The experience with speakers through this MA in Public Relations

The MA in Public Relations provided by the University of Westminster consists of both an academic and practical experience.
Besides the group works and constant practical assignments, I would like to share with my readers our experience with the speakers.
We met some of them in their workplaces (the Ministry of Defence, the agency, The British Library) and others came to the campus to give their lectures.

In this second term, we have received the visit of four speakers in the module about Corporate Communications at Marylebone Campus.

Images provided by LinkedIn

Images provided by LinkedIn: J. Frost, K. Ruck, M. Hoevel and C. Lowe


The first speaker was Jessica Frost, from Regester Larkin. She talked about reputation and risk management, and one of the things I liked most was her CV and her professional attitude and skills, coming as she did from another professional area. Apart from that, she described reputation management through those six verbs: predict, prepare, prevent, resolve, respond and recover. She talked about crisis management and the role of social media when an organisation is being challenged by a crisis: to what extent the organisation needs to understand its audiences, influencers, the social media platforms and channels, and the rules of engagement on social media. And the big piece of advice for preventing crisis: rehearse, rehearse and rehearse.
Next speaker was Kevin Ruck, from PR Academy. His lecture was about Internal Communications, and he described a broad landscape about internal communications theories and practices. He proposed public relations as a strategic management, according to J. E. Grunig´s model, and through an interactive lecture guided us within the employee voice concept, the importance of employee engagement (built from leadership, engaging managers, voice and integrity). He was a wise expert with a recently published book, ‘Exploring Internal Communication’. Usually after the speakers’ lectures we the students had to present a case study about the same topic; none of the speakers used to remain during our presentations, but that day the guest decided to stay. Guess who was presenting that day… It was me!!
After Mr. Ruck’s visit, we received an expert in Corporate Social Responsibility: Michael Hoevel from Glasshouse Partnership. It was a clever lecture about the reasons why business do CSR, the concepts of power, influence and efficiency, the accountability structure and the need of an integrated CSR aimed to benefit the whole organisation.
The last speaker in the term was Chris Lowe from College Public Policy. It was the first time I heard about lobbying from a professional practitioner. It turn out amazing and I particularly enjoyed when he described his activity as a perfectly legitimate task not as terrible as it is perceived in my country, where lobbying is still pervaded with secrecy and suspicion.
Bringing professional PR to this MA has been absolutely rewarding and effective for our knowledge and experience. It encourages us to face the future with good prospects.

THE TEN REPUTATION COMMANDMENTS

Reputation is defined as the sum of the images the various constituencies have of an organisation, and it includes its performance, behaviour and communication. It is an intangible asset to an organisation however it needs to be measured and improved.
How can reputation be managed? It obviously has to do with building relationships and growing the company, so, this task could be described and improved through its goals: to make the stakeholders feel good about the organisation, to sustain the organisation through th etough times; to attract more and better candidates for employment; to pay less for supplies; to gain free press coverage; to accrue benefits that contribute to profits.
Reputation is cumulative. If it were damaged, it could be repaired only by working on the three aspects we mentioned before: behaviour, performance, communication. For example, in the reputation damanged caused by the horse meat, the company moved away the products on the shops, apologised its consumers for the incident, set up a 24/7 information service and published information through traditional and social media to keep its audiences updated.
A common approach to measuring reputation is to compare with similar organisatios. For example, the Harris-Fombrun Reputation Quotient evaluates reputation through twenty elements which are grouped into these six ‘dimensions of reputation’: products and services, financial performance, workplace environment, social responsibility, vision and leadership, and emotional appeal.
Once an organisation knows how its reputation is, it can be awara about how to manage and improve it. There are different opinions about this possibility, since some academics say that reputation cannot be managed, and others say it can be. The clearest thing is that it can be easily managed, but it doesnot mean that reputation is only about crisis communication.
moises corporate
We do believe that organisations can work to improve reputation. There are ten precepts to guide this management:
1) Know and honour your organisation´s intrinsic identity.
2) Know and honour your constituens.
3) Build the safeguards strong and durable, fro they are the infrastructure of a strong reputation.
4) Beware the conflict of interest, for it can mortally wound your organisation.
5) Beware of the ‘CEO Disease’, because there is no treatment for it.
6) Beware of organisationa myopia, for it will obscure the long-term view.
7) Be slow to forgive an action or inaction that hurts reputation.
8) Do not lie.
9) Dance with the one that ‘brung’ you.
10) Reputation is an asset and must be managed like other asset.

Reputation is an intangible with a great tangible value.