Corporate and International Public Relations

Corporate PR is very reliant on how well a corporation communicates, as they have an important array of stakeholders with whom effective communication is crucial. Cornellisen defined corporate communication as;

“…a management function that offers a framework for the effective coordination of all internal and external communication with the overall purpose of establishing and maintaining favourable reputations with stakeholder groups upon which the organization is dependent” (2008)

This is something that becomes abundantly clear to students when we become more aware of the range of stakeholders and publics, and importantly, the immense impact they can have on a business. This ties in with next weeks topics on internal communication and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). As well as this, it is useful to understand that corporate communication encompasses marketing and advertising departments, as well as the PR department, and as a student of marketing this is useful information.

Underneath the banner of corporate PR, we see a myriad of undertakings and a broadening of the role to encompass communication in general. What this leads us to understand is the importance of communication within a corporation, and it is something that is highly valued (Devereux, Peirson-Smith & Ebrary 2009)

We can see PR take on a far more significant role in a large corporation than I envisioned. Large and dedicated teams of communication experts cover a range of tasks within a corporate environment, including government relations and investor relations. I was not aware that PR could take on such intrinsic roles in a corporations success, and with this information I am able to more critically analyse the PR world around me.

Investor relations covers a broad range of financial stakeholders, from superannuation and fund managers, to personal investors. For example, the changing landscape of communication and the PR profession has radically changed how communication with stakeholders is undertaken. PR professionals now face challenges in influencing these stakeholders perception of the corporation due to higher levels of transparency and the simple and effective dissemination and production of information (Johnston & Sheehan 2014). This is something that, as someone of a younger generation, has become abundantly clear through social media.

One of the ways in which we see international PR manifested, is through Public Affairs and lobbying. Lobbying is the process whereby PR departments will mobilize widespread support and launch media campaigns in order to influence both publics and stakeholders (Devereux & Peirson-Smith & Ebrary 2009). Generally we think of lobbying on a political-scale level, however PR professionals will also lobby for support and influence of smaller groups of publics.

Examples of how we see lobbying internationally are as follows;

  • Conflict with Governments
  • Conflict with local communities
  • Friction with local corporations and businesses

This weeks reading outlined these aforementioned points,we witness large corporations lobbying efforts and our expose to them. In a simple sense, you take the principles of PR from a local small-scale level, and inflate these principles to match the extremely hazardous, but potentially prosperous international market (Devereux, Peirson-Smith & Ebrary 2009).

Transparency International EU Office, 2015

The above image outlines how prevalent lobbying is for corporations.

Public affairs aims to influence government public policy, for large corporations local policy may impact how successfully their business can operate, and therefore lobbying is required in order to ensure the success of the corporation internationally. Despite existing suspicions of lobbying efforts, we can see how positive changes can occur through lobbying. Non-Government Organisation can lobby for changes that may impinge on human rights, or lobby to change detrimental local customs. All of these processes fall under the PR banner, and thus is the importance of PR in the corporate landscape.

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