1. Perception and persuasion in corporate communication
    1. The necessity of communications. You cannot make a sale without communication, and you cannot have an organization without it.
      1. Perception and persuasion are integral parts of communication in both the sale and construction of the organization.
      2. Credibility is the key to all perception. If I don't trust you, I don't deal with you. You can lose your permission to operate. Society can take it away. Example: Microsoft and Bill Gates.
      3. Persuasion is used to build and win credibility
    2. Public communications. Third parties often monitor communications between buyer and seller. Third parties might or might not have direct influence on the communication. They are constantly affecting perception by how they communicate among themselves and to your customers. Their communications can alter your perception and belief in the company with which you are working. Example: The "poor" workman.
      1. Journalists are one of many third-parties who monitor communications between buyer and seller.
      2. When journalists directly affect relationships between a company and the key audiences on whom it depends for it survival and success, then media relations are essential. Conversely, when they don’t, they are not. Example: Clinton and the media.
        1. When companies don't need to deal with the media. Example: corner grocery store. Example: business-to-business company with a small number of customers.
        2. When companies have to deal with the media. Example: a company with an essential public service: Gas, water telephone, garbage collection. Example: A company whose economic might is so great that society cannot ignore its presence. Intel, Microsoft, Ford, General Motors. Example: A company with vital technologies whether or not it is large. Manufacturers of chip manufacturing equipment.
    3. Details:
      1. Necessity: One must communicate buyer, seller, item being sold and value in order to complete a sale.
      2. Public: When buyers and sellers work in public, they are watched by competitors, regulators, consumer activists, supporters and owners. The vast bulk of publics have no interest in what a company communicates, but some always do.
      3. Perception: What people think about another person, organization of company. Awareness through the senses of an external object. Most people perceive little outside of immediate self-interested concerns. They tend to accept facts unless they have a strong personal interest. .
        1. Perception as old as individuals. Adam and Eve. The snake depended on changing Eve's perception of God. He was withholding the fruit of all knowledge from her and Adam. The snake had to gain credibility to make the sale and to do that, he had to persuade Eve.
        2. Perception is always incomplete because it is limited by our senses and our point of view. This is why persuasion and credibility are essential. We cannot have complete knowledge.
          1. Example: We may think we know what a competitor is doing, but we also fear that we don't really know.
        3. Perception collides with societal mores and standards which may judge one wrong even though what one is doing is right. This is where persuasion and credibility are key to remaining in existence as an economic organization. What Microsoft is learning and IBM learned long ago.
        4. Fact: Perception has little to do with fact.
        5. Persuasion: Winning others to one’s point of view through rational and emotional appeals to cause someone to do something by reasoning coaxing, urging, etc.
          1. Public relations is largely the ancient art of rhetoric or persuasion which seeks to use as many media as possible to win key publics to its side.
          2. Public relations is also part of self-justification. We tend to regard most of our actions as principled and we reject criticism of what we do -- especially if we are making money. Society on the other hand brings a different and sometimes, larger view that condemns some self-justification.
          3. Evil persons can use persuasion to their own ends as well as good persons. Stalin and Hitler. The odd trade-off by 30’s liberals. Tobacco companies and the right to smoke.
          4. A company that can complete economic transactions without justifying its transactions can and will do so. E.g., drug dealers. As long as they can get away with it, they will. Legitimate companies moving goods through shell corporations in third world countries to avoid the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
        6. Companies must keep a positive perception among audiences essential to survival and/or success.  No company is loved all the time by everyone nor should it expect to be. A company needs to be respected by those who have power over its existence, such as shareholders, customers, employees and regulators.
      4. Journalists: A strong influence because they are news purveyors who condense facts and perceptions into digestible words and pictures. Journalists influence is even stronger because they are perceived to be without vested interest in what they report.
        1. Not essential to deal with journalists. Sometimes you can avoid them by keeping quiet or by going direct.
        2. Lippman’s theory of the searchlight. Public opinion.
        3. Theory of defining moments when you must deal with the media and you had better know how to do so.
        4. Inevitability: When anything you do is going to be wrong. Union Carbide.
  2. Summary: Companies must keep a positive perception and support among audiences essential to survival and success. This requires persuasion and maintenance of credibility with these key audiences. When journalists are a part of those audiences, companies must deal with them.