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Code of professional conduct of International Public Relations Association (IPRA)

The following code of conduct was adopted by the assembly in Venice, May 1961 and is binding on all members of the Association.

I. Personal and Professional Integrity.

It is understood that by personal integrity is meant the maintenance of both high moral standards and a sound reputation. By professional integrity is meant observance of the constitution, rules and particularly, the code as adopted by IPRA.

II. Conduct towards Clients and Employers

1. A member has a general duty of fair dealing towards his clients or employers, past and present.

2. A member shall not represent conflicting or competing interests without the express consent of those concerned.

3. A member shall safeguard the confidence of both present and former clients or employers.

4. A member shall not employ methods tending to be derogatory of another member's client or employer.

5. In performing services for a client or employer, a member shall not accept fees, commissions or any other valuable consideration in connection with those services from anyone other than his client or employer without the express consent of his client or employer, given after a full disclosure of the facts.

6. A member shall not propose to a prospective client or employer that his fee or other compensation be contingent on the achievement of certain results; nor shall he enter into any fee agreement to the same effect.

III. Conduct towards the Public and the Media:

1. A member shall conduct his professional activities in accordance with the public interest, and with full respect for the dignity of the individual.

2. A member shall not engage in any practice, which tends to corrupt the integrity of channels of public communication.

3. A member shall not intentionally disseminate false or misleading information.

4. A member shall at all times seek to give a balanced and faithful representation of the organization, which he serves.

5. A member shall not create any organization to serve some announced cause but actually to serve an undisclosed special or private interest of a member or his client or his employer, nor shall he make use of it on any such existing organization.

IV. Conduct towards colleagues:

1. A member shall not internally injure the Professional reputation or practice of another member. However, if a member has evidence that another member has been guilty of unethical, illegal or unfair practices, in violation of this code, he should present the information to the council of IPRA.

2. A member shall not seek to supplant another member with his employer or client.

3. A member shall co-operate with fellow members in upholding and enforcing the code.

Conceptual models of corporate image. Modern model

The modern model of corporate image is based on the following theses:

1. The behavior of the audience is often inadequate to developed images. This aspect is poorly studied, and draws insufficient attention of image making practitioners. There is a need of further studies to find out how the recipients accumulate, interpret the signals and convert them into behavioral actions.

2. Corporate identity has no direct immediate impact on the image. Various corporate images depend on the recipient's perception of corporate identity.

3. Modern model takes into account a variety of information sources, only a part of which is controlled by the organization. Firstly, it is the communication activities of direct competitors and related businesses, as well as different media that represent these companies. Secondly, there are interpersonal sources of information - the previous experience and the images, kept in memory, which can come to life when the organization reminds of them. Thirdly, it is interpersonal meetings, recommendations and conversations. There are a number of researches showing that interpersonal contacts influence consumer behavior more than any other sources controlled by the organization. At the same time, in other researches the factors controlled by the organization, such as advertising, charity and organizational characteristics are related to the most influential in forming general corporate image, superior to other sources of information (Williams and Moffitt, 1997).

4. It is necessary to take into account the diversity of images that exist in the perception of different interested groups. The image is not a common construction. Investors and creditors, for example, are tuned to signals of trade about the realization of the company's products, its financial results and its prospects, as well as to financial accounting and the policy of the company. In contrast, consumers are tuned to the signals about functional and psychological characteristics of the products and services.

5. Corporate image is understood as a set of images in the perception of the recipient, rather than a single construction. Image can be viewed as any special opinion regarding the organization: positive, negative or neutral. Any individual may have a variety of positive, negative and indifferent opinions about the images of the organization and its products. In other words, the image is always a set of images developed by the recipient.

6. Formation of the corporate image is a complex, flexible, constantly changing, multi-factorial process. The image is determined by the factors of organization, audience, environment, as well as by cultural factors that influence the organization and the recipient. Moreover, any of these crossed factors at a certain time can influence the other factors in a special way. The modern approach uses a model of numerous factors of the image.

The modern model of the corporate image is not something indisputable. It is actively discussed in modern world scientific literature. One of the "hot" themes is whether the image is the final effect or it has intermediate character. A number of researches have shown that the image does not end in itself. Many recent works are devoted to proving that the traditional interpretation of the image as a signal for action is too one-sided, and that the mechanism of the audience's real behavior is not revealed. Researchers are focused not on how the organization manages the image, but how the organization's image is perceived and interpreted by the audiences.

Avoiding the traditional model of corporate image making is characterized as a paradigm shift in the communication management. Emphasis on the recipient's point of view is the basis of this shift. The traditional model is not denied, but it is complicated by parameters of various sources and interaction of factors of the communication process.

Conceptual models of corporate image. Traditional model

In literature the term "corporate image" is often used in the meaning of "image of the organization". The term "corporation" has two basic meanings: a form of joint-stock company and the union, created on the basis of common interests. In the context of image making the second meaning is implied. The term "organization" means an association of people, which is created for realization of a certain goal and has a number of characteristics (formal and informal structure, system of value orientations, etc.). It is easy to notice that the term "corporation" in its second meaning is close to the meaning of the term "organization".
The traditional model of corporate image is based on the following accepted axioms.

1. There is a direct linear connection between the image and consumer behavior. It is supposed that a positive image entails the desired consumer behavior and, thus, directly affects the success of the organization activity.

2. Corporate identity is directly and immediately connected with the corporate image. Corporate identity is the specificity of the organization, its "self"; the thing that makes it different from other similar organizations. The traditional model assumes that the corporate image of the organization depends on its identity. In fact, there is so called fan of images of the organization, many of which may be inadequate to its identity.

3. The main, dominant, and in some cases the only source of image making information is the organization itself. The impact of other sources is underestimated.

4. The uniqueness of the recipients and their interpretation does not play a significant role in image making. The traditional model does not take into account the peculiarities of life experience, culture, historical memory and current internal orientations of the recipients.

5. Image is a one-dimensional structure. The traditional model does not notice that there are a lot of evaluations and impressions in respect of the same object even at the level of one recipient.

6. Image making factors are mostly limited to purposeful PR-activity of the organization.

The final scheme of the image and image making in the traditional model looks as follows:

- the organization sends image making messages;

- receivers in the face of customers, staff, investors, state organs and partners uncritically accept the message and form the image desirable to the organization;

- the latter itself entails the desired recipient behavior.

The obvious limited nature of the traditional model of the corporate image is recognized in modern researches. A direct consequence of its application is an exaggeration of corporate image and reputation management capabilities. The weakest spots of the traditional model are underestimation of the recipients' active role and the impact of competitors and organizations involved in related activities.

Corporate reputation in system of image making

The reputation (from Lat. - reputation) is a general opinion about someone's/something's advantages or advantages (D. Ushakov). In the authoritative Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), which is usually being referred by English-speaking authors, reputation is defined as "evaluation, nature of public evaluation; characteristics attributed to the person, thing or action; a good name."

Linguistic definitions of reputation and image are insufficient for specialized scientific researches. There is a whole industry in Western countries dedicated to the positioning of corporate reputation, and special institutes for researches about corporate image, corporate reputation and the importance of maintaining the image of "good company" (for example, Marketing Science Institute, London).

In modern Western studies, despite the popularity of corporate reputation, there is no generally accepted definition of reputation. One of the reasons of that is a variety of disciplinary approaches that reveal the essence of reputation in terms of different disciplines: marketing, advertising, management, etc. However, it is necessary to distinguish the terms corporate reputation and corporate image.

Currently, in the foreign scientific literature the concepts "reputation" and "image" are used either as identical or as antipodes, or as a different but interconnected. Two oppositional scientific schools are distinguished among many approaches: "analogue school", which considers corporate reputation as a synonym to corporate image, and "differentiating school", which distinguishes these concepts.

Creation of a message about the person in the formation of business image

There are three sources of image forming information: purposeful messages, unintended behavior and products of activity.

Purposeful messages include a lot of information that the person wants to send to people around. The structure of the message elements corresponds to the structure of those external factors of image that the person is able to influence. Information about the person is given (or hidden) through the physical data, clothes, speech, manners, voice, movements, look, habitat, etc.

There are several strategies of self-presentation by means of purposeful messages:

- presentation of superiority (it is important for heads, lawyers, and some other professions);

- presentation of attractiveness (it is important for all);

- presentation of the attitude towards the partner;

- presentation of current condition and reasons of behavior (officiality, respect, respectability, etc.).

During the formation of the messages by means of clothes and the habitat image makers advise to use the principle "a little bit better than the average level of people of the same circle". Excessive luxury, as well as excessive poverty, negatively affects the image.

Creating a message, it is necessary to take into account that the message, sent by the person, is not image yet. The message is embodied in image only after passing the stage of processing in the perception of the people around.

Unintended uncontrolled behavior is also an important source of image forming information. Up to 80% of behavioral acts are carried out automatically, subconsciously, inadvertently. In many respects we inadvertently send information about us and unconsciously form our image. Therefore during image making process we should pay attention to the automatic signals in behavior and as far as possible influence them in order to create the desired image.

Products of activity are the third and very important source of information. Pleasant appearance and good manners are not a guarantee of business success. Professionalism is determined by the results of the work. This source of information requires special professional training.

Creation of messages in image making process

There are many types of image messages: oral, written, visual and audio.

By the nature of receiving, image making information is divided into direct and indirect. Indirect information is obtained through third parties, direct is obtained through the contact with the organization.

Besides, image is partly formed without any information about the corporation, a priori, on the basis of popular opinion ("all officials -re bribe takers", "all judges are corrupt", etc.), or under the influence of deliberate falsification of interested people.

In its purposeful messages the organization provides information that could have a positive impact on the external image:

- about professional merits and qualification of employees of the organization;

- about the significant resources of the organization,

- about investing in scientific researches and new technological developments;

- about production capacity: the volume of production, product quality, timely delivery, etc.;

- about the growth, history, traditions, development and strengthening of the organization;

- about the social responsibility of the organization;

- about the financial strength and stability;

- about the company's clients (widely famous people who use the products the organization are strong argument for expanding the range of clients).

Since it is easier to form the image, relying on opinion leaders, it is reasonable to define them and often spread the message with their help.

Opinion leader is a person or group whose positions, attitudes, points of view are accepted by a majority of community members.

Declaration forms of corporate philosophy

Declaration forms of corporate philosophy is a specific method of the publication of the organization's philosophy.

The differences in declaration forms of organization's philosophy begins with the name.

In some cases, organizations represent their declaration as a
"Credo" (from Latin сredo - I believe). In other cases they represent their declaration as "the company's philosophy", "business principles", "the firm's mission." Such names, like "the value of the company", "company's policy", "strategic objectives" or "the company's strategy" and their numerous combinations (for example, "goals, values and principles of the company") are also used. The term «mission statements» is most commonly used in English-speaking countries.

Here are the most typical names of document-declarations: "The mission", "The mission and the strategy", "Mission, strategy and guidelines", "Our Mission and Values", "Our Dream", "Our credo," "The company's goal", " Our business principles "," Philosophy ".

The most frequently used word in the general name and in the structure of the document is "mission".

As for content, according to various analyzes, the declarations are a combination of five main blocks of corporate philosophy, or one of them.

Here are the blocks:

1. The mission of the organization.

2. The values of the organization.

3. The principles of the organization.

4. The objectives of the organization.

5. The strategy of the organization.

Determination of target audiences during the formation of the organization's external image

There is a necessity to answer some questions already at the projection stage of the organization's external image: among which audiences it is necessary to create a reputation and image, as well as what is the structure of the parties interested in the organization?

The projected images should be the result of interactions between the organization and interested people.

For the companies, seeking to implement commercial purposes in the market, interested parties are all those who have an an economic impact or an economic interest in the company (consumers, creators of opinion, supervisors, legislators, power structures, employees, investors, shareholders, suppliers, partners) .

For non-profit organizations they are those who strive for the realization of social and humanitarian purposes, who are interested in the services of the organization and who has economic and political influence in the desired area.

The prerequisite of the audiences' reasonable is their segmentation. Criteria for selection of target groups depend on the profile and conditions of the organization. The criteria can be a sphere of activity, occupation, age, place of residence of the group, etc. One of the most important criteria is the subjective grounds (expectations, norms, values, standards and approaches), based on which people judge about the company.

In order to talk to people in the same language, image makers should examine consumer culture, aesthetic codes and lifestyle of specific consumer groups.

Determination of the context of activity in the formation of business image

The context of activity changes depending on type of activity within the profession, position, degree of formality of the situation, and so on.

There are many activities within each profession. Thus, for public relations specialist it is participation in conferences and business meetings, exhibitions, conversations with local people, work with complaints, appearance in TV, developing and analysis of information in the workplace, speaking to media, journalistic work, etc. In all possible contexts some specifics of the self-presentation are required.

The image should also correspond to the position. For example, the expected qualities of female head are independence, leadership, courage, quick reaction, emotional stability, self-control. The main style is classic. There may be some elements of the extravagant. Feminine style is excluded. Bold color combinations, contrasts are applicable: black-white, chocolate-white, red-white. Pure blue, bright violet and red are also admissible. Pastel color palette is excluded. Fashionable details of clothes, make-up and hairstyle are used.

Working situation may be more or less formal (business acceptance, usual daily business communication and so on) and informal (production and household, informal and festive and so on). Image should be in harmony with the degree of formality of the situation. For example, a politician among the miners should not be dressed as among Ministers. At the public meetings it is pertinent to the president's spouse to dress a little better than representatives of middle-class, and at a reception in the Royal Palace - as the representative of the elite.

Development of components of the organization's external image

There are hundreds of elements of corporate attributes. In practice of image making several tens of them are used. Here are the main of them.

§ Declaration of the organization's philosophy

The declared corporate philosophy should be unity with the other components of the external image and correspond to the real behavior of the organization.

§ Name of the company and its abbreviation

Choosing a name is one of the first steps during the creation of the company. The name must meet a number of requirements. It should:

- code the characteristic of the organization and reflect its specialization;

- be short;

- easy to remember;

- attract the client;

- be a sonorous;

- be trustworthy.

It is also necessary to pay attention to the abbreviation. In some cases, the abbreviation becomes more famous than the full name of the company (for example, CNN - Cable News Network).

If necessary, the organization can change its name. Most often this occurs when integration or reorganizing.

§ Trademark (brand)

Brand is a designation serving to distinguish the goods of the firm from the goods of others and causing many associations related to the product and a company that can produce and/or sell a lot of different goods (Sony, Panasonic, etc.).

The trademark should correspond to the spirit of the time and take into account the particular customer culture. To do this, it is necessary to constantly carry out monitoring of audience tastes and update the brand, if necessary.

§ Logo and corporate font lettering

Logo is a specially designed original sign, symbolizing the company.

Corporate font lettering is a inscription of the full or abbreviated name of the company or a group of products of the firm with a specific font.

In some cases, when the brand is not associated with the product but with the firm, the same sign can function both as a logo/corporate font lettering, and a brand (for example, Sony).

The logo should be appropriate and consecutive in reflection of the organization's mission and its development prospects. It is allowed to change a logo over time, which is done by many world famous companies, such as Coca-Cola.

§ Motto and slogan

Motto of the organizations can express the idea of the firm's activity, an advertising campaign or a particular product. Corporate motto is a saying that reflects the company's credo.

Slogan is a kind of motto of the organization. It is more situational than the guiding motto of the organization. But in some cases, the slogan and the motto can be the same.

Examples of mottoes: "We make people happy" (Walt Disney Company); "The only difference between us and the neighboring shop is that we serve the customer" (Nordstrom department stores network in the USA);
"Clients speak - we listen» («PNCbank).

Examples of slogans: "Let's change life to the best!» («Philips»), «Quality you can trust to!» ( «Procter & Gamble»).

Many companies use a permanent slogan for decades. In Japanese corporations slogans are changed every year.

§ Pin, badge

Pin can be advertising, anniversary, corporate, club, the customer, with a name, with a inscription, etc. Badge is a special breastplate with the name and position of the employee of the organization.

§ Heroes and anti-heroes

The world-known examples of heroes of the companies have become Henry Ford for «Ford motors», Bill Gates for «Microsoft», Lee Iacocca for «Crysler».

§ Legends, stories

For example, according to the stories of Tiffany Company, once president Eisenhower, choosing a gift for his wife, asked "whether the President of the United States of America has the right to a discount?" to which the director of the company answered: "Abraham Lincoln didn't have that right".

§ Ranks and titles

Besides the formal titles, established by the state, the organization may use a number of internal ranks and titles, the selection of which is limited only by creative imagination of their developers. For example: "King of management", "Gold Customer", "Service Master" and others.

§ Corporate clothing and accessories

Among the elements of corporate clothing and accessories can be suit, jacket, shirt, hat, etc.

§ Company colors

Corporate color is one of the most memorable image components. Since 2002 corporate gamma of Russian "Aeroflot" has been blue-orange-silver. It has been developed taking into account opinions of the passengers and the staff.

§ Corporate events

For example, the day of the company, birthday of the branch, anniversary of the organizations, corporate New Year, the choice of the best professional, Family Day and others. Such kind of celebrations become attribute of both external and internal image: they contribute to the maintenance of a favorable internal image.

§ Packaging

Packaging as an element of image making became to be used from 1960-es. All the elements of the packaging - shape, proportions, size, material, logo, texture, transparency, graphics, fonts, etc. - are used to express and to reinforce the image of the product or the company.

The choice of packaging type depends on the type of goods, the environment of distribution, a way of storing the goods, a type of parceling, the importance of protecting against forgery and others.

§ Documentation

Organizations use three types of documents, each of which may be in a special corporate style and represent an image component:

- intra-corporate documents (regulations , manual of the department, registration certificate, job descriptions, licenses, certificates, etc.);

- commodity and accompanying documents (waybill, invoice, cash register receipt, sales receipt, power of attorney, etc.);

- technical documents (passport, drawings, diagrams, instructions).

§ Stationery

Corporate registered note sheets for heads, paper for notes and contracts, forms of letters and orders, paper folders, envelopes, postcards, notepads, calendars (pocket, table, wall), etc. belong to image components.

§ Souvenirs

Pens, lighters, key chains, balloon and other objects with company indication can be image souvenirs.

§ Newspaper of the organization

It can be daily or weekly; global, national and local; normal, wall and electronic.

§ Company standards

Company standards are models and samples of the employee's activity and behavior. Standards can be formulated according to one of three severity levels: ideal, norm and ban. They can regulate various elements and procedures of the organization's activity:

– appearance of employees;

– standards of service, ways and methods of consumer service;

– standards of employees' communication;

– order of employees' actions in crisis situations;

– accepted order of apologies to clients and partners;

- speech prohibitions;

- rules of communication by phone (answer not later than on the fourth call, say the name of the company, pronounce the words slowly, smiling into the phone, talk friendly and with a smile, etc.).

Maintaining of the standards requires to carry out regular trainings for the employees of the company.

Besides all above-mentioned components, any other elements of the organization's external attributes are used in image making: booklet of the organization, review book (names of visitors, reviews about the company), emblem, anthem, call signals, corporate melody ,stamps (with the name, logo, emblem, etc.), plastic cards, billboard, business cards, website, information center for visitors, stickers, signboards, price list, etc.

Well thought-out set of image components expresses corporate style. Corporate style is semantic, artistic and behavioral community of all components of the organization's life. Corporate style steadily reproduces the uniqueness of the organization's culture. Corporate style is built from corporate blocks, i.e. from sets of closely connected image components.