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  1. Corporate and marketing communication - lessons from history Keynote speech by Prof Tom Watson Bournemouth University November 19, 2013

  2. Advice from Mick Jagger Well I told you once and I told you twiceYou never listen to my adviceYou don't try very hard to please meWith what you know it should be easy Well this could be the last timeThis could be the last timeMaybe the last timeI don't know, oh no, oh no [The Last Time: Jagger & Richards, 1965]

  3. Going around in circles • Repetitive issues • Ethics • Evaluation and measurement • Education • Industry statements and declarations • Concern over roles – Executive or manager? Creative or account handler? C-suite or marzipan layer?

  4. Today’s itinerary • Ethics • Communication measurement and evaluation • Education • Crowd sourcing a new research agenda

  5. Why history? “We cannot fully understand the features of the present unless we see them in motion, positioned in trajectories which link our world with that of our forebears. “Without historical perspective, we may fail to notice continuities which persist, even in our world of headlong change” (Tosh 2008, p.141)

  6. Lessons from history • Data from IPRA archives: Most frequent topics in newsletters from 1977 to 2002 • Education • Ethics • IT (OMG, it’s coming this way …) • Crisis communication and management • Evaluation & Planning of communication

  7. Research benchmark International Delphi study (Watson, 2008) • Top five research priorities • PR’s role in contributing to strategic decision-making, strategy development and efficient operation of organisations • The value that PR creates for organisations through building social capital and managing key relationships • The measurement and evaluation of PR • PR as a fundamental management function • Professional skills in PR; analysis of the industry’s need for education

  8. “Public Relations Research is not as Not as New as Some Think” • Cutlip writing in 1994 about The Publicity Bureau of Boston’s The Barometer of 1905 • Informal media monitoring by US presidents from George Washington onwards (Lamme & Russell 2010); also by railroads, temperance societies and evangelists • Cuttings agencies start – to monitor advertising placement

  9. 80-90 years ago • Public opinion research used for benchmarking and planning, (Arthur Page at AT&T) • AVE begins in 1920-30s: Still used now! • Roosevelt Administration gave “close attention to technique of publicity dissemination (and) to the manner of its reception” which when accumulated led to a “barometer of national opinion that possesses great value” (Batchelor 1938)

  10. 60 years ago: PII model • Early scholarly references to evaluation were in first edition of Cutlip & Center’s Effective Public Relations in 1952 • Their PII (Preparation, Implementation, Impact) model became the initial model taught around the world

  11. 20-30 years ago • 1977: Jim Grunig holds first academic conferences on PR measurement • 1980s: Much academic and practitioner writing on measurement and evaluation • 1990: Broom & Dozier’s Research Methods in Public Relations (1990) published • Methodology is well established by end of C20th; many industry education campaigns

  12. Last 5 years • Research keeps finding publicity measurement is norm; AVE the most popular measure (2009) • Barcelona Principles (2010) – benchmarked basic evaluation methods; AVE “banned” • More focus on understanding how communication creates value • But PR industry asks: What is AVE’s replacement; A: There isn’t one

  13. Ethics • Constant refrain across all communication disciplines • Honesty, transparency, accuracy, fair dealing • Mostly personal values expressed in work and interpersonal situations

  14. The Code of Athens (1965) • First international code of ethics for PR and corporate communications • Written by Lucien Matrat: “by such a Code we were proposing to enter into the dialogue of civilisation. That dialogue requires the respect of the moral rights of man as an individual” (IPRA Athens Minutes, 1965, p.3) • The Code “is the closest to a formulation of moral philosophy upon which the profession of public relations is based” (Traverse-Healy, 2007, p. 14)

  15. What it said - 1 Link to UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 13 elements in three clusters (IPRA, 2001): 1) Practitioners to aid fellow humans to achieve their full stature and rights; foster free flow of information; conduct themselves in a manner that gives confidence to others; consider their public-professional and private behaviour as having an effect on the profession’s reputation;

  16. What it said - 2 2) Observe the Declaration of Human Rights; have regard to the dignity of others; establish moral conditions for true dialogue for all parties; act in the best interests of all parties – organisation and publics; act personally to avoid misunderstanding and with integrity to all parties; 3) Be truthful, circulate information based on ascertainable fact; not take part in any activity affecting human dignity and integrity; and not use any manipulative methods.

  17. What happened • Promoted but never implemented • US and UK members said it was “inoperable” • Not one IPRA member infringed it in 36 years! • Adopted by many PR professional bodies, but mainly symbolic

  18. And in 2012 • Melbourne Mandate said it would “instill responsible behaviours by individuals and organisations”. • Practitioners to show personal responsibility • Set of (familiar) ethical statements • Developed by Global Alliance • Follows GA’s Ethical PR statement (2003) and Stockholm Accords (2010); also discussed ethics

  19. Ensuring personal communication is always truthful, and actions reflect the imperatives of doing good and creating mutual benefit • Recognise and appreciate differences between personal values and those of organisational stakeholders and communities, in line with societal expectations • Take personal ownership of the professional standards by which day-to-day decisions and actions are governed • Be willing to make tough decisions – and understand the consequences - when circumstances, society or the organisation create conditions that prevent or contradict one’s professional standards • Be accountable for one’s decisions and actions

  20. Will Mandate make a difference? • Deontological “codes” are for lawyers, administrators and governments • Focus on individual’s “everyday ethical decision-making” (Parsons, 2004, p. xvi), rather than bolstering quasi-professional industry bodies’ unimplementable codes • Little evidence they have shaped professional communication practice in past 50-60 years • Ethical behaviours need to be built from the stakeholder view; not “top down”

  21. Education • PR education started in the US • Edward Bernays claimed to have taught the first PR class at NYU in 1920s • Widespread in US by late 1940s but not in Europe and other parts of the world till 1970s • IPRA Review shows that there was much discussion – Three Gold Papers (1976, 1982, 1990), 36 articles over 20 years; Hong Kong statement (1980) • Now well-established in universities and colleges

  22. A success • Education has kept moving forward • PR, advertising, corporate and marketing communications are established academic disciplines • Also taught in secondary schools, vocational colleges and endorsed by communication professional and industry bodies • Adapted over time to new technology, social media, changes in society and politics (e.g. post 1989 Eastern Europe)

  23. Big questions • If there is so much education, why do comms practitioners have doubts on ethics? • And still use AVE and other short-cuts on measuring communication effectiveness? • Can’t blame lazy clients/employers all the time

  24. Crowd sourcing time • What should we be researching, from an Asian perspective • Avoiding circular thinking; Looking ahead, rather than behind …

  25. Final thought • Would you take part in a Delphi study on communication research priorities? • If yes, give me your contact details or email