Starbucks - A Public Relations Campaign

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Starbucks

Public relations being a communication process with mutual benefits in mind. The parties whose mutual benefit is under consideration may be but not necessarily an organization on one end and general public at the other. As a management function the public relations also include foreseeing and analyzing public thinking and public reactions that might influence upon the functioning of organization whether in a favorable or disconfirming way. It also involve the internal analysis of the management at all levels with respect to its policies, strategies, actions and other function taking into account the organization’s social responsibilities.

In ascertaining the role of public relations an example or rightly a case study would do the best. The California Department of Education aimed at educating parents and caregivers to the children regarding importance and role of quality of care given to their children. The basis was to make known to parents what institutes the quality care for their child and how it can be assured (Manning, 2008). The aim of this PR campaign is summarized in a question that how you communicate the importance of quality child care to the parent, followed by encouraging parents to take steps or more precisely the right step towards attaining the quality child care. The search for a quality child care is a difficult task. Merely, finding the right location for the child is a hectic job for the parents as probing a licensed caregiver who may also be capable of meeting standards that constitute high quality care for the child (Hymel, 2014).

This, as parents, maybe the most important decision they can made about their child. However, a research reveals that a number of parents are not even aware of the factors that would build the foundation for quality care or the questions they need to ask the care providers while interviewing them. As the judgment can be made that finding an appropriate child care is a difficult and lengthy process and case studies and surveys also revealed the same fact, the Ogilvy PR designed a PR campaign emphasizing on taking the “Right Steps” when it comes to finding a quality care provider. The campaign was launched in English and Spanish employing tools of both advertising and PR strategies with the aim of motivating parents to opt for the resources for locating quality child care. A website was created that that purposed to educating parents on all what fall in purview of quality care for the child (Mullins, 2009). The website include the reason or the need for quality child care, the steps to be taken for searching quality care, list of recommended providers and provider finder facility available with the site. A special child care resource guide book was formed, and awareness regarding local child care resources with referred licensed organization were also make known to the public and parents. This PR campaign was supported by various partnerships established with the various accredited organizations like American Academy of Pediatrics (Kaufman & Collins, 2009).

The efficacy of the campaign was ensured by choosing between two major languages that is English and Spanish. The most easily accessible resource internet was employed as the basic tool by launching a website. In urging parents both the “what’ and “why” conceptual approaches adopted. First they were educated about the why it is important to look for better and credible child care and then what steps involved in getting the goal done publicized. Finally the “how” factor by referring to local licensed quality care providers and listing the available providers with localities mentioned helping parents in reaching the target provider fast and accurately (Han & Zhang, 2009).

The results were welcoming too. In a period of three years the campaign was able to fetch more than 148 million audience imitations with an added value of more than $854,000. The phone calls received by 1-800 in connection of child care increased by 59 percent. The awareness regarding available child care resources were also increased by a percentage of 14 (Prabhakar et al., 2013).

Now returning back to the definition of PR that values the mutual benefit and taking the case as a whole. There are also two parties where The California Department of Education (CDE) is an organization and parents are the general public at large. The mission of the CDE is to educate parents about what is quality care for their children and why it is necessary for their children finally how they can achieve the quality care for the child. Succeeding in its aim is the benefit for CDE and the benefit for the other party that is parents will accrue in success of CDE campaign making a win-win situation. The concept of mutual benefit further be diagnosed as may not involving a money value to the organization going for PR campaigns. As in the case, apparently no monetary benefit accruing to the CDE observed.

Second a PR campaign might have nothing to do with the image building or advertising of the organization initiating it. A PR campaign may have several social or citizenship issues hanger on with it. In our case study the basic purpose of the campaign was to make parents aware about high quality care needs of their child with no CDEs own advertisement or image building motive involved. PR may or may not be a department’s function within the organization and an outsourcing for the same can be done effectively and successfully. Likewise the PR does not need to be a person or group of persons who are envisioned to interact or deal directly with the people or targeted group of people. Web based PR campaigns can be even or more effective in fetching desired results associated with a PR campaigns. Unlike an advertising campaign that can afford breaks PR is usually a continuing and persistent process and bound to get result over a long period of time. A short term PR policy will not be as effective as that of an advertising campaign. PR has a positive and unquestionable role in modern life with its wide applicability from business to their targeted markets and from Government organizations to general public.

References

Han, G., & Zhang, A. (2009). Starbucks is forbidden in the Forbidden City: Blog, circuit of culture and informal public relations campaign in China. Public Relations Review, 35(4), 395-401. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2009.07.004

Hymel, K. (2014). Do parking fees affect retail sales? Evidence from Starbucks. Economics of Transportation, 3(3), 221-233. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecotra.2014.08.001

Kaufman, L., & Collins, A. W. (2009). Starstruck in Starbucks Asks Lloyd. In L. Kaufman & A. W. Collins (Eds.), Produce Your Own Damn Movie! (pp. 131). Boston: Focal Press.

Manning, P. (2008). Barista rants about stupid customers at Starbucks: What imaginary conversations can teach us about real ones. Language & Communication, 28(2), 101-126. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2008.02.004

Mullins, C. D. (2009). Supply and demand in the decision-making process of pharmaceutical consumers: The starbucks versus dunkin' donuts dilemma. Clinical Therapeutics, 31(8), 1858. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2009.08.013

Prabhakar, A. M., Harvey, H. B., Wicky, S., Hirsch, J. A., Thrall, J. H., & Oklu, R. (2013). What's Brewing: How Interventional Radiologists Can Learn From the Reinvention of Starbucks. Journal of the American College of Radiology, 10(8), 559-561. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2012.12.021

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