The PR BlogPublic RelationsCorporate CommunicationsThe Venn Diagram of Corporate Awareness

The Venn Diagram of Corporate Awareness

Defining the areas of interdisciplinary cooperation.

Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Instagram)

This is the Venn diagram of corporate awareness.

Getting public relations, marketing, and branding to work together in an organisation can sometimes be challenging.

To clarify boundaries and overlaps, I’ve created a basic model around the shared goal of establishing and maintaining awareness.

Here goes:

Corporate Awareness

The Venn Diagram of Corporate Awareness

Public relations, marketing, and branding have one common goal: all three functions are united in establishing and maintaining corporate awareness.

The Venn diagram emphasises the importance of internal and alignment cooperation when it comes to:

  • Customer interest (public relations + marketing)
  • Perception management (public relations + branding)
  • Value proposition (marketing + branding)

Read also: The Venn Diagram of Corporate Awareness

“By complying with good corporate governance practice, awareness can be raised and preventive measures can be taken in addressing society’s issues through proper society disclosure.”
Source: International Journal of Business and Society

Why is branding excluded from customer interest? As a strategic discipline, branding shouldn’t be tasked with the practicalities of generating customer interest via paid, earned, shared and owned media channels.

Why is marketing excluded from perception management? Marketing promotes products and services in the marketplace, so there’s typically a tonality mismatch for sensitive reputational challenges.

Why is public relations excluded from value proposition? Public relations manage relationships with stakeholders, publics, and influencers, not promoting products or services in the marketplace.

Thank you for reading this article. Please support my blog by sharing it with other PR- and communication professionals. For questions or PR support, contact me via [email protected].

Additional Resources

Perception Management

No one is basing their attitudes and behaviours on reality; we’re basing them on our perceptions of reality.

Walter Lippmann (1889–1974) proposed that our perceptions of reality differ from the actual reality. The reality is too vast and too complex for anyone to process. 1Lippmann, Walter. 1960. Public Opinion (1922). New York: Macmillan.

Those who can manage the perceptions of publics can control their attitudes and behaviours.

The research on perception management is focused on how organisations can create a desired reputation:

“The OPM [Organizational Perception Management] field focuses on the range of activities that help organisations establish and/or maintain a desired reputation (Staw et al., 1983). More specifically, OPM research has primarily focused on two interrelated factors: (1) the timing and goals of perception management activities and (2) specific perception management tactics (Elsbach, 2006).”
Source: Organizational Perception Management 2Hargis, M. & Watt, John. (2010). Organizational perception management: A framework to overcome crisis events. Organization Development Journal. 28. 73-87.

Today, our perceptions are heavily influenced by news media and influencers, algorithms, and social graphs. Therefore, perception management is more important than ever before.

“We are all captives of the picture in our head—our belief that the world we have experienced is the world that really exists.”
— Walter Lippmann

The Four Models of PR

James Grunig - Excellence Study - Doctor Spin - The PR Blog
Professor James E. Grunig.

In the Excellence study, Grunig and Hunt (1984) developed the most widely cited PR model in academic circles. It’s not one, but rather four models in sequence:

Model 1: Press Agent/Publicity—The organisation uses media manipulation to shape the narrative deceptively.

Model 2: Public Information Model—The organisation is practising one-way communication to disseminate information with little or no feedback from recipients.

Model 3: Two-Way Asymmetrical Model—The organisation engages in two-way communication to persuade and establish power structures.

Model 4: Two-Way Symmetrical Model—The organisation engages in two-way communication to find common ground and mutual benefits.

The researchers found that Model 4 is the best way to practice public relations.

Read also: 3 PR Approaches: Excellence, Rhetorical, and Critical

1 Lippmann, Walter. 1960. Public Opinion (1922). New York: Macmillan.
2 Hargis, M. & Watt, John. (2010). Organizational perception management: A framework to overcome crisis events. Organization Development Journal. 28. 73-87.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.


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