents the wasting of scarce human resources, impressions of overkill, the possibility of appearing amateurish, and it ensures an accurate and consistent message is portrayed.
While Renton raises very relevant and helpful points for voluntary organisations, the chapter is brief and therefore lacking in detail.
Included at the beginning of each chapter in this text are interesting quotes, from the famous to the not-so-famous, including what kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself - Abraham Lincoln
Back to the top of this Page
Compendium of Good Writing
Enjoy your English!
Public Relations Jokes
The greatest Public Relations Disaster ever
Home Page of Nick Renton AM