Saturday, 27 February 2010

Benefits of Social Media for Public Relation Press Release

New approach to social media webcast is launched on YouTube

A new webcast "Benefits of Social Media" was launched today, to show how beneficial social media is to a public relations strategy. Katodin PR designed the webcast in order to illustrate how social media has a massive impact on business and how companies can benefit from a social media public relations strategy.

The webcast "Benefits of Social Media" is about social media, what it is and what benefits comes with it. However it also covers the downside of social media and how you can turn it around for your benefit. The webcast covers different areas regarding social media.

  • What social media is and why it is called ‘social media’. This part is covering the global aspect of social media, explaining how each country has its own most used social media platform. Despite the different platforms the bottom line is that social media is about community of people with same interest, regardless of geographic and their social and economic background.
  • What are the sociological and cultural concepts behind social media and what their relevance is to PR. One of the biggest advantages of social media is globalization. Globalization has a power of speed in which social media enables communication. Part of the power that social media has is that so many people participate in it.
  • The webcast covers the issues regarding cultural barriers, about how they are breaking down. Despite difference in culture, religion, social class and other ways we used to divide our society, social media gives everyone a chance to be heard. The other benefit is the freedom of information; there are 'almost no restrictions' on what users can search for and no regulations telling you otherwise.
  • How the agency need to constantly feed information to its community and followers. The most important part of social media is to always be where things are happening, monitoring what people are saying about the business and react when things go wrong.

  • What the benefits are to the client. The approach to digital media is the same as to traditional. It is still about finding right people to send information to and reach the right audience, in social media the new tools differ. The additional element that comes with digital media is that it helps to amplify your point. News in traditional media disappears fast, where as social media works as long tail. When information is online it will stay there for a long time, it has no time limit! While magazine readership and the number of available print publications continue to decline, the number of consumers using the Internet to access and share information continues to rise. Which means, if the business is to be successful, social media is crucial for the business strategy.

  • What are the negatives to the client and how will they be dealt with. When information is public, it can get out. It is important to be there when things go wrong! Posting videos of response; create blogs answering the audience’s questions etc. Instead of watching what people are talking about, jump into the conversation by responding. The audience is a huge asset, they will speak up therefore listen – and respond.

In the case of a crisis traditional media always comes to the rescue, use it so support the argument.


The director of Katodin PR Yekaterina Odintsova said: "I hope this webcast "Benefits of Social Media" will provide a new view of social media and the way it is constructed should provide an easy understanding for everybody who watches it. I hope that this new approach of using social media to tell about social media will inspire others to contribute or question the changing media and the benefits of using social media."

For more information contact the press officer:

PR Director
Yekaterina Odintsova

News Facts
  • Social networks and blogs are the 4th most popular online activities online, including beating personal email.
  • It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners. Terrestrial TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users. The Internet took four years to reach 50 million people... In less than nine months, Facebook added 100 million users.
  • The most recent figure of blogs being indexed by Technorati currently stands at 133 million. The same report into the Blogosphere also revealed that on average, 900,000 blog posts are created within a single 24-hour period.
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest in the world. More people communicate via social networks than via email. There is no denying that the whole world is moving on-line and business and the way people communicate is changing at the fastest pace in history
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and Only 14% trust advertisements

The Video

Does Ethics Exist in PR?

Creating a positive reputation for a company in the public's eye is essential for the survival of any organisation. Unfortunately, for many PR practitioners, this means using whatever means possible, including any unethical methods, in order to create the "right image" for their organisation and still maintain a pristine reputation amongst the general public. It is because of these dubious tactics by certain PR practitioners that lead journalists to call them "PR flakkers", a negative term given by journalists to PR practitioners for manipulating, self-serving information, which does not tell the whole story most of the time (Parsons 2004;5).

‘Truth telling is not a matter of speaking the truth but is rather a matter of speaking what one believes to be the truth’

Michell Green (2003)

The role of PR as a practice has had three major interpretations: controlling publics, responding to publics, and achieving mutually beneficial relationships among all publics (Newsom and Scott, 1985). Within the first interpretation lies the root of the belief that PR is persuasive by nature, the idea that PR practitioners would do anything in order to achieve their goal.

From a PR point of view, this interpretation is open to debate. ‘Ethical harmony is essential for social stability. And social stability is the mission and product of public relations’ (Sharp, 1990;25). In PR, credibility is vital. It is logical that an ethical business practice is better tha

n an unethical one when it comes to reputation and public image. Every person has their own ethical morality and follows those ethics on a regular basis, however, when it comes to a company’s ethics, the result might be contradictory to the practitioner's own beliefs. And here in lies the question. Is a PR practitioner's ethic's based on their company's standpoint or visa versa? To what extent will a PR practitioner bend their moral ethics to please their employer?

According to Bowen’s research, which supports a historical trend of associating PR with all things that are unethical such as lying and spin doctoring. She writes that many critics argue that there cannot be ethical PR for the reason that the practice itself is manipulative. The answers to the above questions, lies in that the PR department in a company has to follow its company’s ethical standpoint for the PR’s beneficial reasons. However if the company’s morality is not in accordance with the PR practitioners own ethical beliefs, PR is responsible for applying their ability to cover any issues up in a way that it will manipulate the output of the message so it is believed to be ‘in the favour of the public’. This is why many critics have the opinion Bowens is referring to.

No formal guidelines exist that could explain how a member should go about behaving in accordance with the ‘public interest’, nor has any formal structure been developed where a practitioner may contribute to the public interest on behalf of the profession (Parsons, 2004). Parson is not the only author discussing the lack of rules in PR; many others have joined the big debate, and everyone has their different points of view. However, it is interesting that they all have the same conclusion, that the PR When it comes to ethical behaviour, it is up to each individual’s morality, like Albert Camus once said, ‘Integrity has no need of rules’ (cited Parsons, 2004;37). However that is not always the case when it comes to dealing with PR. The Codes of Ethics were designed by major PR associations in order to help and prevent any unpleasant behaviour amongst practitioners by adapting these broad guidelines for members of their organisations to follow.

The Codes were created in order to have regulations within PR and to create a better reputation within the professional bodies. The creations of the Codes are an attempt to turn PR into an ethical practise and recognised as a profession by other organisations. PR for PR!

In order for PR to be considered a profession there must be a shared definition of professional ethics between any organisations and the ethical obligations a PR practitioner must possess.

The PRSA provides no concrete guidelines for its members who need them in order to show professional responsibility when serving the public interest. Suggesting that members simply conduct their interaction ‘in accordance with the public interest’, these guidelines can be manipulated into the belief that something is beneficial for the public, however a PR practitioner must follow the client's request. PR practitioners often state that Codes of Ethics are too vague to be useful in their own careers or that they do not give enough specific guidance to be anything other than basic (Bowen).

It is quite interesting since every Code of Ethics is essentially a collection of moral principles and values. However it is noticeable that most scholars that discuss morality focus on the foundation of ethical principles. Concluding that the Codes are neither professional nor ethical and until fundamental changes are made, PR will fail in its aim of achieving a professional status (Parkinson, 2004).

In order to change the perception of unethical PR, it is not only vital to have concrete ethical regulations for PR professionals, but also to have laws that will restrict and punish any PR practitioner and not only the members of the PR associations.

The discussion on the questions whether the Codes of Ethics are effective and can help PR practitioners to be ethical is still a very popular discussion. Until there are better-structured regulations in the field of PR, other professions will continue to consider PR as an unethical practice. These regulations are needed in the field of PR in order to have better guidelines for the practitioners and with the intention that the public will know that for any unethical and untrustworthy acts, there will be consequences.

The purpose of the discussion is to illustrate the unethical side of PR, as there are no laws stopping the practitioners to work around the rules in intention of achieving their clients’ requirements. The evidence from this discussion proves that the Codes of Ethics are ineffective as they are only written for PR associations’ members and are only used as a guideline, one of the biggest issues with the Codes of Ethics is that they do not cover the majority of the practitioners who are working within PR. What about those who are not members of big PR associations? Does that mean they can do what they please with no further punishment? This is still arguable, as mentioned prior, the PR associations need to come up with more strict rules and laws that would consider all PR practitioners and not only its members. By adapting more strict and structured regulations in PR, the public and other professions may change their existing view and start to consider PR practice as a profession that has values and rules, and if any of those regulations are broken there will be consequences.


Newsom, D. and Scott, A. (1985). ‘This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations’. Wadsworth, Belmont

Parkinson, M. (2004). ‘The PRSA Code of Professional Standards and Member Code of Ethics: Why They are Neither Professional or Ethical’. Public Relations Quarterly, Fall, 27-31

Parsons, P. (2004). ‘Ethics in Public Relations: A Guide to Best Practice’. Institute of Public Relations, London

Sharp, M (1990). ‘Harmonizing ethical values in the global village’. International Public Relations Review. Vol 13, no 3. P 25

Friday, 19 February 2010

Benefits of Social Media Webcast

A new webcast "Benefits of Social Media" was launched today on YouTube, to show how beneficial social media is to a public relations strategy. Katodin PR designed the webcast in order to illustrate how social media has a massive impact on business and how companies can benefit from a social media public relations strategy.

The webcast "Benefits of Social Media" is about social media, what it is and what benefits comes with it. However it also covers the downside of social media and how you can turn it around for your benefit. The webcast covers different areas regarding social media.

If you can't see the video click here (YouTube)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Think Globally - Act Locally

The debate about “Think globally - act locally” has been a well-discussed topic in PR world. Should you consider local customs in global campaigning or not? The technological communication tools have enabled us to communicate globally. Companies now need to be global and their communication strategies have to involve global PR. However the cultural differences matter. When operating in a particular country, the nations political systems and culture shapes the PR practice.

The principles of balancing global operations with respect for local culture extend to managing communications, in which cross-cultural understanding can make a significant difference in the effectiveness and success of a global campaign.

Cross-cultural communication came into its own in the mid-1940s. During the “Cold War,” the U.S. established the Foreign Service Institute, bringing together linguists and sociologists, among others, to help the corps develop language competency as well as an understanding of and sensitivity to distinct cultures.

Effective global communications has to take into consideration how local attitudes and behaviors differ from the global communication strategy. When building a campaign, it is essential to have a clear message and a defined audience, considering who the audiences are and where they are, and what local factors might influence the result of that campaign. Something as simple as observing local seasonal or religious holidays when timing the launch of a new campaign can have a direct impact on the success or failure of the campaign.

When setting up local communication team, a good idea will be to employ locals for the campaign as they have a better knowledge about the audience you are trying to reach. When PR companies run campaigns they need to take the local needs into consideration, otherwise the results might turn to the worse. International companies should first act locally, and then in order to sell their products, act globally.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Is Corporate Social Responsibility Window Dressing?

This post is part of an argument that is 'for' the following statement:

"CSR is nothing more than window dressing and business should focus on making money."

There are many critics arguing for and against CSR, many believe that CSR distracts from the fundamental economic role of businesses; that it is nothing more than superficial window-dressing.

To take the example of simple corporate philanthropy, when corporations make donations to charity they are giving away their shareholders’ money, which they can only do if they see potential profit in it.

This may be because they want to improve their image by associating themselves with a cause, and use a cheap way of advertising, or to contradict the claims of pressure groups, but there is always an underlying financial motive, so the company benefits more than the charity.

According to David Henderson (2001) CSR is criticised as being a PR stunt, bearing in mind that most CSR workers in companies sit in the communications and PR departments, and considering that the strategies of CSR - dialogue with NGOs, codes of conduct, social reports - were all designed and developed by PR companies such as Hill and Knowlton.

CSR helps to greenwash the company's image, to cover up negative impacts by giving the media positive images of the company's CSR credentials. As Deborah Doane points out in 'From Red Tape to Road Signs', CSR enables business to claim progress despite the lack of evidence of provable change.

What does all that implies? CSR is pure window-dressing.

Milton Friedman famously argued that the ‘business of business is business’, the sole responsibility of the organisation are its shareholders, and providing profits for them. He acknowledged legal and ethical constraints on business activity, emphasising that the organisation should not harm society.

Corporations should obey the laws of the countries within which they work; other than that corporations have no other obligation to society.

Follow government regulations and avoid CSR.

CSR is seen as catering to public relational purposes. Corporate responsibility is used as conventional public relations with the aim of distracting society.

Instead of focusing on CSR corporations should focus on making money. The increase of profits in a company benefits the economy, which benefits the citizens of that economy. ‘The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.’

Big companies move their production to places like china and then “they don’t pollute”. 40% is caused by Europe and Americas export. Covering up negativity, in many cases simply reinforces the criticism that CSR is nothing more than a PR exercise.

Shell has a much-publicised CSR policy and was a pioneer in triple bottom line reporting, but this did not prevent the 2004 scandal concerning its misreporting of oil reserves, which seriously damaged its reputation and led to charges of hypocrisy. In Africa the communities where Shell operates they are still waiting for schools and hospitals.

In our media saturated culture, companies are looking for ever more innovative ways to get across their message, and CSR offers many potential ways of doing so.

The dream that socially responsible corporations can transform our society is an illusion.

SCR is nothing more than window-dressing!


David Henderson (2001). Misguided Virtue, False Notions of Corporate Social Responsibility.

Deborah Doane. From Red Tape to Road Signs

Milton Friedman (1970). The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Corporate Branding

Brand Image

The Apple logo is one of the most famous logos in the world. Apple fans not only put this logo on their vehicles to show their loyalty, they go to the extreme of tattooing themselves with it, a level of dedication very few brands achieved.

Also it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience. It goes across cultures. An interview with Rob Janoff, where he is telling about the logo design and its history. " I was told by my boss that there is a computer term called byte". And I was like: "You're kidding!" So, it was perfect, but it was coincidental that it was also a computer term. At the time I had to be told everything about basic computer terms.

In advertising Apple used great leaders like Cesar Chavez, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, to persuade people that a Macintosh might also allow them to "Think Different."

Brand reputation

Ask marketers and advertising experts why Mac users are so loyal, and they all cite the same reason: Apple's brand. Apple, of course, is the archetypal emotional brand. It's not just intimate with its customers; it is loved.

Apple is about imagination, design and innovation. Mark Gobe said about Apple "It goes beyond commerce. This business should have been dead 10 years ago, but people said we've got to support it." "Absolutely, completely dead. The brand is all they've got. The power of their branding is all that keeps them alive. It's got nothing to do with products." "It's like having a good friend," Gobe said. "That's what's interesting about this brand. Somewhere they have created this really humanistic, beyond-business relationship with users and created a cult-like relationship with their brand.

It's a big tribe, everyone is one of them. You're part of the brand.

The company has established a "heartfelt connection" with its customers. This can take several forms, from building trust to establishing a community around a product. In Apple's case, its products are designed around people: "Take the iPod, it brings an emotional, sensory experience to computing," said Steve Jobs. "Apple's design is people-driven."

It’s been pointed out that seeing Apple’s cool logo makes you feel more creative and smarter. And it’s not only about that — how you feel — but how you act. That’s an interesting proposition: in a collective spirit of self awareness, you’re inclined to actually feel smarter and more creative about your sense of personal self awareness, when you actually see an exemplar of creativity — Apple.

The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology. The Apple brand personality is also about simplicity and the removal of complexity from people's lives; people-driven product design; and about being a really humanistic company with a heartfelt connection with its customers.

Brands are more important than products. Products have limited life cycles, but brands can last forever.