Communication Excellence, Rebranding Europe, Myths of PR, The World Made Meme

10 years of insights 

Communication Excellence: How to Develop, Manage and Lead Exceptional Communication, by Ralph Tench, Dejan Verčič, Ansgar Zerfass, Ángeles Moreno and Piet Verhoeven (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) 

The largest transnational study on strategic communication worldwide, the European Communication Monitor has been conducted annually since 2007, with a record number of 3,387 participating communication professionals from 50 countries in the 2017 edition. Communication Excellence explores the implications of the first 10 years of the Monitor and combines them with informative case studies and interviews with chief communication officers from top European companies and organisations – including KPMG, Banco Santander, Porsche and more.

The content is arranged along three levels – Connected Organisations, Influential Departments and Ambitious Professionals – and nine “commandments of excellent communications” drive home the key messages.

The book presents a culmination of research and best practice models, covering strategic communication, the impact on reputation, crisis, mediatisation, organisational culture, new digital, social and mobile media as well as the development of professionalisation. Providing guidance in the difference between normal and excellent communication departments, Communication Excellence shows how communication an effectively influence and support the organisation and fit within the business strategy of today’s global and changing markets. 

A message for Europe? 

Rebranding Europe: Fundamentals for Leadership Communications, by Stavros Papagianneas (ASP, March 2017) 

Rebranding Europe explores why EU communication fails and how to make it succeed. It examines the future of communication in Europe, full of complex issues such as the creation of a European public sphere, the European identity crisis, multilingualism, the lessons learned from the Brexit campaigns, challenging myths and populism, communicating Europe, grassroots communication and how to support quality journalism. This book illustrates how Europe can be rebranded by providing key recommendations on how to convey the added value of the EU in the daily lives of its citizens. It gives original and logical answers to communication questions.

The author has interviewed a number of key stakeholders in European communications as well as important opinion leaders. Among them are Jane Morrice, former Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee, responsible for communications and former BBC correspondent; Androulla Vassiliou, former EU Commissioner of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth; and Rick Ridder, former U.S. presidential campaign manager for Howard Dean and senior consultant to presidential campaigns including those of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Gary Hart. Their insider accounts provide valuable perspectives on rebranding Europe at the most critical moment of its existence. 

Myth busting 

Myths of PR: All Publicity is Good Publicity and Other Popular Misconceptions, by Rich Leigh (Kogan Page, April 2017) 

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between fads and tried-and-tested public relations practice. Myths of PR uses popular myths about the theory and practice of public relations as a vehicle for helping startup owners, brand marketers, communications practitioners and students sort the what from the chaff. It explodes widespread misconceptions about public relations and sheds light onto why these myths have endured in spite of ample evidence to the contrary. From the media portrayal of public relations as an Absolutely Fabulous party, to more potentially damaging misconceptions such as the old chestnut “all publicity is good publicity”, Myths of PR is an engaging read that offers valid insights into the reality of public relations practice. 

Meme, myself and I 

The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media, by Ryan M Milner (MIT Press, October 2016) 

Internet memes – recurring snippets that become widely-shared jokes or references – are by now a familiar trop of online life. From slow hand claps to cats playing pianos, most of us can bring to mind a handful of these oft-repeated images. But what is the culminate effect of memes? In The World Made Meme, Ryan Milner argues that memes, far from being an inside joke, are a central part of the public conversation. Whenever a pop cultural or political moment generates a network of memes, it creates participation by reappropriation, combining old ideas with new and thereby generating a whole new discourse.

The five basic logics that structure them memes are outlined by Milner as: multimodality, reappropriation, resonance, collectivism, and spread. He examines how memes can both empower and exclude, arguing that memes allow disenfranchised to have a stake in debates that otherwise would exclude them, using clever adaptations of texts to get beyond traditional gatekeepers. This has positive and negative repercussions, as Milner shows in this fascinating book.