Public Relations Proposal


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One of my favorite classes at Ashford University was a course titled 'Public Relations Practices & Promotional Writing'. It was there I learned not only how to write press releases, but the basic concepts behind PR. When a public relations professional is contacted to help a potential client in a crisis, they must complete a proposal with their plan intact. This makes the client aware of how the PR rep plans to resolve the issue. The following is an example of just that. 

I was assigned to complete a proposal for a fictional professional athlete who I find my self working for. The athlete is taking heat from the public for allegedly taking illegal substances for performance enhancement. Read the following proposal to see how I would plan on handling the situation:

The Situation

Athlete X is a well-known baseball player who has come under suspicion of using steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. At this time there have not been any formal charges towards Athlete X. However, there has been an increase of interest in his activities throughout the media. As this story becomes more popular with the public, the threat of formal accusations is closer to becoming a reality. If this comes to fruition it will cause irreversible damage to his career.

With former baseball player Mark McGwire admitting, “he used steroids for nearly a decade” it has become evident that the use of performance enhancing drugs has been taking place in professional sports for some time (Knoblauch, 2010, ¶2). To save the images of these athletes, public relation (PR) campaigns must be developed. Athlete X’s agent is currently looking for a PR firm to create such a campaign, before his client is formally accused. It is possible that creating a positive public opinion of Athlete X will help him avoid any serious legal matters with this issue.

Athlete X’s agent, in a confidential manner, has made it clear that his client has taken a performance enhancing  substance in the past. He has admitted doing so without any knowledge of it being steroids. This information does not prohibit the creation of a PR campaign to repair X’s public reputation. As recent as July 2009, Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz admitted to having a positive drug test in the past (BBC, 2009, ¶2). Ortiz has acknowledged that he was unaware of what the substance was that entered his body. A year has passed and Ortiz is still playing Major League baseball and his reputation is still intact.

The Need

For an ethical campaign to be developed, X must first publicly admit to unknowingly using a performance enhancing substance. This action will take place in the form of press conference. At said press conference, X will denounce the use of steroids by expressing his extreme distaste for that type of activity. He will then explain that he would never knowingly take any substance that is banned by the MLB or that is considered illegal. The press conference must then end with a series of questions, which X will answer to the best of his ability. It is imperative that this course of action take place, in order for a campaign to be created that is based on information.

Objectives

The campaign will have both informational and motivational objectives. The informational goal will be to disseminate the situation. It is impetrative for the public to view X as a grateful person who would never jeopardize all he has accomplished by doing something illegal. The motivational goal will be to keep X from ever being brought up on formal charges and to continue playing baseball.

Strategies

As Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sports writer Bob Klapisch (2010) recently stated, “Yes, it's true, everyone is suffering from steroids fatigue. No one wants to read about them anymore” (¶5). What the public does want to read about are athletes who appreciate the opportunities that their talent have given them. As well as positive stories portraying the athlete as someone who cares about the less fortunate. A media campaign will be developed to place favorable accounts of the positive actions that Athlete X has and will continue to perform.

Tactics

Initial research will include finding all media stories that involve Athlete X. Any story that is deemed positive will then become talking points whenever X is interviewed. These stories will include any community service that he has performed in the past.

X will then begin to perform new community service programs in two specific places, the city his team plays for and his home town. Community service will be targeted around children and teenagers, to remind the public of his role model status. He will also choose a charity that is of importance to him and volunteer time and money to its cause.

There will then be an attempt to book him to appear on a variety of talk shows. This will begin in the city his team plays for with local radio and television. He will speak of his current charity work and use the interviews as a platform to bring awareness. This pattern will begin in that city but will grow as we begin to request interviews across the nation.

Finally, we will begin a viral campaign of Athlete X performing positive duties that the general public can relate. Because “viral is today's electronic equivalent of old-fashioned word of mouth” creating an online presence will help spread the new positive image of X (Djanseizan, 2005, ¶2). Using social networks like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter can allow X to communicate with fans as well as promote this image. Videos and pictures of X working with his charity, doing community service, and spending time with family and friends, will be uploaded on a regular basis.

Success of Campaign

The campaign to create a positive image of Athlete X will depend on his skill to truly work towards goals that the public respects. This particular athlete must perform these duties to the best of his ability. It is important to remain honest and factual at all times. X, at this point, will remain in the public’s eye through media scrutiny. Now is an opportunity for the media to view him as a person who cares. If followed, the strategy and tactics will lead to a complete image makeover of X and a strong possibility of his remaining in professional baseball.


References

BBC Sports. (2009, July 31). Ortiz admits positive drug test. Retrieved August 8, 2010 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/8177802.stm

Djanseizan, K. (2005, June 22). 'Viral' advertising spreads through marketing plans. Retrieved August 9, 2010 from http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2005-06-22-viral- usat_x.htm

Klapisch, B. (2010, August 8). View from afar: A-Rod will not escape his past. Retrieved August 9, 2010 from http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10220/1078557-63.stm

Knoblauch, A. (2010, January 11). Mark McGwire admits to using steroids [Updated] Retrieved August 8, 2010 from http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2010/01/mark mcgwire-admits-to-using-steroids.html




One Response to “Public Relations Proposal”

  1. aisha27 says:

    Another insightful, well thought out blog.

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