torstai 26. marraskuuta 2009

Our presentation is now online

Our presentation is now online and you can see it in SlideShare by clicking here or the link on the right side of the page.

maanantai 23. marraskuuta 2009

Unethical Media Practice in Eastern Europe

Bulgaria: Publications ask for money to publish PR content.

Croatia: Some journalists want to have goods or other services for not publishing bad/negative stories about companies or persons. Sometimes they also try to trade with fake negative stories

Hungary: Some journalists work for their Media Company as well as PR agent for other companies.

Lithuania: A minister’s press officer also works as a program host.

Poland: Some companies organize nice trips for journalists with a lot of entertainment but without telling them some information or news about their company.


Tobias Hofferbert

lauantai 21. marraskuuta 2009

Crisis communication

Today I'm going to write something about crisis communication. I was searching information about the PR in Hungary in the internet. After surfing a while I found a slideshow about the subject which was apparently made for a PR conference.

In the slideshow (from the year 2004) I found a claim that crisis communication is the most trendy field in Hungarian PR-market. After surfing a little bit more I found a handy article about the crisis communication which I would like to share with you. The article by Kim Harrison is from the "Cutting edge PR" website (, which provides ideas and information to boost someones PR career.

The article called "How to get senior management to take notice of your crisis communication plan" says that whether you are inhouse or a consultant, crises are relevant to you as a communicator because crises are largely about the perceptions of stakeholders. Operational managers can deal with operational emergencies, but crises happen when emergency incidents impact on stakeholders, whose actions can affect the ability of your organization to survive. That’s where you come in – to communicate with key stakeholder groups such as employees, customers, shareholders, government regulators and suppliers.

It’s not easy to get senior management to actively support crisis communication plans. Most of them don’t want to know about crises. They know the chance of being caught up in a crisis is tiny and they don’t want to take time away from their daily work priorities to deal with something that just might happen one day, and then again, it might not. And crisis preparation costs money in staff time, in equipment and other resources.

What’s more, many executives perceive crises and emergencies only in terms of an operational response. They look at communication only as an afterthought to the real work. This is an extremely frustrating attitude to encounter. Those executives will need to be convinced of the impact on your organization’s operations and therefore profitability before they take full notice of your communication plan.

A great crisis communication plan is only as good as the extent to which it is implemented. Here are some ideas to get senior management to respect your crisis communication plan and support its implementation:

Be an ambassador of communication. Every person in your organization involved in emergency management should know your first name and face. Meet the emergency-procedures planners informally and talk to them about how better communication with key stakeholders would help them achieve their crisis management goals.

Inform senior managers of clear objectives for communication in a crisis. When many emergency response planners think of ‘communication’ they tend to think of two-way radios or other forms of telecommunication. It might be better to use terms like ‘stakeholder information’ or ‘public communication’ in a crisis.

Tell senior managers how the overall response and recovery operation is more effective by investing in crisis communication activities. In fact, poor crisis communication could destroy the organization.

Always ensure you have fully completed your allotted tasks in the preparation of a crisis communication plan that you bring to discuss at committee meetings. Other people can tell if you have rushed your preparation or if you have neglected parts of it, so they will lose respect if you have failed to honor your commitments.

Since most executives are busy with their day-to-day activities, they tend to put off the time needing to be spent on emergency and crisis response activities. You can take the initiative and systematically arrange meetings with key managers to discuss the importance and the broad content of their communication role in a crisis

There are many high-profile examples you can cite of good and bad examples of crisis communication to back your case. Document each example concisely and circulate the documents in a regularly spaced series, ie a month or two apart, to management to drive your message home to them.

Any concerns about management not understanding the importance of crisis communication must be addressed in the pre-crisis planning phase. You need to be proactive and meet with the emergency response planners now. Show them your competence and expertise. Be energetic. Set your own time aside for thinking through and documenting for your reference any action points.

What do you think after reading this? Are these tips worth noticing in a crisis communication situation?

torstai 19. marraskuuta 2009

The scar of socialism and other perceptions of PR Bulgaria

One thing in common for all the countries in our region (except Greece) is the history as a part of the communist Eastern Bloc. Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 meant the end of the communist regime and a new beginning for Eastern European countries.

Adjusting to the completely new way of life has not been easy neither for businesses nor people. PR is no exception. Sandra L. Braun from the University of Alabama, USA, has interviewed Bulgarian PR professionals, journalists and directors for her study The Effects of the Political Environment On Public Relations in Bulgaria (link). Here are some of the most interesting findings about the state of PR today in Bulgaria.

1. "The scar of socialism":
Braun's interviewees stated that people thought that their former social identities were changed when democracy came and that they couldn't accept new identities. For public relations practitioners, this means dealing with a general public that is very difficult to influence, highly cynical, and resistant to public messages.

2. Wrong perception of public relations:
Many of the professionals interviewed in the research felt that the public does not understand the term, the function, or the purpose of public relations, that the public views the profession negatively and largely associates it with propaganda and duplicity.

A communications professor even said that: "In the scientific world, it is very normal to say “public relations.” Everybody understands. But if you go to the street and say “PR man,” people don’t understand. Bulgarians think about Superman. If you say “PR specialist,” that’s a bit better."

3. The "Black PR" and corruption:
Many participants commented on the concept of Black PR.It was described as “PR meant to hurt an opponent or competitor—even lies about another.

A good example was given: "In an election there were two candidates for President. And one, he came on TV and he didn’t say I will do this or I will do that. He said that he had heard his competitor had been with criminals."

Many participants also agreed that editorial corruption exists in Bulgaria which means organizations (have to) pay for journalists to publish their press releases.

Braun, S. (2007). The Effects of the Political Environment On Public Relations in Bulgaria. Journal of Public Relations Research, 19(3), 199-228.

keskiviikko 18. marraskuuta 2009

Experience from Macedonias PR

I interviewed Atanas Aleksovski,like I promised before, and asked his experience from Macedonias PR history and processes.

Atanas said, that first I should understand cultural and political backgrounds and social relationships, that I can understand something about Macedonias PR and media today. I said, that I don´t know much about Macedonias or other Eastern europes cultural or political history. I told him, it is very hard to imagine, what it means to live through these huges changes, when the nation is facing new political, economical and social future - and new way to communicate more freely than before too.

Atanas told that many things has changed after 1991, when the Federal Rebuplic of Yuogoslavia break-up. Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, members of states of Yuogoslavia, voted for independence. They wanted to leave limitations of communism behind. And then started the war. Ofcource, before and during war, military based PR and propaganda played huge role.

During the war PR professionals could be found from military organizations and from media. Public relations is still quite young profession and industry in Macedonia. Macedonia is already member of NATO and now hopes to enter European Union in next wave. Macedonia has developed PR and global communication skills to help this enter. EU gives already money to Media development projects.

Atanas told, that especially young people have taken new information technology in use. Internet, social media, example facebook and blogging are very used. Students from another countries are studying in Macedonias colleges or universities and turism has increased. Building global networks is very important. Before the war Internet was the window to the world for young people. They couldn´t travel freely. Now it´s possible, if you have money enough.

Communications activities has been increased. Macedonia needs new investments, new industry to build up country after war. Balkan already have big global companies, but they really try to have more. So they use new public relations concultant to develope PR.

Because of war and used propaganda, people don´t trust media or governments official communication so much anymore. Sometimes it might be hard to trust even other citizens too, but still, traditional printmedia and TV are strong communication channels today. In Macedonia local TV channels have very strong position and they are very popular. Even the country has still big economical and political problems, they develope strongly new media. Border between old and young people could be seen. Young people can use new media, but old people can´t. So TV is important media for all. Intresting little thing was TV payment - every household pays TV-payment in their electricbill, even they didn´t have TV.

In Macedonia personal relationships are very important. Face-to-face communication is important between public relations professionals and journalists, or between organizations public relations people. Trust is everything. PR services has incresed in all big industries. But still, experts are needed to develope PR and ommunications processes on Macedonia.

Source: Interwiev 18.11.2010, Atanas Aleksovski

maanantai 16. marraskuuta 2009

Bad PR for Slovakia because of Hollywood

Hostel (2005) and Hostel II (2007) are two horror movies. The main plot of both movies takes place in Slovakia. The story is about a youth hostel where innocent backpacker tourists were cached and then sold to people who can satisfy their abnormal needs. They pay money for killing those tourists.


The problem was the PR gag how the movie was advertised. The producers and every poster told that the plot based on true events. So the audience got the impression that it is quite dangerous to travel through Eastern Europe. Slovakian politicians criticized the movie because of the fact that their home land is shown as a corrupted and a shabby country in both movies. Director Eli Roth got an invitation to get to know the country better but he disapproved.

„Movies, for the most part, are free publicity for the tourist board of any country featured on the big screen: People see the movie and want to visit the country.
But what happens when the plot of the movie involves backpackers who are kidnapped for the sport of torture, dismemberment and murder? This was the idea behind last summer's horror flick, Hostel.

The unlucky country in which the story takes place is Slovakia. Obviously the depiction of tourists being brutally murdered for fun and profit in quaint little Slovakia didn't sit well with local residents (even though the movie was filmed in neighboring Czech Republic).
Director Eli Roth received his share of hate mail over his slanderous depiction of a Slovakia far more screwed up than it actually is, populated by lunatic sadists, throngs of gypsy children, and bleak surroundings.

So, what is he doing now? Filming Hostel II, of course.“

Taken from:

Transsiberian was another horror movie in 2008. It tells the story about a couple who is travelling with the transsiberian train trough Russia and gets a lot of problems with the citizens and the corrupted executive. I guess movies like this, help to produce bad bias and make bad PR for the country in which the plot takes place.


Tobias Hofferbert

Pristop in Slovenia...

It’s obvious that public information campaigns are necessary for the well-being of a society and to ensure support for reforms by the population. However, some difficulties can appear when some organizations have to conceive it: which is the ideal method? Is there an universal method for designing and implementing communication strategies to present the new policies? Which mode of communication do we have to use: media, printed materials, conference, etc.?

For this post I chose to speak about Pristop, a PR society in Slovenia that has dealt with these topics. In 1996, this Group has conceived an public information campaign for a program against the atmospheric pollution in Slovenia.
The Slovenian government, committed to reducing pollution, has created in 1996, a program of loans at low levels of interest to encourage businesses and households to invest in less polluting energy sources. The loans were granted for the purchase of more ecological heating systems.
To achieve this goal, to convince firms and families, Pristop has adopted a sophisticated strategy of communication. The task was to inform groups of the existence of these loans, and convince others to change their habits or still to teach another group the notion of environmental protection. Pristop has used TV spots, advertisements in newspapers, articles, conferences and meetings to convey separate messages to each audience: people, trade associations, political parties and media.
I think it’s quite important because according to the target audience the message can be different and the mode of communication can also vary from one to another.

The Pristop Group received the prize of the International Association of Public Relations, which rewards the excellent quality of its information campaign, in the field of the design but also of the implementation.

I chose to talk about Pristop Group because I think that their commitment for this kind of information campaign is very important. I have also found an other campaign for Amnesty, here is the link:


For more information’s: