By Aurangzeb Soharwardi
Communication capital:-the modern world is talking about communication capital .especially,the PR professionals are building their strengths on this concept. all business professionals know that the value of a corporation is built upon tangible assets,plants and machinery and intangible assets or its intellectual capital.In fact,in tomorrow’s business environment,intangible assets will grow significantly in importance,particularly the communications.
EFFECTUAL USE OF COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
Public Relation process can be more effectual if all the communication channels are used articulately.There are two main types of communication channels
PERSONAL COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
These consist of the following sub types;-
Advocate channels: Consist of company employees/sales people contacting the public of the organization. Generally all the employees of the orgnisation play the role of an ambassador for the well being of the orgnisation.For this purpose employee friendly policies are adopted to meet their requirements to satisfy and motivate them.Training of the employees is very necessary to groom them for advocacy.They must be well conversant with company policies,changes and objectives. Particularly the sales team pequire extra attention and grooming because it forms part of Integrated Marketing Communications and can help significantly in Public Relations.
Expert Channels: consist of independent experts making statements to the public or target buyers.This communication is executed through testimonial advertising in the contemporary business environment.Many high profile dignitaries and celebrities are requested to publicize alongwith the experts of the relevant field.
social channels: consist of neighbors, friends, family members and associates of the employees of the orgnisation talking to target buyers.Social pressures and influences can work better for favorable communications to enhance credibility of the product and the orgnisation.Social activist groups can also play an important role in implementing PR tactics.Companies can take several steps to stimulate personal influence channels to perform various tasks for them, such as
1 Identify influential individuals and companies and devote extra effort to them.
2 Create opinion leaders by supplying certain people with the product on attractive terms.
3 Work through community influentials such as local disk jockeys, class presidents and other organizations, NGOs.
4 Use influential or believable people in testimonial advertising.
5 Develop advertising that has high attraction level.
6 Develop referral channels to capture the market share.
7 Establish an electronic forum.
8 Use of viral marketing techniques, which is a form of word of mouth, to draw attention on the sites. It involves passing on company’s developed products, services, or information from user to user.
NON PERSONAL COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
These include–Media ,Atmosphere,Events
Media consists of five main types
1 Print Media (Newspapers, magazines, direct Mail)
2 Broad Cast Media (Radio, Television)
3 Network Media (Telephone, Cable, Satellite Wireless)
4 Electronic Media (Cds, Disks)
5 Display Media (Bill Boards, Signs, Posters)
Most non personal messages come through paid media.Media has transformed into the most vibrant and potent communication channel now a days,casting substantial effect on public opinion.Understanding structure and functioning of media is of utmost importance to use it appropriately at the right moment.Complete information about locations,contact numbers,important persons working in all types of media must be available with the PR department,which helps in media networking.Particularly for broadcast,telecast and print media,liaison with beat reporters,magazine in charge and marketing people pays rich dividends for PR professionals.Same way knowledge of out door advertising associations,regulatory agencies,advertising agencies is also very important to disseminate messages through any particular media.
Atmosphere of the organization is considered as a communication channel.It relates to the organizational culture, values and believes shared by its members, it covers both social and professional aspects. Physical layout of the offices,structures,furniture,equipment,facilities also form part of atmosphere.Most of the organizations do not lay much emphasis on creating and maintaining a healthy environment which ultimately results in so many problems and disrupted communications.If the physical lay out,space,personal interactions and particularly the feelings and attitudes are better,they all convey positive and healthy messages to all the publics.A tense,untidy and lifeless atmosphere not only reduces productivity but also sends wrong messages.In order to use this non personal communication channel effectively,the organizations must make efforts to improve organizational atmosphere.PR professionals must suggest and even execute various PR strategies to improve the atmosphere and to use it as a communication channel for image building.
Event management is the Cinderella of external relations and one of the most important communication channels. Events management techniques to conduct seminars,Exhibitions, meetings, press conferences ,how they are organized is becoming a great PR activity and a lucrative business,too.
OTHER FORMS OF MEDIA BEING USED
Brochures,booklets,informational guides and other types of promotional guides and other types of promotional literature,distributed by mail or onsite.
*Catalogs,magalogs and news letters
*DVDs,CD-ROMS,videos and audio cassettes
*Seminars and workshops
*Interactive programs on diskettes or on the organizations website
*Participation in charity and cause related community and national events
*Promotional programs such as auctions,contests,sweep-takes or other
Tactics aimed at influencing vendors and suppliers include:-
*Co branding of premium items with vendors and suppliers
*Links to participating vendor and supplier websites.
Handling tough situations
While most stories about the university feature research and expert analysis, there are times when administrators and faculty members must respond to controversial issues.
If you find yourself in the middle of controversy, it is almost always best to deal with it in as direct a manner as possible.
If the reporter has enough information, he/she will go ahead with the story, regardless of whether you agree to an interview. That results in a one-sided story and can give the impression that you have something to hide.
Before you go ahead with the interview, buy time to decide how to handle the situation — or to get advice from university administrators.
If there are tough questions or negatives that you know will be raised, take the initiative and bring them out before the journalist does. This way, you can deal with them on your own terms and set a more positive tone.
Be prepared for those negative questions, but keep pushing the positive.
Listen carefully to the reporter’s questions. If you are asked a leading question, refute it. Don’t be coaxed into making speculative statements that might backfire on you.
Try to be patient, even if the reporter is being aggressive and antagonistic.