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PR Journal

Title: Between Convergence and Power Struggles: How Public Relations and Marketing Communications Professionals Interact in Corporate Brand Management.

Authors: Ansgar Zerfass, Ph.D., Professor of Communication Management, and Lisa Dühring, M.A., Research Associate, Institute of Communication and Media Studies, University of Leipzig..

Abstract: Recent years have seen a new dynamic in the confluence of marketing communications and public relations. Trends and developments in the social and technical environment of organizations, like a growing concern for business’ impact on the natural environment, critical stakeholder movements, and new ways of communica­tion and content production on social media and web 2.0 platforms, confront both functions with a common challenge. While marketing theory and practice increasingly adopts traditional PR related approaches and dialogical modes of communication, PR has broadened its spheres of activity towards classical marketing areas (Hutton, 1996, 2010). And although, from a historical point of view, both functions derive from different paradigms, in today’s working environment their scope of duties and functions are increasingly overlapping and hard to distinguish. Thus the need for integration and cooperation becomes greater. This is especially the case in areas where both parties have high stakes in, like e.g. corporate branding.

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Title: Evaluating Efficacy in Public Relations/Corporate Communication Programming: Towards Establishing Standards of Campaign Performance.

Authors: David Michaelson, Ph.D., Managing Director, Teneo Strategy, New York; Donald K. Wright, Ph. D, APR, Fellow PRSA, Harold Burson Professor & Chair in Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University, and Don W. Stacks, Ph.D., Professor, School of Communication, University of Miami.

Abstract: This paper suggests a generic model that includes a degree of standardization against which to compare planning and programming is the best way to establish excellence in public relations and corporate communication. The authors suggest this model can be (a) historically, to establish past campaigns; (b) used in the strategic planning process to identify problems or holes in a campaign; or (c) used as a final evaluation tool that provides evidence based in quantifiable data weighted to the particular needs of the company or client at a particular point in time. The key here is the generic value the hierarchical model gives to the profession and function—a way to evaluate excellence and provide hard evidence, data, on that evaluation.

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Title: Understanding Opinion Leadership and Motivations to Blog: Implications for Public Relations Practice.

Authors: Sigal Segev, Ph.D.; Maria Elena Villar, Ph.D., and Rosanna M. Fiske, M.S., APR, Florida International University.

Abstract: As the blogosphere continues to grow, understanding the characteristics and motivations of key players is invaluable for public relations practitioners and communicators who deal with message strategy and media outreach. The article by Professors Segev, Villar and Fiske investigates opinion leadership among bloggers and blog readers and their motivations to blog. The authors collected their data from a sample of 552 bloggers and readers, empirically measuring opinion leadership as a trait and as a motivation to blog. Results suggest that bloggers tend to be opinion leaders, which can help guide the public relations practice in the way it builds relationships with these influentials. The paper also reports opinion leaders are different from their readers in the motivations that drive their blogging activity.

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Title: Memorable Health Messages Embrace Student Perspectives.

Author: Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University.

Abstract: Academic scholarship reveals a disconnect between health impediments college students identify and health information their respective campuses provide; campus health promotions that lack personal relevance for college students, and health programs that utilize control-based strategies to compel behavior change. The purpose of the study reported about in this article was to explore college student perspectives about health messages to enhance campus-based health communications. Findings revealed that female undergraduates are proactive and perceptive regarding health messages when they need information for a specific issue or concern; initially dismissive but eventually receptive of health messages they involuntarily encounter; differentially responsive to health messages from interpersonal sources; grudgingly tolerant of societal health messages—especially those concerning unrealistic body standards. Findings additionally revealed that female undergraduates usually disregard health messages they encounter on campus.

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Title: How the Interaction of Public Relations Spokesperson Gender and Ethnicity Effect Audience Perceptions of Spokesperson, Organization and Message Credibility: Using the Heuristic Systematic Model to Investigate a Possible Emerging Trend.

Author: Sufyan Mohammed, MMS, MBA, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Abstract: This study focused on investigating the interaction effects of source ethnicity and gender, under different news conditions (crisis and benign news) on audience perceptions of credibility of a spokesperson, the organization and the message. The study also observed the workings of the Heuristic-Systematic Model by providing participants with varying degrees of information and evaluating the effects of the same on spokesperson, organization and message credibility. Participants included 394 participants of mixed gender, ethnicities and ages. The study found that type of news had the most statistically significant effects on audience perceptions of spokesperson, organization and message credibility, altruism and importance. Analysis revealed that gender of the spokesperson had statistically significant effects on audience perceptions of organization altruism, and the interaction of news type and spokesperson ethnicity had statistically significant effects on audience perceptions of organization altruism.

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