Thursday, April 3, 2008

Last Class..Course review

Wednesday 2nd April, 2008

This was the last class of the PC and PR Issues and everyone was looking much relaxed as most of our assignments were submitted.

Today we had some of ex-students of this course coming in and talking to us about how did they get a break in the industry. they gave us some good tips about what to do after our course and i learnt one thing that they stressed on was an internship.

I feel they were right about an internship it just gives you a more insight about the industry and gives a good experience.

After that session i had my classmates who had participated in a debate on the topic "PR education is irrelevant, success in PR is determined by contacts and building relationships"

It was very interesting as both the opponents had goos and valid points to argue on and the debate was getting very steamy. It was fun to watch the debate.

In my opinion I feel that in todays world to come up you need to have PR education. PR contacts and building relations is equally important but to grow in this industry you need have the qualifications then only you can rise up.

Our last class ended with refreshments arranged by our university and we all said good bye to each other and hope to meet in november during our graduation ceremony.

Friday, March 28, 2008

New Media and Traditional Media

Wednesday 26th March, 2008

This lecture was very interesting, I personally really enjoyed this lecture as it was on new media and traditional media.

There was a presentation on new media done by my classmates of the new media course and i loved their presentation. Everythin was explained soo well from Viral PR, SEO, Social Networking, Blogging to Virtual World.

In today's world new media is really catching up among the younger generation and is growing at a fast pace along with the traditional media.

New media is all about social netwroking, virtual 3D worlds, open discussions, podcast, etc.
I must thank all my classmates doing new media course for giving us the guidelines how to make a podcast. I'm so sure it is definitely going to help us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Class on Dissertation

Wednesday 19th March, 2008

This was one of the most helpful class as we got think more deep about our dissertation topics.
Everyone in the class is all worried about their dissertation so i guess this class gave us a path towards our individual topics.

We were divided into groups according to our dissertation topics so my dissertation topic was based on corporate social responsibility. We had to come up with another dissertation topic and present it in class. This was one of the most difficult exercise as we had to come up with a topic relaed to CSR in 20mins!!

Finally we came up with a topic "Are the CSR green initiatives as claimed by UK's MNC's actually being carried out in China?"

and the sub questions were:
- how does it compare to green initiatives by local companies?
- do the MNC's have the same standards for all their green initiatives in theor home country?
- does it have any relation to increasing its bottom line?

What do you expect to find?
we had expected to find that it might be window dressing / green washing. The same standards may not apply.

How are you going to find?
through interviews, content analysis , open ended questinnaires.

What is the problem that will occur?
Resistance from the companies/employees we plan to investigate.

These were some of the things we came up with but apparently our topic was too big and we need to have evidence to find our expectations.

But overall we had got a guideline how to go about our topics and how to frame our sub questions and hypothesis. I am very thankful to Pam and Michaela for keeping this lecture as i'm so sure it has helped everyone in some way or the other.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility

Wednesday 12th March, 2008

This is one of the definition from the and it say, 'The Government sees CSR as the business contribution to our sustainable development goals. Essentially it is about how business takes account of its economic, social and environmental impacts in the way it operates – maximising the benefits and minimising the downsides.'

CSR activities may be divided into two broad areas:

Proactive – This includes all activities intended to deliver socially-desirable ends. Examples include making charitable contributions, giving work to those usually overlooked by employers and paying better-than-market prices to producers of certain goods.

Defensive – This describes activities that minimise negative social impacts of business activities, going beyond the minimum standards required by law. This could include voluntarily avoiding certain additives, enhanced standards of animal welfare and environment friendly policies such as minimising packaging.


This lecture as you can see reflected on the rise of corporate responsibility and we had a guest lecturer, Adam Garfunkel come and talk about the aspects of CSR. He has 12years experience in this sector and had worked with clients such as adidas, Royal Bank of Scotland, United Nations Environment Programme, etc.

He said that companies working in the public interest to promote social and environmental or sustainability objectives (IPPR) and the Core elements of CSR
•voluntary action of business
–beyond compliance, commitment to ethical behaviour, managing processes
•to achieve positive social outcomes
–quality of life improvements for employees, community and society in the long-term
•whilst benefiting its business objectives
–creating wealth

He also touches on the aspect of why is CSR here now and the answers to the questions were

•The state of the planet
•International agreements, government regulation
•Socially responsible investment
•The information age
•Risk and reputation management
•Consumer demand

Nowadays Social Responsibilty has become a very important tool for the companies.They want their companies to be seen more social resonsible towards society. Examples like Marks and Spencers they had come with a Marks and Spencer Plan A which is their five-year, 100-point plan to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing their business and the world. It will see them working with their customers and their suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, safeguard natural resources, trade ethically and build a healthier nation. (Source:

Marks and Spencer's approach to CSR is managing CSR well as it will allow them to identify potential risks to the Company and respond to areas of performance where they fall behind. More importantly it also means they can identify opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. CSR can help them to draw shoppers to our stores, attract and retain the best staff, make them a partner of choice with suppliers and create value for their shareholders.

All this benefits the companies as it helps in building strong reputation and beand loyalty towards the customers.

Another example of a company that benefited from CSR programme is the Body Shop where they had a campaign as ' Stop Violence at Home' and they also had a strong hold against animal testing, defend Human Rights and Protect the planet. This helps the company to build up strong and loyal customers.

Later on in the class we had a class exercise on a CSR project. We had to create a positive social/ environmental impact for Transport for London which was also very interesting where everyone had come up wid different CSR projects. Our group had come up with something to do with the employees working for Transport for london. The employees include all drivers, cleaners, operational/ techincal staff, security and the administration staff. We had come up with some of the emotional aspect that could touch upon our target audience and it had turned to be not too bad.

Sources: Adam Garfunkel's presentation

Friday, March 7, 2008

Diversity in Public Relations

Wednesday 5th March, 2008

In this class we had a lecture on Diversity in Public Relations and we had a guest speaker sharing her views about diversity.

The guest speaker was Zena Martin from Acknowledge Communications, who worked in the US industry came to UK to share her muti-cultural communications. She defined Diversity communications as an External and Internal Communications programme that targeted specialist group such as
- Ethic Minorities
- Gays and Lesbians
- Seniors
It differs by industry
She was very passionate about diversity in Public Relations and wanted to change the perceptions of the people in the UK towards these groups.

A lot of companies are being aware about these diverse groups and making huge efforts in planning and creating campaigns fo diverse groups.

The 2001 Census showed that 7.9% of the population classified themselves a non-white. It predicts that by 2010, 30% of the population in metropolitan cities will be from ethnic communities. In his CIPR Guide to Ethnic Marketing and Public Relations, Ardi Kolah FCIPR points out that increasing ethnic and cultural diversity – like other forms of societal change – represents both a threat and an opportunity to marketers. (source:

Chris Genasi FCIPR, Chair CIPR Diversity Programme, believes that PR has a crucial role to play: "It makes clear business sense to engage with our changing society - and that means understanding, and being sensitive to, cultural beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, gender and so on.

In the US, there is an abundance of these specialist agencies, including four, award-winning ones, which are part of WPP as well as a separate, Diversity Practice, within Hill & Knowlton. In the UK, there are only a handful of very small, under-resourced specialist agencies. This is partially due to the large amount and variety of diversity media available in the US.

Also in the UK, the argument has been presented that Diversity Marketing is some form of positive discrimination, but is has been proven on both sides of the Atlantic that recognising these communities' significant contribution to the economy shows a respect that leads to unprecedented, brand loyalty. (Source: Zena Martin, in CIPR)

Economic Potential:

The ‘Brown Pound' (Blacks and Asians) currently contributes £32bn to the UK economy, the ‘Pink Pound' (Gays and Lesbians) contributes £5bn and the ‘Grey Pound' (Aged 50+) is worth more than £280bn, comprising 80% of the UK's wealth.

This statistics show that the ethnic groups contribute alot to the UK economy so the cpmanies should not ignore these groups. The UK industry should understand these groups and put in efforts to encourage more ethic minorities into professions.

Being an ethnic minority (asian indian) myself i understand the importance and neccessity of diverse PR in the industry.
Source: Zena Martin's presentation, Acknowledge Communications

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feminisation of PR and its consequences

Wednesday 27th February, 2008

Today's lecture was on feminisation of Public Relations and it was quite interesting as we had a debate on the topic " Women will always work in PR industry, But will never run it" and i had participated in the debate and my group was against the motion.

During my research I found that today women dominate PR industry: according to PR week, in 2007, 63% of PR practitioners were women, and their number increases every year.

Gruing et al said of the research participants for Women in PR - how gender influences practice(2001) "many believed that female practitioners could empower themselves by connecting with other women. One aspect of this empowerment, interviewee mentioned, was mentoring and role modelling other women. Several identified learning from those women who have "gone through the hard knocks".

The Problem is some of the most powerful and successful women in PR - don't always want to speak openly about 'knocks' or 'barriers' they experienced.

In class the debate was quite a success, both the teams had good and arguable points to say. though I was in the team against the motion i neither agree with the statement nor disagree. I just feel it all depends from time to time.

Before the debate Michaela had given us an exercise to do which was to write down some of the attributes of male and female and we concluded that females are refined, committed, adaptable and flexible where as males are competitive, straight forward and egoistic. But then she made us realise that these attributes can be in both males and females it is just the society's expectations about men and women.

She showed us some of the examples of women in advertising in the olden times where women is shown to be stupid and are dependent on men.

Even in terms of salary men get more salary than women, this is also an expectation of the society that women get paid lesser and the role played by women is also a technician role where as men play the managerial role.

I believe the role of women in PR is growing and they have gained a lot of power and recognition in the society.

In the debate some of the points put forth by by group was that we already have women running PR practices such as Jilly Forster and Naomi Dector, the Washington based partner pf Brunswick PR.

In the book Rethinking Public Relations by Kevin Moloney said that there are more women then men working in the PR industry.

Lastly I would just like to mention that in our class of about 31 students only 3 students are men learning public relations.

Sources: Michaela O'Brien's presentation, University of Westminster, Moloney, K. Rethinking Public Relations: The Spin and the Substance, 2000-Gruning and al Women in PR – how gender influences practice, 2001

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Theories of Publics, Audiences and Stakeholders

Wednesday 13th February, 2008

'Theories, concepts and models of audiences, stakeholders or publics, public relations and communication are important because they help us understand and explain our public relations campaigns and the situations these campaigns address. They determine how we plan and conduct public relations. Thus the different theories we hold will lead to different ways of planning and practising public relations'. (Source: Exploring Public Relations by Ralph Tench and Liz Yeomans)

In this lecture we learnt the theories of Publics, Audiences and Stakeholders and in a situation it can be done in many ways. Firstly there is 9 ways to segment stakeholders which is a very useful and effective in many situations. They are Demographic, Psychographic, Geographic, Organisational memberships, Convert power, Role in decision making, Influencers, Opinion formers, Decision makers. Secondly there is the theory of Grunigs’ situational theory which includes Dynamics, changing publics, situational theory: non public, latent public, aware public and active public. Lastly there is the social marketing approach in which there is a table of people adapted from social change media: Advocates/sales force, Influencers and Decision makers.

During the lectures we always have an exercise session which helps us to look into the situation in a practical manner and this further helps us to understand the situation in an industry. This time we were given a campaign about healthy success for Manchester festival and we had to apply the theory of social marketing approach. In this kind of a situation this theory does not help too much as it does not apply to the main target groups and we cannot come to conclusions with this kind of method.