Uber, who remodels the taxi industry.

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Uber has become a popular application which is broadly used by a lot people. It explored potential profit in taxi market and truly provided convenience to people’s daily life. The valuation of Uber has been 12.8 billion in four years since it was established. But Uber is consistently involving in some issue and crisis. The media covers its amazing expansion, development and also its controversy and problem.

Many students in my classes chose Uber as the PR analysis and management object. Because it meets a lot of problem in operation and management. Like Uber has conflict with existed taxi companies to win the customers; Uber has no fixed benchmark of pricing the service; lack of the background research of the drivers; obey the regulations of some foreign markets; lack of security concerns to passengers; negative reaction from the high-level to the public issues; too aggressive to persuade drivers form other companies to switch to them, etc.

It is obvious to see Uber’s ambition. They have expanded the coverage to Europe and Asia, and even want to establish their own logistics chain to deliver products in order to compete with Amazon prime. But as a new industry, it is now under the government’s strict monitoring and observation. Because Uber’s rise has affect some existed industries and market order. The only way to lengthen its life and keep active is to gain the support from the public opinion.

On 24 November, a new post uploaded on Uber’s official blog. It claimed that Uber will give a free, on-demand donation pickup of the clothes from the users of Uber app. It is a good start to show Uber’s charitable concern and build its positive reputation. As the constituents who have closest relationship to the company are the employees and customers. So how to build the loyalty and advocacy of theses two parties is the point of maintaing robust operation. Improve the service quality, advocate the drivers’ profit, positively react to the issues, show the corporate social responsibility are the gold rules to obey. Spread the corporate culture and concept to show Uber not only focus on chasing money but also benefit the society.

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Recent days, a nude photo of Kim Kardashian made big buzz on the internet. People in social media gave immediate reaction and a bunch of discussions because the photo is sexually suggestive. People may be shocked by the action and image Kardashian shows on the media, but if people search more news about her and think twice, they will feel, that’s right, that is Kardashian, that is so Kardashian.

When people ask, “What is Kardashian known for?” There might not be an certain answer. But it can’t be denied that she is famous. Her official website, mobile app, family’s reality show, perfume line, exposure rating……. I have to say, Kardashian’s PR strategy is brilliant to some extent.

Her brand is all about her image. S-line body, unconstrained manner. Uncensored, unapologetic and uncorked. She knows what her fans want, and try the best to fulfill their appetites. No matter when you search online, each piece of news and photo of Kardashian deliver you the same message about her image and way of acting. This consistence enhances her image in people’s mind again and again.

Kardashian’s PR also did a very good job in channel strategy. They spread information both on traditional media and social media. Social media is a breeding ground to nourish opinions and communities which share common interests and topics. People polarize on social media and huddle with others who stand on the same position with them. Understanding the groups’ habits can solid the base of fans and gain more advocacy. What’s more, the flexible environment and plenty of space make a topic’s effect last longer and active.

No matter you agree with Kardashian’s action or not, no matter you think how much Kardashian’s value costs. Even your critics and argues can only bring her more attention. Because she has become a celebrity for taking advantage of her image.

Reference:

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Relationship or guanxi?

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Public Relations is translated as 公共关系 in Chinese, which is spelled as “Gonggongguanxi” in pinyin. It is combined with two Chinese words, “Gonggong” and “Guanxi”. PRSA gives the definition of PR as “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”.  It seems that the PR is about a kind of relationship between some certain organizations and people. Relationship is also translated as Guanxi in Chinese.

But when I search in Wikipedia, Guanxi has been an English language. Guanxi describes the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence, and is a central idea in Chinese society. In Western media, the pinyin romanization of this Chinese word is becoming more widely used instead of the two common translations—”connections” and “relationships”—as neither of those terms sufficiently reflects the wide cultural implications that guanxi describes.[1]  

People use Guanxi instead of relationship because the concept of relationship in Chinses mind and culture is more complicated than foreigners imagine.

Sometimes Chinese people refer their friends, contacts and associates as their guanxi circle. This guanxi network usually includes family, relatives, former classmates, coworkers, members of common clubs and organizations as well as anyone else who was brought into their insider’s circle. This web encompasses the personal influence, obligation and extends in an infinite number of directions in one’s group.

The most important character in guanxi circle is the mutual favors. That means if I do something for you, you should do me a favor in return next time. It feels like an obligation. For example if someone wants to do some business in China and must get approve of the government. A friend or a relative or a friend’s friend who works in the powerful official will help a lot. And people should reciprocate to give back some favor next time. If they fail they will feel owning the helper something and if they refuse to do so they will committed a moral transgression.

That’s just a very brief and superficial glimpse of guanxi in China. And that doesn’t fit for every Chinese in current society. So if we conduct PR practice in China, will there be something special we should take care to fit the guanxi context.

Reference:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanxi

2. 20121210162215468467996.jpg

What is the difference between lying and bulling?

Through learning from the textbook and courses, we know that a PR person’s bottom line is never telling lies. Because the lie will break down the credibility, ruin the image and make it hard to fix and come back.

For hearing someone said the PR person is who bulls, I posted a question on twitter, “What is the difference between telling lies and bulling for a PR person?” to discuss with my fellow but hardly got a answer.

Recently I read a book named On Bullshit written by Harry G Frankfurt. He is an American philosopher and a professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University and has previously taught at Yale University and Rockefeller University. This book may not answer my question either, but gives some ideas about what is bull and appeals attention for the harm of bulling we never concerned.

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“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction. A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it. When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says. He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them out, or makes them up, to suit his purpose.”1

The honest men and liars both know the truth, at lease the truth which they believe is true. The previous tell others what they believe, and the later conceal what they believe. But the bullshitter, it doesn’t matter for them to accept or retort, uncover or cover up, support or opposite. Because they don’t care whether it’s true or false, nothing is important but their goals.

“Someone who lies and someone who tells the truth are playing on opposite sides, so to speak, in the same game. Each responds to the facts as he understands them, although the response of the one is guided by the authority of the truth, while the response of the other defies that authority and refuses to meet its demands. The bullshitter ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.”2

How horrible it is if people get used to ignoring the truth, because that equals the loss of the ability to believe. You can never know what the people who are without belief possibly do to get what they want.

Reference:

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1. http://web.archive.org/web/20040421060422/www.jelks.nu/misc/articles/bs.html

2.http://web.archive.org/web/20040421060422/www.jelks.nu/misc/articles/bs.html

How the Internet affect PR

The internet is thoroughly influencing almost every industry. Public Relations, which has so close relationship to the media surely can’t avoid being involved. I think, in the times of Internet, PR person should take care of these tips when he/she is doing their practice.

Doing tests. No wise PR professionals can accurately predict the reaction from the audience to the distributed information. So advance tests are really needed. Spreading some relevant information first before the core messages and observe the market reaction. Following the previous comments and conversations also gives help.

Setting proper goals. In the internet are, it becomes so hard for an organization to create a hit. Content, timing, placement, partners, channels and etc. lead to the success, it’s not wise to abandon any one of them. And failure usually outnumbers success. Under this situation, you should prepare several different ideas from diverse perspective and style to find the ultimate right way.

With the accelerated information dissemination, crisis management should also be measured quickly. When crisis happens, do not try to clear the negative information on the internet. Because people may have already reached the news and it will cause irresponsible impression. Admitting the mistakes and faults, and show your determination and strategies of repairing. High distribution and replacement rate of information on the internet sometimes is good for calming down the crisis. Because people will forget the old things fast for the numerous newer, shocking issues.

As PR people, we always want to make our goals, objectives, strategies, evaluations perfect. We follow the frames, the modules and steps. We come up with big ideas, try to make the outcomes and the images beautiful. That’s really what we expect. On the internet, everyone can be so closed to each other, every one stands on the same level. No matter the C-suits of companies or the PR people, should show their true nature and personalities. Audience is human, they don’t want to feel they are just talking to the selling machines, area leaders or listening to the speakers. Compared to the flawless people, they prefer to interact with whom have characteristics and stories really move and resonate them.

How to catch “Ethics” in PR practice?

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Ethics, sometimes is ambiguous. Even laws have different scales in different areas or under different governances. Ethics, which is a more fluctuated standard among heterogeneous individuals and groups when compared to relevantly compulsory legislations.

When we are reading Public Relations textbooks or analyzing some PR issues, we usually refer to a word, “ethics”. Why this concepts is so important in PR?

“The practice of public relations is all about earning credibility. Credibility, in turn, begins with telling the truth. Public relations, then, must be based on “doing the right thing”—in other words, acting ethically.”1

In this information era, people have a lot of channels to get information about others. Monitoring, tracking, observing become easier than any other times. Everyone enjoys  both audience and actor identities. And that’s why companies, organizations put more and more attention on image polishing and reputation maintaining. As the transparency of the society keeps increasing, PR professionals have to improve their requirement of professional ethics, so that they are able to deal with complex problems. Because bad news always spread fast, and credibility even can’t sustain few attacks.

To PR practitioners, the bottom line is never ever lie. Always know the truth, always spread the authentic words. That doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the information to the public, because it’s not appropriate and may be harmful to a company or an organization you work for. What you should do is, under the no-lie condition, try to make the company’s credibility and interest last as long as possible. It is hard to give a literal instruction to guide your movement in PR practice, so that’s why sometimes we say communication is an art than a science. And I believe it is the challenge and attraction of Public Relations work.

Here is Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. http://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VCcZVr4pLbU It states several values which PR practitioners should have and may give some inspiration about ethics of PR practice.

Reference:

1.Fraser P. Seitel. The practice of public relations. Twelve edition [M]. Pearson Education, Inc. 2013. 106.

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A Public Relations degree worth trying?

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Everybody may agree that an academic degree may not equal to a person’s working capability and profit he/she’s going to make for the company. As for Public Relations, it is an industry which emphasis so much on practice skills and working experiences. So, for someone who is going to engage in PR,  is it necessary to attain a PR degree or get some academic qualification in advance?

If you are working in a public relation agency or a PR sector, you may realize that your fellows own diverse backgrounds and academic degrees. Because facing different kinds of clients and institutes, the boss would like his/her employees come from different backgrounds so that the team will have wide range of knowledge and skills to fulfill various requirements. Under this condition, Public Relations graduates can’t be assured to enjoy absolute superiority.

An employment depends on the knowledge, abilities, personality, skills and connections of an individual. For Public Relation students, the ability to fit in flexible circumstances,    brilliant communication, excellent writing skills as well as awareness of current trends are undoubtedly the expertise should be equipped.

“Today, well in excess of 200 journalism or communication programs offer concentrated study in public relations, with nearly 300 others offering at least one course dealing with the profession.”

“More than 3,000 public relations agencies exist in the United States, with more than 700 public relations firms residing in 80 foreign countries.”

Increasing numbers of programs and corporations of PR not only indicates rapid development, but also fierce competition among the PR practitioners. The degree may certify the students have an overview and systematic theory about this subject. But only with the project and internship experience can keep students competitive on the market.

Reference:

1.Fraser P. Seitel. The practice of public relations. Twelve edition [M]. Pearson Education, Inc. 2013. 41.
2.Fraser P. Seitel. The practice of public relations. Twelve edition [M]. Pearson Education, Inc. 2013. 41.
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