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Traditionally, the concept of Public relations has been about only communication management. But with time it has evolved from communication management to relationship management. Edward Berneys sees PR as a science to manage and manipulate the thinking and behaviour of people. In the previous centuries, PR practitioners were known and called by the name of “spin doctors”.
PR is often confused with advertising. It is however a part of integrated marketing communication. It has as main role to disseminate information and to improve brand image of an organization. PR is a powerful management function and a serious business activity. A famous author Frank Jefkins described PR as
“â€¦the art and social science of analysing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planned programmes of action that will serve both the organization’s and the public interest ” (cited in Jefkins 1994).
The term relationship management is about the relationship between the organization and the public. The key constituents in the organisation’s environment are known as the publics. Publics are divided into internal publics, that is shareholders and employees and external publics which are customers, news media, investment communities, government and the general population. The main aim here is to maintain a positive and healthy relationship with both internal publics and external ones.
Many scholars laid emphasis on the measurement of the relationship between an organization and its publics based on qualities such as trust, commitment, understanding, credibility and satisfaction. The fact that they care a lot about the measurement of its effectiveness shows that it holds great importance for organizations.
Definition of PR and PR theory
Public Relations (PR) can be defined as a marketing activity to boost up relationship with publics. It is closely linked with image and reputation of an organization. It precedes the success of all IMC (integrated marketing communications) elements. Advertising and support media will fail if a company has negative PR.
The IPR define public relations as: ‘the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics’ (cited in Jefkins, 1994). The importance of PR lies in emphasizing the need for planning, sustained effort and mutual understanding. PR practitioner needs to be apt with the skills to use a public mood to there benefit that is the transfer process.
The figure below shows the transfer process. PR practitioner should turn negative behaviour into positive one.
Several scholars defined PR in different manners. Some of the definitions that marked the evolution of PR will be discussed below.
Hutton framework (1999)
Proactive and reactive PR
In house and pr consultancy
Role of PR
Background of the company(rework)
Mauritius Telecom (MT) is the leading telecommunications operator and service provider in Mauritius. Incorporated in 1988 as Mauritius Telecommunications Services (MTS), it acquired the assets of Overseas Telecommunications Services (OTS) in 1992 and became Mauritius Telecom. The company has since enjoyed a phenomenal rate of development and it is now one of the top enterprises in the country, with revenue of Rs7.9 billion in 2011. The company, which is ISO 9001:2008 certified, operates in accordance with the requirements of good corporate governance practices, providing fair working conditions and offering secure products and services.
Mauritius Telecom’s strategy for growth is centred on innovation, in line with its vision “To be a Premier World-Class Infocom Services Provider,” whilst the new commercial strategy is led by the vision “Today changes with Orange.” Over the years, the company has invested considerably in restructuring the organisation so that it functions as an integrated operator. MT also endeavours to provide the best conditions for its 1,600 employees to enhance their skills to better serve its customers.
The Government of Mauritius, the State Bank Mauritius (through its wholly owned subsidiary SBM Investments Managers Ltd) and the National Pensions Fund hold 59% of the shares in the company. 1% of MT shares were sold to eligible employees and pensioners in 2007 at a discounted rate under an Employee Share Participation Scheme. The remaining 40% are held by France Telecom, through its investment vehicle RIMCOM.
Investment in other entities
Mauritius Telecom has a regional presence through its investments in Orange Madagascar. MT has acquired a 50% share in Vanuatu Telecom Ltd through its investment vehicle, Mauritius Telecom International Ventures, set up in 2011.
Products and services
Mauritius Telecom provides a full spectrum of voice and data services using fixed, mobile and internet platforms. MT additionally offers convergent services through My.T, its Multiplay-IPTV service. Internet and TV services are provided for mobile users. The Group is committed to providing its customers with quality ICT services at competitive prices.
Since the rebranding of all mobile and internet services in April 2008 to Orange, a strong international brand, there has been a quantum leap in providing customers with innovative services and experiences. Telecommunication services are becoming increasingly convergent and Mauritius Telecom makes every effort to respond to new device and consumption trends in an increasingly competitive market.
Today, the company’s real-time technology services and solutions, coupled with its experience and know-how, are providing businesses with a one-stop solution for IP-based services, virtual private networks, and high-speed internet access and application services for improved decision-making anytime, anywhere. FTTC, GPON, ADSL, SHDSL are the technologies we are investing in, while offering TelePresence and Cloud Computing solutions.
By the end of December 2011, the company had acquired about 1.2 million subscribers for its fixed-line, mobile, internet dial-up, broadband and My.T convergent services. This significant customer base has enabled Mauritius Telecom to strengthen its position as market leader and preferred end-to-end solutions provider.
MT continues to improve broadband access through lower tariffs for both business and residential customers, as part of MT’s commitment to aligning its strategy with that of the Government’s vision of Broadband Mauritius. Indeed, to make ICT available and affordable to as many people as possible in Mauritius, the Company launched the NetPC in June 2008.
MT is the country’s only telecommunications company that provides universal services and universal access. To meet these responsibilities, the company is committed to developing its networks throughout the country and to providing effective services to all citizens and residents within the Republic of Mauritius.
Mauritius Telecom is setting the pace in the region in the transition from narrowband to broadband and Internet Protocol (IP) services. The company is continuously upgrading its IP-based network to offer increasingly mobile and convergent services and provide high-performance voice, data, video and multimedia services. The company is gradually migrating to the Next Generation Network (NGN). In 2011, MT’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) relocated to state-of-the-art premises in Orange Tower Ebène.
As the provider of international bandwidth services, Mauritius Telecom continuously upgrades available bandwidths on the SAFE cable and invests in new cable projects to meet the increasing demand of call-centre and BPO operators and of customers connecting to bandwidth-hungry services.
As for MT’s international network, it is based upon an advanced globally interconnected infrastructure, linked by submarine fibre-optic cables as well as satellite. The company, in addition to providing continuous upgrades on these cable systems, is also investing in other submarine fibre-optic cable projects such as the LION 2, the Europe-India Gateway (EIG) and the West Africa Cable System (WACS), all set to enter service in 2012. The two existing cable landing stations at Baie Jacotet and Le Goulet and the investment in cable projects allow Mauritius to further increase the reliability, resiliency and bandwidth capacity of its international connectivity.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Mauritius Telecom fully engages in its (CSR) role and, through the Mauritius Telecom Foundation (MTF), is actively participating in funding major national projects promoting social and economic integration and poverty alleviation. Other CSR initiatives include support to community projects in the fields of education, health, sports and environment. The national campaign, Je recycle les mobiles et les piles, launched in 2010, has resulted in the collection of five tons of used batteries and over 2,000 mobile phones, with a first shipment to France for recycling set for February 2012. Since the setting up of the MTF, 22% of CSR funds have been allocated to projects which facilitate ICT education and access to vulnerable groups.
PR at MT and Orange
In terms of risk management, the Group has developed incident management plans for increased preparedness in such situations as vandalism, and tsunami, fire and bomb alerts. In this context, Business Continuity Plans have been prepared by the various departments within the Group. Moreover, MT has been allocated 40 Work Area Recovery seats by Business Continuity Mauritius. The objective is to be able to ensure service continuity to customers in incident situations. In fact, Business Continuity Mauritius is a subsidiary company of MT which also provides disaster recovery services to other companies.
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