The major reason as to why Chinese government hired a Western public relations firm to work on the 2008 Beijing Olympics was to repair their image before the Olympics. Several agencies around the world were invited to discuss a contract with Chinese officials about the pre-games PR strategies, media training, and market research on Western perceptions of China. This was done to see what other people think of them and how the Chinese officials can portray a story to the media right before the 2008 Beijing Olympics (Pichard & Mcgregor, 2008).
Ofcorse country image plays an important role in international public relations and advertising which ultimately helps in influencing international consumers’ purchasing powers and their attitude towards country’s brands and goods. All this time China was concerned solely about the country’s destination image which was elevated for holding the Olympics. According to Stephanie Clifford (2008) it was a challenge for China’s centralized political system to control the world stage and the messages given to the global media and other social networking cites.
Throughout, Chinese government clearly examined that western companies were better at handling media communications globally. Basically, Chinese government wanted this biggest sporting event to be taken in a positive way and also distracting the people from political issues that China was facing at the time. Therefore, the wise decisions made by the Chinese government for hiring the western public relations were for two important facts: one was to rebuild the negative image into a constructive positive one and second reason was to get the recognition globally of the country itself.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics was successful because the western PR handled the media and the sponsorships in the best possible way under the permissions of the Chinese government. Assess the reasons why protesters and activists target events such as the Olympics. The biggest reason as to why the protesters and activists target such events is because they are global events; these events are huge in communications, popularity and are full of political news. Protestors and activists see the pcoming opportunities in these mega events to raise the hidden issues and distract groups of people from that one big event. In other words, these protestors are attention seekers and political viewers (Protesters will target Olympics, 2008). Another motive protesters and activists have when they target events such as the Olympics is easy publicity. Not to forget, it’s a massive event, people from all over the world attend such an extravaganza and so it’s convenient to spread messages and communicate with all at the same time. These protesters do their homework before they take any kind of action.
They know these events will cater bigger audience and the more information is transmitted through these events, the more awareness is around for others to support them in their cause and soon the protesters realize they have the ultimate power. The country that hosts these global events gets all the publicity which is not in anyone’s control. The media, the social sites, the blogs, the whole internet universe gets out of control and in turn gives room for activists to engage in and rule the current issues (Keegan & Green, 2011).
The protesters always look for some kind of medium where they share their issues on a huge platform targeting a larger audience. Considering these global events, there is massive advertising that goes into action and through this media; protesters can have numerous opportunities to do a lot more with communicating their issues to the global world. Weather the media is the TV broadcast, or radio buzz or reading journals; the goal is to get the point across. These intentions are to initiated to pressurize the government for a change.
Evaluate whether the opportunity to reach a global audience by advertising during the Olympics offsets the potential for bad publicity. The opportunity to reach global audience through advertising can go both ways on these global events like Olympics. Media will create the buzz; it can be for or against the country to get the message across. Yes, it can offset the potential for bad publicity if the issues thrown in the advertisements and are addressed quickly.
At this point, to avoid all the future crisis or issues, the government should pre-plan and be prepared to take actions and advised the audience wisely and handle the call right there and then (Handling bad publicity, 2009). This way the communication is done through the worldwide media reflecting positive publicity. This shows how actively the country responds and is serious about the issues that were raised. Bad publicity in turn can give the government an opportunity to explain the situation a little better and the promises of making changes.
People would rather listen to the government than the media (Handling bad publicity, 2009). Moreover, this is the reason why PR is hired to address any issue that comes across while advertising and other marketing takes place. Putting the bad publicity on a side, the advertising in Olympics opened the doors for China to build strong market relationships with the multi-national companies. These companies also gained a lot of recognition globally through this one huge event. In any kind of crisis, communication is the key when it comes to managing.
What the government can do to offset bad publicity is to keep the media and the other officials in control as to what information needs to go out and what reasoning can be given to support the arguments. Also, the PR is there to take actions and talk to the press and others to explain the state of affairs and how they are taking care of it (Handling bad publicity, 2009). Analyze how well of a job the companies identified in this case did in anticipating and responding to the protests. The U. S. ased Weber Shandwick Worldwide and the firm Bell Pottinger firm from UK both provided public relations assistance and handled the Olympic Committee on China’s behalf (Holmes, 2002). What those companies did was outstanding. They turned the whole situation in a positive manner by creating a central message for all the foreign country people that China will soon be improving their human rights condition. Usually, what convinces the public are the changes that they see taking place but nothing was done immediately.
So the whole idea of the Chinese government sending a message across that every issue will be taken care of was not effective at first. People were having doubts if the government was lying or it is serious about taking actions. Beijing was very much prepared ahead of time to deal with the protesters. There were activists from foreign countries as well that were targeting at the Olympics. Soon after that when Beijing was trying to welcome the global outsiders/visitors, the Chinese government knew they had to be prepared for nannounced/embarrassing protests that will be taking place anytime soon. Even Hill and Knowlton firm recommended China to hold regular Olympics-related press conferences and media trips.
There were so many other groups that started pressurizing Beijing and they started sending letters to other supporters asking them to e-mail the 2008 Olympics ticket-sales office a message stating, “I cannot, in good conscience, attend the Beijing Olympics unless your government uses its influence to improve the political situation in Burma. They were also forced to write every six hours to be on a constant mode. They had a theory that if senders will be persistent about writing every few hours, someone will take an action about the whole situation (Lieu, 2007). During all this, China learned how to tackle the media, the foreigners and the local activists and the Protesters in worst situations. The 2008 Beijing Olympics was a complete success and China did take a bunch of actions to improve the nation’s overall image.
Courtney from Study Moose
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