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This paper will explain societal and organizational functions of PR, citing an example of an issue from an organization. It will further explain how the example used would be addressed both on societal and organizational levels. American Apparel is a youth attire brand in the United States that employs the services of professional designers, marketers and managers. Being among the top homegrown brands, the organization betrayed the loyalty of their customers as well as its corporate responsibility by taking advantage of a disaster and using it to market its products. During the event of Hurricane Sandy, the organization sent an email blast encouraging retailers to shop online within a 36-hour period and get a 20 percent discount. The marketing effort turned into an insult when it suggested that the customers were bored after being trapped in their homes by the hurricane, hence it was offering an escape from boredom. The PR officials had done a poor job in their social functions, because property and life had been destroyed, with millions of the trapped victims left without electrical power to even get online, yet no apology was offered for the offensive email blast. Societal functions of PR stipulate that public opinion about an organization must be gauged by analyzing what appears online, on the air and in print (Broom, Allen & Scott, 1994). The PR officials should issue press releases on company news, communicate with journalists on industry trends and establish the organization as a responsible player in the industry. Reputation should also be managed online through interactions with prospects and existing customers via social media websites. Conversations should be created by posting updates, responding and commenting to questions or complaints. Despite knowledge of these responsibilities, the marketing director and PR manager at American Apparel did not respond to the huge public outcry about their poor choice of marketing strategy. Customers responded to the email claiming never to visit the stores again, and urging whoever came across the email to spread the same word. This could have devastating effects on the existence of the organization. Innocent employees who had nothing to do with the posting of the email will be traumatized by the comments being made about the organization as a whole, with a negative impact on performance. Those with friends and relatives that were victims of the hurricane may be affected more. If the customers carry out their threats of never visiting the stores again, shutting down would be inevitable. Within the society, the organization would be viewed as being very socially irresponsible. At a time when everyone expects them to join in salvaging a disaster affecting the most critical element of stakeholders, the customers, the firm uses it to market. Organizational functions of PR require the PR manager to share the organizational goals and vision with their internal audience, which includes shareholders and employees, and seek their feedback (Broom, Allen & Scott, 1994). Open communication increases shareholder satisfaction and employee engagement through uniting an organization in its quest of collective goals via a common identity. Crises can be managed by preparing and sharing response strategies in advance and updating shareholders and ...Show more


Public Relations Name: Institution: Public Relations Public Relations (PR) refers to the science and art of managing how information flows between organizations or individuals and the public. Because public opinion and image are critical aspects of an organization, PR managers strive to make their organizations’ win public trust and become positive and ethical role models (Marshall, 2002)…
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Public Relations essay example
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