CIPR Diploma CRT Assignment 1

After working non stop over the Easter holidays, I have received my mark back from the 2012 March CIPR Diploma Critical Reasoning Test and am so pleased to have gained a Distinction! One question I was given a merit and the other a distinction, so I’ve decided to post my answer to this one.

Question 4: Argue whether or not the advent of social media can assist public relations to act as a force for good in modern society.

Feedback: There is an excellent critical analysis of the different definitions of social media, drawing on a range of sources to provide contrasting perspectives. The inclusion of the ‘conversation prism’ model  and subsequent discussion is also very good. This answer demonstrates an outstanding grasp of the relevant PR theories and these are discussed clearly in relation to social media. For example, the critical analysis of Shannon and Weaver’s linear communications model and Grunig’s Excellence Theory is of a very high standard. There is an excellent analysis of how social media has altered PR’s control of messages and there is a high level of critical analysis of the need for ethics and transparent conduct in online conversations.

Areas to improve: Although this answer is arguing the case for how social media can assist PR to act as a force for good it would be useful to reflect more on the challenges social media presents PR practitioners, including an analysis of how practitioners might overcome these. 

The landscape in which public relations operates has changed radically over recent years. PR practitioners have actively tried to embrace the ever advancing technology which has created endless new communication opportunities to build relationships with audiences on an unprecedented scale (Kaplan and Haenlein: 2010). Many academics are in agreement that the face of public relations (PR) will never be the same, having become more open and collaborative, which has largely been driven by changes to the way that people access their information and the increasing amount of people with access to the Internet across the world. As of 31 December 2011, it is estimated that there are 2,267,233,742 users of the Internet all over the globe (Internet World Stats, 2012) resulting in public relations practitioners now having to think not only strategically, but globally about an organisations communication messages (Grunig, 2009). The fast pace of communication on social media has helped shape a culture of 24/7 news provided by not only journalists, but ‘citizen journalists’ who use the advancements in technology to record and share breaking news with the rest of the world. This is a world where governments have been brought down by their publics, aided by the strength of communication in social media.
In essence, the focus of communication has shifted to having conversations directly with the consumer and building trust through relationships as a result of the discourse between an organisation and these individuals. Simon Clift, ex-CMO of Unilever highlights this progression explaining that “brands are now becoming conversation factors where academics, celebrities, experts and key opinion formers discuss functional, emotional, and more interestingly, social concerns” (Ad Age, 2009).
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Starting the CIPR Diploma

So it begins. Ten months of studying, writing assignments and scouring endless sources of information to gain the CIPR Diploma. It will be worth it in the end, knowing the theory behind what I do day-to-day will certainly make me feel more confiden in my PR role.

It was with a mixture of excitement and nerves that I entered Fitzwilliam House, thankfully I was put at complete ease by the great PR Academy staff.

I was really pleased to see the emphasis placed on critical thinking, which is something that has been instilled in me since University.

An interesting journey it will be and hopefully a successful one!

7 Common Marketing Mistakes Made by Schools

During my time spent as a PRO in the education sector, I’ve learnt a few things and I want to share my top seven marketing mistakes that schools make.

7. Lack of a Marketing Strategy

Some education providers engage in Marketing and PR at key times during the year e.g. between May and October in the run up to an open evening. This is great as your efforts coincide with peak times that students are looking to apply to colleges. However many schools do not integrate this into a series of meaningful Marketing activities over the course of the year resulting in an adhoc and often ineffective approach to recruiting students.

Solution: Put some thought into producing a Marketing and PR Plan. It can even be as small as one side of A4. The key is to focus your efforts and take some time to define your overall goal. You can then consider the message you want to be heard and the different Marketing avenues you can use to make sure that it reaches your audience.

6. Not embracing Social Media Continue reading

New Year New Blog!

After much thought about starting a blog, (and I am talking about a long, long while!),  I decided that today was the day I’d start blogging!

I haven’t quite worked out all the ins and outs yet, but I couldn’t face another long period of time thinking about! So I’m going to just get stuck in and see what happens.

I’m currently working in Education doing PR and Marketing and will be starting the CIPR Diploma in January. This I’m very much looking forward to, slightly nervous if I’m honest, but that’s because I haven’t been in this situation since finishing University in 2009. Out of practice that’s all.

Lots to look forward to next year.

Wishing you all the best in 2012.