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Public Relations Institute of Australia Research Colloquium 17 November 2013 Adelaide Australia Dr Kim Johnston School of Advertising, Marketing & Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Relations Institute of Australia Research Colloquium 17 November 2013 Adelaide Australia Dr Kim Johnston School of Advertising, Marketing & Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Relations Institute of Australia Research Colloquium 17 November 2013 Adelaide Australia Dr Kim Johnston School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations

2 Why engagement? Proposed as new PR paradigm (Edelman, 2008, Stoker & Tusinski, 2006) Leads to more satisfactory relationships (Bortree, 2011) Reduces and enhances pro-social relationships between an organisation and its consumers (Bruce & Shelly, 2010) Public dialogue proposed as a (one of) means of engagement (see for example Taylor, 2004) Conceived as a mutually oriented state of mind that is willing to give their whole selves to communication encounters (Kent and Taylor, 2001)

3 Engagement - public relations Definitional ambiguity –Levels (individual and group), theory and guidance –Perspectives Instrumental (managerial) Psychological

4 Community Engagement Originated in participatory democracy –Citizen participation seen as normative and pragmatic –Viewed as fashionable in public policy discourse Concepts of participation, involvement and engagement e.g.: –Stakeholder engagement –Corporate social responsibility –Community building, involving, and proactive (Hallahan, 2004) As empowerment or as communication? –Public participation –Consultation (dialogue) –Information

5 Community Engagement A process for organisations to involve publics –Socially-inclusive & responsive form of organisational decision-making –engaging a community for specific programs can lead to better organisational & social outcomes

6 Consumer organisations “engaging” A “societal” process –“by which individuals & groups obtain what they need & want through creating, offering & freely exchanging products & services of value with others” (Kotler, 2000, p. 4) Marketing shifts –shift to a co-creation perspective –value is created & shared by stakeholders (Gamble & Gilmore, 2013). –failure by marketers to see the broader societal context of business decision making, sometimes with disastrous results for their organization and society. (Smith, Drumwright, & Gentile, 2010, p. 4)

7 Narratives in community engagement An organization’s CSR efforts –"directed towards individual citizens & community groups” (Bowen et al., 2010, p. 297) –CSR - the duty to meet or exceed stakeholder norms dictating desirable organisational behaviours (Maignan and Ferrell, 2004, p. 5). Public opinion –Alignment with, or reflective of, public demands and expectations products, services, actions, decisions, brand(s), values, image, reputation, and CSR policies… and pressing issues (Vallentin, 2009, p. 72)

8 Research questions RQ1: How is community engagement conceptualised in the Australian banking industry? RQ2: What tactics are used to engage communities? RQ3: How are community engagement activities reported? RQ4: What are the dominant themes that emerge in community engagement activities in Australian banks?

9 Model and Propositions P3 P4 P5 Organisation Social – public opinion environment Product/ Service Consumer retailer supplier distributor P2 P1  P1 The organisation will act to influence the public opinion environment through a range of tactics  P2 The social/ public opinion environment will influence consumer & stakeholder opinions  P3 The social/ public opinion environment will influence the nature of products & services offered – level of impact will vary according to nature of business  P4 The organisation will target consumers mindful of social expectations & norms  P5 Community engagement framework is a marketing orientation that acts to influence the social public opinion environment Model: community engagement marketing orientation

10 Method Historical and comparative Four major banks – ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac The unit of analysis –published community engagement chapter, section, or strategy/ framework/ principles *Engagement terms (varied: engagement/ sustainability/ community) –public documents sourced from corporate website Coding instrument (Nvivo 10) –descriptive and topic categories normative use of terms, philosophies, characterisations, message framing, tactics used to engage with community members. –Interpretive - relationships

11 Analysis & findings

12 RQ 1: How community engagement is conceptualised, or talked about A strategy - ‘framework’ or ‘principles’ Purpose (by strength of themes) 1.Anticipate, identify, respond to & “shape” social issues Achieve shared meaning through listening & dialogue 2.Be an active & responsible member of the community capacity building creating value for people wider community investment in the community responsibilities to communities - social outcomes - "Make a difference“ 3.Connecting with local community “Supporting”… general & specific i.e. Indigenous “Grass roots” partnerships

13 RQ 2: Tactics used to engage communities –Philanthropy Volunteering Sponsorships –Specialist programs Indigenous inclusion* (one only) Disaster relief –Resources given Education programs i.e.: microfinance “investing” in communities –Consultation Formal Relationship building –External advisory groups Customer/ community/ indigenous/ expert/ celebrity i.e.: Tim Costello Workshops and public forums –Research Focus groups Formal surveys –Employees* Engagement surveys High degree of similarity across all banks Variation in “language” used to describe activities

14 RQ 3: Reporting of community engagement activities 1.Sustainability reporting –CSR benchmarks 2.Financial spend –Money “spent” on community __________________________ 3. Community contribution –Sponsorships and programs

15 RQ 4: Dominant themes Four dominant themes (equal representation) 1.Anticipate “big” shifts in demographic and cultural change –consumer expectations –Environmental –Issue identification (scanning and response) 2.Financial outcomes 3.Satisfy industry, government and social expectations 4.Good corporate citizen (rhetoric – reputation based) –Responsive to social needs Helping and Listening –Contributing to society –Responsible –Attractive employer –CSR established and reported

16 Discussion Corporate narratives –Demonstrate proactive behaviours Issues management and control –Corporate focused Good corporate citizen –“We did good!” Evidence of genuine community involvement –Financial measures only Community voice –Panels and committees –Resources provided Community “partnerships” –“grass roots”

17 Discussion (cont) Insight into how consumer organisations’ conceptualise engagement –Perception of good corporate citizen –“Doing right by doing good” Evidence of orchestrating program to respond to public opinion –Social issues salient to local communities Bullying and mental health issues

18 Propositions P1 & P2: The organisation will act to influence the public opinion environment through a range of tactics; The social/ public opinion environment will influence consumer & stakeholder opinions - Supported –Recognition of scanning and monitoring by banks – proactive issue identification –Justification of programs and sponsorships (to shareholders) reflecting response (responsiveness) to identified or emergent social issues P3: The social/ public opinion environment will influence the nature of products & services offered – level of impact will vary according to nature of business – Supported –Financial education programs –Bullying/ social justice/ philanthropic programs –Indigenous and minority groups –Staff philanthropy activities

19 Propositions (cont) P4: The organisation will target consumers mindful of social expectations & norms – Supported –Regional financial management –Community investment –“Language” choice –Recognition of social expectations P5: Community engagement framework is a marketing orientation that acts to influence the social public opinion environment – Supported –Evidence of corporate narratives and embedded practice beyond consumer exchange P3 P4 P5 Organisation Social – public opinion environment Product/ Service Consumer retailer supplier distributor P2 P1

20 Implications Demonstrates the influence of social and public opinion environment on the organisation-consumer relationships The social environment acts to influence the organisation and the decisions that it makes for both products and services, and the resources, nature, goals for its relationships with customers Relationship management not new for public relations (role) –New for “product” orientation (dimension of marketing mix) –Translation/ monitoring of public opinion beyond reputation to products and services –Opportunity for public relations

21 Questions Thank you


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