Corporate communication and online-PR : current application and best practices

Hoeft, Marc (2005-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.


The following work gives an overview about the current situation of online-PR and develops a best-practice guide for corporate communication on the internet. The scope of online-PR as covered in this research project encompasses PR tools shaped through the technology of the internet - from communication applications to applications for the distribution and sharing of information - which are used in the communication between an organization and its stakeholders. After giving an introduction into the objectives and methods of PR, the differences between traditional and online-PR are described. This first chapter is followed by an introduction into the online communication ecosphere where the different kinds of communication and information distribution platforms on the internet are described. The third chapter analyses devices, software applications and standards relevant to online-PR. Following this summary a best-practice guide is developed to help PR practitioners in optimizing online-PR efforts using the described tools (e.g. email newsletter, weblogs). The empirical part of the work consists of a survey in which PR practitioners were asked to disclose their current knowledge and application of online-PR and to give their opinion about future trends in online-PR. The results of the observations were analysed and a comparison was drawn between the best-practices and their practical application. This work closes with a summary of the results, a conclusion and a view into the future. There were two main findings identified in the theoretical analysis as well as through the empirical observations: First the PR environment is becoming increasingly complex and faster through the emergence of internet technology and the only way for PR practitioners to keep up with this development lies in the utilization of sophisticated and internet-based means of communication. The second finding was that internet innovations are reshaping the traditional media environment and the way news is created and thereby making online-PR essential in reaching and influencing company's stakeholders effectively and efficiently.

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