Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating a Campaign that Affects the World

Patricia Curtin, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, and T. Kenn Gaither, School of Communications, Elon University, wrote a case study titled “Contested Notions of Issue Identity in International Public Relations: A Case Study.”

Below is my summary of the case study: 

The smallpox epidemic during the Cold War was taken advantage by the World Health Organization, or the WHO. It created a campaign persuading developing countries to spend money for vaccinations immediately to then save billions of dollars later. This doesn’t sound completely wrong, but notice the fact that the WHO is using one campaign for all countries affected by smallpox.

What the WHO did was create an eradication campaign that showed the benefits of committing through an analysis and presentation of cost savings. They also took advantage of the political powers that were in need of support.

After the Cold War, the WHO had the support of the Soviet Union to take ownership of a worldwide health cause that would give them influence in developing countries. The United States came on board to help when public health advisers convinced President Johnson to use the issue to promote the U.S. efforts of supporting developing nations.

The WHO also used numbers to take advantage. They started releasing numbers in the Weekly Epidemiological Record that would state which countries had eradicated smallpox, such as Western Africa and Afghanistan. When the countries that felt as if they were, “more developed,” saw these numbers, they were humiliated.
The campaign turned into a way of showing the flaws in countries and every government was fighting to not let these flaws be seen. Some government officials would not report smallpox cases to avoid shame. But with the number of cases decreasing around the world, the policy turned from a way of hiding flaws to a way of promoting the government’s ability to provide social services to their citizens.

This campaign is a focus on neocolonialism and used political, economical, and cultural pressures to control other countries. The WHO disregarded the fact that each culture is different and used force to make the government obey. It disrespected the rights of each person and used shame to take what it wanted.

Making a campaign with the entire world as your target audience is impossible. Every place you go to is a new audience, new culture and has new norms. The WHO did not look at it that way, which resulted in a lot of distrust down the road.

For example, after the September 11 attacks, the WHO had turned the “identity of smallpox from U.S. moral leadership to one of international terrorism and a weapon against U.S. aggression.”

Also, as smallpox is on the verge of coming back in some countries, the WHO seems to be on the verge of eradicating polio. But because of the outcome from the previous campaign, some are skeptical and resistant to follow through in fear of an alternative motivation. 

The smallpox campaign turned more people away and disregarded the most beautiful thing this world has to offer: Culture.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

More Than Money

Going along with the "make a difference" theme, I want to break the illusion that a corporation is only concerned about money. Yes, there are for-profit companies out there that care about the bigger picture and also do it in a way that makes 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. exciting and fun.

How is this accomplished? This is created by providing an atmosphere that makes every person in your company desire to be part of it. 

Here are helpful tips from Heyman Associates Inc. about this type of success in corporate public relations.
  1. "At the top level, communication skills mean much more than just writing."
  2. "Proactivity and passion pay off."
  3. "Relationships, relationships, relationships."
These three tips reigned true in my internship this summer with AMN Healthcare. AMN Healthcare is the nation's largest provider of comprehensive healthcare staffing and workforce solutions. It has been a thought leader in the healthcare industry and has 15 brands under its corporate umbrella. 

Going into this company I was afraid of the nonstop lifestyle with endless paperwork and routine conversations. To my surprise, AMN created an atmosphere that praised its mission of providing the best quality patient care possible.

Writing was a daily part of my day for the public relations department, but only after the team communicated. We would address what we wanted to write about, who would be the best person to write the story, and also make sure we are sticking to AMN's mission in everything we produced.

AMN Healthcare also believed that the team goes outside each department. Every floor would invite each other to quick snack breaks to understand and appreciate what the rest of the company is doing. This emphasis on relationships opened the door to new ideas and ways of bettering the company.

The CEO would also attend meetings to meet employees, send out emails about updates she is implementing, and make sure the company is all on the same page. It felt more like a family than just an organization going about its daily tasks.

Emphasis on being the thought leaders and providing the best care helped create proactivity and passion for each individual. A company that invests time in inner health, its employees, will then produce outer health and success.

Check here what AMN Healthcare is up to now.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Public Relations for Nonprofits

My goal is to address the different fields that fall under the public relations umbrella. I will also highlight one company that is excelling in this field.

This week, I want to share about an industry that I have always wanted to be part of: nonprofit public relations. One of the myths when working for a nonprofit is the ability to make a good living from this career financially and professionally. But according to Stryker Weiner & Yokota, there is a strategic way for coming up strong.

Here are a few nonprofit public relations tip.
  1. "Make sure your public relations plan is in line with the organization’s long-term strategies."
  2. "Become an information resource for the media."
  3. "Clearly define and communicate the organization’s objectives and results."
Invisible Children is a nonprofit organization headquartered in San Diego. Its mission is to stop the Lord's Resistance Army, LRA,  in Africa from kidnapping children to fight. Invisible Children's goal is to help provide jobs, schools, and a better life to the people of Uganda.

Invisible Children is a great example of a successful nonprofit organization.

Invisible Children has a goal that it has stuck with for more than 10 years of stopping the LRA. This last year it took one giant step in achieving that goal when it had more than 230,000 Americans sign a petition to get the United States to help this cause. On Oct. 12, President Obama made a decision to deploy American troops to combat the LRA.

By sticking to its overall, long-term mission, Invisible Children was able to show the world that anyone can make a difference.

Invisible Children also takes advantage of  all its contacts in Uganda. Because of these relationships it has built,  it has a monopoly on information about the war. Invisible Children is able to provide the rest of America with news from those living and breathing the war in Africa.

Lastly, Invisible Children is very involved in spreading awareness on its website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter. It makes sure to keep all of its supporters and media updated with information on where its mission is going. By accomplishing these tips, Invisible Children was able to take one giant step forward in their journey to stopping the LRA.

Click here for their most recent documentary on the updates in Africa.