Public relations. Strategic Communication. On most days, I understand class content and ask questions where I do not. But often, someone will ask me, “What exactly does a strategic communication major do?”
The inquisitor may not be a nurse, but he has an idea of what a nurse does. Same thing applies to a marketing major, English, Mathematics, etc. I begin to explain what I am studying but this leaves the inquisitor even more confused.
This blog post is aimed at helping the inquisitor and students like me to see real-life examples of class content in the news To do this, I picked out 3 stories with public relations (one field that many strategic communication students venture into) news value.
The Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 had a short life span. Arguably Apple’s biggest competitor, announced that it was ending the production of the Galaxy Note7 after multiple reports of the phone exploding.
After the initial reports of the phone exploding, the company was quick to come up with a phone replacement program. But after multiple reports of the replacement phones exploding, the company recalled these too.
Reuter’s estimates that this recall could could cost the company about $17 billion dollars (Lee, 2016). Though the company has a lot of work to do to reestablish its position in the market.
2. Donald Trump
In a recent study published in the Political Communication Journal, Wells et al. attributes Trump’s journey to nomination to his hybrid campaign strategy. His use of Twitter, domination of media news cycles (with a combination of positive and negative press coverage), established named recognition, interviews, press conferences (etc.) led to an increase in popularity and the eventual GOP presidential nomination for the White House (Wells et al., 2016).
In the articleWells et al. also found that retweets positively correlated with an increase in supporters and supporting data suggested that Trump tweeted controversial issues when his number were low.
According to The New York Times, Donald Trump’s campaign had generated about “$2 billion in media attention” as of March 2016 (Confessir & Yourish, 2016). Hillary Clinton has earned an estimated $746 million in free press (Confessir & Yourish, 2016).
3. Wells Fargo
This global banking and financial services company is not having a good year. According to the New York Times, Wells Fargo employees had “secretly issues credit cards without a customer’s consent” for years. This boosted their numbers on paper but hurt their consumers. In September the company was fined $185 million for opening fraudulent accounts, and the CEO John Stumppf stepped down from his role after a grueling senate hearing where Senator Elizabeth Warren asked hard questions.
Some of the fallout includes: More than 5,000 employees fired, Ohio, California, Illinois suspending business with Wells Fargo, declining revenue and lack confidence in the new CEO (Timothy J. Sloan) plague this bank.(http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/15/business/dealbook/wells-fargo-says-customers-shied-away-after-scandal.html). Sloan mentioned that the company was trying to “make things right” by ensuring the customers received good service. But for its public image, more needs to be done to give people confidence in the bank.
In conclusion, public relations is one field that strategic communication students tend to work in. In addition to PR, students who graduate with this degree can work in marketing, the nonprofit sector, graphic design, professional writing, etc.
Often the best way to explain something is to show it. So the next time someone asks what exactly your major entails, tie it in to an already-familiar example. Both of you may just come to a better understanding of what you are talking about.
About the Author: Danny Ndungu
Danny is a student at The Ohio State University studying Strategic Communication with a minor in Nonprofit Studies. Currently involved in The PRactice as an Account Executive, he hopes to learn as much as he can about PR in the real world. Danny enjoys reading theSkimm almost every morning and holds a lofty goal of getting to know every single person in the world someday.
Lee, Se Young (2016, October 11). Note 7 fiasco could burn a $17 billion hole in Samsung accounts. Reuters. Retrieved from
Wells, C., Dhavan V.S., Jon C.P., JungHwan Y. Ayellet P., Frederick B., … Jessica L. S. (2016). How Trump drove coverage to the nomination: Hybrid media campaigning. Political Communication, 33, 669-676
Confessore, N., & Karen Yourish. (2016, March 2016). $2 Billion worth of free media for Donald Trump. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/16/upshot/measuring-donald-trumps-mammoth-advantage-in-free-media.html?_r=0
Corkery, M. (2016, October 14). Wells Fargo says customers shied away after scandal. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/15/business/dealbook/wells-fargo-says-customers-shied-away-after-scandal.html
Together we can move forward. Retrieved October 31 from http://viaimmobiler.com/wells-fargo-stagecoach-logo-png
Donald Trump’s Twitter. Retrieved October 30 from https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
Samsung Unveils the New Galaxy Note7: The Smartphone That Thinks Big. Retrieved October 30 from http://news.samsung.com/us/2016/08/02/samsung-unveils-galaxy-note7-the-intelligent-smartphone-unpacked-2016/