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RCL Career Resources Communication: Public Relations

RCL Public Relations + Choice Titles

The book's subtitle very accurately bills this work as "an essential guide for the whole branding team." Wheeler, a brand consultant, has produced a tool kit loaded with every resource imaginable to build and sustain a powerful branding program. The book is nicely organized into three major sections, beginning with clear, concise descriptions of the basic concepts or building blocks needed to get all members of the branding team on the same page; then the processes by which a branding program becomes a reality; and finally, a collection of 51 case studies that illuminate best practices and serve as models for anyone aspiring to make their brand truly memorable. Best practices are highlighted by the likes of Amazon.com, Coca-Cola, Good Housekeeping, Kleenex, and Starbucks. The volume is excellent throughout, but particularly praiseworthy are a section on marketing research as the pillar of a sound brand identity program as well as one that presents a series of guidelines for managing brand assets. Those two activities represent the foundation of a winning brand identity program. In sum, this book offers an excellent description and analysis of every step along the path to a winning brand identity program. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of undergraduate and marketing graduate students; researchers; practitioners.

--N. A. Govoni, Babson College

The first edition (CH, Jun'05, 42-5628) of this encyclopedia readily earned a reputation for being the most authoritative and comprehensive review of the practices, policies, strategies, and tactics of public relations. Of the 400-plus articles in this two-volume second edition, nearly 190 have been revised, and 160 are new. Changing circumstances involving, e.g., social media, the Internet, and the burgeoning global reach and influence of public relations, make this edition unique and relevant. The editor has expanded contributor expertise to achieve greater international scope. The signed entries are arranged alphabetically, and include see also references and a short list of further readings. A reader's guide/topical index provides expanded coverage on "Crisis Communications," "Risk Communications," "Cyberspace," "Practitioners," "Global Public Relations," and other themes germane to the subject. Appendixes have been revised and edited, and include a new section titled "Women Pioneers in Public Relations." This complements "Milestones in the History of Public Relations" and "Public Relations Online Resources"--both of which appeared in the earlier edition. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--A. Todman, St. John's University (NY)

This is a strong second edition (1st ed., CH, Feb'05, 42-3525) of Parsons's updated text, with social media examples such as the infamous Wal-Mart across America blog. In the book's first half, Parsons (Mount Saint Vincent Univ., Nova Scotia) distills briefly and readably some ethical principles readers can draw on to guide decision making, and she relates them to ethical quandaries such as resumé padding, conflicts of interest, and whistle-blowing. The "Honesty Assessment" questionnaire and "Creating Your Own Personal Code" checklist help readers relate ethical issues to their own actions. Parsons builds on this self-awareness in the book's second half, discussing ethical dilemmas that can complicate such standard public relations responsibilities as interacting with the news media or ghostwriting speeches for a senior executive. Public relations is often about changing people's attitudes and opinions, but it is not always easy to distinguish between persuasion and propaganda; Parsons provides some concrete steps to avoid crossing this fine line. The last section addresses the relationship of public relations to overall organizational ethics, with additional self-assessment tools and practical examples for making ethical decisions. This slim, readable volume should be a required textbook for any student of public relations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduate through professional audiences.

--M. S. Myers, Carnegie-Mellon University

Public relations practitioners have always had to fight for recognition as responsible, professional communicators who represent the legitimate viewpoints of the legal entities (corporations, governments, nonprofit agencies, or advocacy groups) they represent. That task has become even more difficult in recent years, as instantaneous electronic transmission creates enormous opportunities for out-of-context extractions and intercultural misunderstandings. Furthermore, public confidence in major institutions has declined in the face of scandals over fraudulent behavior not only in business and government but also in major nonprofit institutions. This timely and thorough volume, edited by two communication professors at DePaul University, attempts to provide both a theoretical framework and some very practical strategies for what the authors call "responsible advocacy." Early chapters examine public relations from legal, moral, and diversity perspectives. They provide a solid foundation for subsequent chapters that cover working with activist groups, coping with the particular problems and advantages relevant to public relations for nonprofits, responding to crises, using online media, communicating with affected populations about risk, competing for world opinion via public diplomacy, and establishing international codes of ethics that address diverse cultural practices. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic collections, upper-division undergraduate and up, but also relevant to many practitioners.

--M. S. Myers, Carnegie-Mellon University

This well-argued defense of the field and practice of public relations is itself a good public relations job, in the best sense of that often-maligned term. Coombs and Holladay (both, Eastern Illinois Univ.) argue that the common characterization of public relations as corporate manipulation is incomplete and undeserved. They acknowledge that some corporations may be guilty of that charge but argue that "public relations is not all-powerful, exclusively corporate, or always harmful to stakeholders and society." They show that advocacy groups (e.g., labor unions, environmental groups, national and international nongovernmental organizations) have historically used public relations as a "mechanism for people to be involved in the marketplace of ideas"--a theme Coombs introduced in Code Red in the Boardroom (CH, Sep'06, 44-0405). That book is a how-to-do-it primer; this work is a scholarly but readable analysis of the history, development, uses, and abuses of public relations as a means to shaping society. Drawing on stakeholder and issues management theories and on examples ranging from the American Medical Association's attacks on President Truman's early explorations of universal health care to today's direct-to-consumer advertising by big pharmaceutical companies, the authors make a compelling case that public relations plays a valuable role in society. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate through professional audiences. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--M. S. Myers, Carnegie-Mellon University

Katz has taught at several universities and currently is senior vice president and director of research at Starcom Mediavest Group. This brief but insightful work reflects her education and experience. The text is well organized into ten chapters. The first two discuss what media is, as well as how it relates to marketing. The third examines media objectives and how they should be developed. The fourth and fifth chapters address various media, including traditional and alternative or emerging media. The sixth discusses the math that is necessary in planning media. In subsequent chapters, Katz focuses on developing the media plan and alternatives that may be considered, how media are purchased, and how to evaluate a media plan. The author includes two appendixes, "Key Research Resources" and "Key Media Organizations," which many readers will find helpful. The chapters are well written and contain numerous examples. In addition, media terms are defined when they first appear. This work is suitable for faculty who teach advertising, as well as students of advertising media planning. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through practitioner collections. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--E. Applegate, Middle Tennessee State University

Scott, a media consultant and blogger, has filled this 4th edition (1st ed., CH, Dec'07, 45-2127) of his popular guide with the latest information on marketing and public relations in the digital age. Gone are paper news releases and one-sided ads and commercials. In are interactive blog posts, Facebook "likes," YouTube videos, Twitter tweets, and smartphone apps that engage audiences and make them part of the marketing and PR team. "Virtual" and "viral" are the new realities. Scott advises that, rather than waiting for news to happen and report it, the new way is to stay connected all the time--just as friends do. Communication today is all about community, and making a company's brand a welcome member of it. Scott emphasizes that this involves knowing the "persona" (needs, wants, goals, and self-perceptions) of customers and knowing the company's persona--what the company stands for and how it is making a difference in people's lives. In outlining his "new rules," Scott examines social networking sites, search engine optimization, marketing and PR planning, podcasting, and ways to "news jack" a media story. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division and graduate marketing and communication students, faculty, and practitioners. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--P. G. Kishel, Cypress College

Leroux Miller, a communications consultant, has produced an easy-to-read resource for small nonprofit organizations. Focusing on communication strategies, her work provides insightful guidance on how to develop a marketing communications strategy but lacks depth on building out a full marketing plan in the truest sense. Promotion is the entire focus of the book, with little to no mention of definition of product, pricing detail, or distribution information. The book makes an important distinction between "marketing" and fund-raising, and discusses the relationship of the two. The role of online communications is stressed and explored throughout. Leroux Miller also discusses the significance of building relationships with supporters, the community, and the media--all extremely important for nonprofits to be successful. The final chapter briefly discusses the role of evaluation in a marketing communications strategy. The 16 chapters are followed with brief notes and chapter references, largely from the author's Web site. A password is provided to gain access to the book's companion site. This work also contains a glossary of online marketing terms. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division students; practitioners.

--N. E. Furlow, Marymount University

Berman (advertising, Florida International Univ.) examines what it takes to generate product buzz in today's marketing environment. Ad agency creative directors are always looking for ways to cut through the media clutter and make their messages stand out from the rest. As legendary ad man Leo Burnett put it, "Good ideas do not just circulate information. They penetrate the public mind with desires and beliefs." Berman points out that the first step to creating breakthrough ads is to "take the pulse of the street." Observing and talking to customers and connecting via Web sites and blogs all help. It is also important to master the elements of good writing and design--topics Berman devotes several chapters to, emphasizing that everything from color choices to type fonts and page layouts have to be in place to make a strong impact. Among the ad campaigns that generated buzz, Berman cites Aflac's well-known squawking duck; Subway's "Eat Fresh" ads; Volvo's "Revolvolution" message targeting people surfing the Web; and the Herbal Essences shampoo campaign "Totally Organic Experience," referencing the movie When Harry Met Sally. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division and graduate marketing students, faculty, and practitioners.

--P. G. Kishel, Cypress College

This updated edition looks at the world of digital marketing: how it got started, how it got to where it is today, and where the thought leaders in the industry believe it is headed in the future.  Ryan, a digital media and marketing expert, freshens the text with the most current information without any sacrifice to the structure, comprehensiveness, and clarity of the original.  Imagine the world at the time the first edition was published, five years ago.  Twitter, Facebook, the Cloud, and innumerable social platforms either did not exist or were in their infancy.  Consequently, this new edition is most welcome as an update and a reexamination of marketing tactics and strategy.  Topics covered include search marketing, social media, mobile marketing, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, customer engagement, and digital marketing strategies.  The accelerating pace of innovation resulting in the emergence of social business will, no doubt, more than justify future new editions of this book. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.

--S. A. Schulman, CUNY Baruch College