Chuck Gao's PR Blog

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

Month: January, 2014

Corporate Communication, just public relations with a new name?

Before I start, I want to just updating myself a lit bit. I’m, now, suffering hardly from staphylitis, a mouth inflammation cause by heater that made my throat deadly sore. I have been tortured by it for half week in every single minute rather than only if I swallow. It is ironic that I just post a blog last week named “a great start”, so probably the god just wants to tell me a great start doesn’t mean anything, you have to stick on it, ball hard!

So here let’s go back to the topic. Firstly, let’s have a look of two professionals’ perspective:

“Anyone following recent developments in public relations, particularly in English, has noted the increasing use of the term corporate communication. It has become a popular title for communication executives; some schools are offering master’s programs in it”

                                                  -Peggy Simcic Brønn, Associate Dean, Norwegian School of Management

“Corporate Communications and Public Relations are often grouped together in universities and by employers seeking to fill communications positions. Both necessitate that you excel in fundamental communication skills — speaking, writing, and an educated and innate ability to know what critical information needs to go to the people who need it, when they need it.”

                                                  -Karen S. Johnson, Demand Media

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job titles in media centre differ in 2 corporation

European communication monitor conducted a survey in 2011, which covers 2029 PR professionals, showed that 67.9% of them no longer thought PR was still a suitable label for the profession, compared to Corporate Communication, while only 46.7% of them thought Public Relations still stands. Not only because of they have same aims, which are build reputation and trust, Corporate Communications and public relations share so many commonalities that you would be forgiven for using them interchangeably. However, There are some subtle and not-so-subtle differences.

After read some related blog articles, I deicide to put it in a simple way: start from analyse the key words and areas they working in.

Key concepts in Corporate Communications:

Image and Identity
Corporate Brand

The areas Corporate Communication working in:

Business to business marketing
Crisis and issues management
Employee Communications
Government relations
Change management
Investor relations
Corporate Social responsibility programmes
Media relations

So far, we can easily found out there is a term that PR don’t usually use too much—stakeholder. Correspondingly, some areas are obviously not belong to PR as well, such as B2B marketing, Change management, Investor relation and Corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. Corporate Communication looks after business relations, and always dedicated to a harmonious employee-corporation relationship.

“ Corporate communication is an instrument of management by means of which all consciously used forms of internal and external communication.” (Van Riel, 1995) While Public Relations encompasses management in identifying, building relationships between company and various publics, compare with Corporate Communication, PR have wider demand of skills apart of communication, you should expect to have a solid understanding of how media and journalism works, and you may also need have a strong ability in social and oral communication

I would like to quote an example to end this blog; this is from Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman, when he was responsing to internal suggestions that Edelman redefine itself as a communications agency rather than a public relations firm.

Consider a scenario: your company has been responsible for spewing toxic sludge into a pristine stretch of river, destroying wildlife and polluting the water supply. Your CEO comes to you for advice.

I know what the public relations advice in this scenario should be: stop spewing toxic sludge. What’s the communications advice? Lie? Craft a compelling narrative to convince people that toxic sludge is good for them?

The fact is that there’s no “communications” solution to this problem. It’s a problem that requires a change in behavior. Managing the relationship between an organization and its publics—public relations—requires good behavior and good communication, and if we define ourselves exclusively by the latter we are doing a disservice to ourselves, our profession and our clients.


The great start

Social-media-for-public-relations1-644x320After having a splendid holiday, coming back to study has been a real tough move for me.

However, having finished the first week of second semester, I found the class schedule is very attractive as well as challenging for me.  The course arrangement is obviously far more intensive than first semester, no need to mention that I’m seeking a part-time internship, which make this situation even worse.

Anyway, A good news for the optional module laying in the fact that we chose the course we want, in other words, the course we taking are to our taste.

At the beginning, I was had a big trouble to choose optional module between 2 of 5, because Cooperate Communication, Digital PR, Consumer PR even fashion PR are all my cup of tea. But fortunately, I was informed that Digital PR and Consumer PR was going to merge this year. Then the choice became clear to me, fashion PR is the least I want among them, so I give it up.

I’d like now talking about some thoughts of Consumer PR. Consumer PR is my favourite sector of PR, as I had great interest of social media, and running a lifestyle or fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company has always been in my long-term career plan. Broadly speaking, not like marketing, Consumer PR regard consumer as audience uses different communication tools to engaging them. Even though the endgame is always to drive sales, but Consumer PR usually considered to be more subtle and sophisticated than marketing, and its unique selling point (USP) is to change attitudes and behaviour indirectly. Moreover, compare with marketing, Consumer PR is usually more using two-way symmetric communication nowadays, and the practitioners are transfer their attention into social media.

The first class is about history of modern consumption. This is the field I was interested on my graduate, I had read some book about this to leant consumer behaviour, such as La société de consummation (Jean Baudrillard), Consumer Culture and Postmodernism (Mike Featherstone), and a lot of Chinese publication. Also, as I was major my second B.A degree in psychology, I’m always trying to code consumer behaviour from the angle of subliminal or subconscious psychology, so when Jon talked about Packard’s eight Compelling Needs and Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy, admittedly, I was really enticed.


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