Change management: Structured approach to organisational change that involves significant internal communication activity (the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably).
CIPR: Chartered Institute of Public Relations – UK professional association for individual members. Established in 1948, it gained its Royal Charter in 2005.
Closed questions: These ask for limited, factual information and can usually be answered with a limited list of options, often ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Useful for data gathering and for confirming understanding.
Cognitive dissonance: Term used in psychology describing the uncomfortable tension from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Festinger, L (1970) Theory of Cognitive Dissonance, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press
Comment spam: Posting blog comments with the purpose of generating inbound links to a site.
Communication audit: Research tool that examines the communication process in detail, covering publics, channels, messages and identifying future communication needs and resources.
Communication manager: One of the two main roles identified by researches, the communication manager plans and manages public relations programmes. See communication technician.
Communication technician: The technician is not directly involved in making communication decisions, but is a skilled implementer of public relations tactics. See communication manager.
Community relations: Describes the communications between an organisation and the local community. Often seen as part of CSR and sometimes of internal communication, since employees are usually part of the local community. US scholars Dean Kruckeberg and Kenneth Starck have long argued for public relations to be seen as a community-building activity.
Confidentiality: Part of the professional codes of conduct, but the obligation to protect client or company confidential information can sometimes conflict with a desire for transparency and an obligation to tell the truth.
Conflicts of interest: Public relations consultants need sectoral expertise to win clients, but may find their growth constrained by their inability to serve more than one client in a sector.
Consultancy: Public relations work is usually carried out in-house or by an external consultancy. Consultancies can range from sole practitioners to large international networks servicing global clients. Consultancies are sometimes used in support of in-house teams, adding specialist expertise or additional resource, and providing fresh ideas and a more objective perspective.
Consumer public relations: Closely related to marketing communications, this is where public relations contributes to marketing objectives (and often reports to a marketing manager).
Content analysis: A quantitative research method for determining the content of media coverage (whether positive, neutral or negative).
Copyright: Legal rights regulating the use of creative works. Publications, artwork and photographs are subject to copyright law (even when shared on the internet).
Consultancy: A professional services firm that, like a law firm, usually provides advice in return for a fee. Often described as agencies, these (like advertising agencies or estate agencies) have historically been funded by an agency commission.
Content marketing: The promotion of a product, service, organisation or idea through published information (content) that people want to seek out and share.
Copywriting: The process of writing words (copy) to promote a business, person, opinion or idea. Sometimes known as content (eg content marketing).
Corporate culture: The attitudes, beliefs, experiences and values of an organisation, sometimes known as ‘the way we do things round here’ (Hofstede 2001). Hofstede, G (2001) Culture’s Consequences, 2nd ed, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Corporate identity: Originally the visual representation of an organisation, but now used to describe the symbolism, communication and behaviour of an organisation – and so closely related to corporate reputation.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR): Described as the role an organisation has in society. Part of the non-performance measures by which organisations are judged (by their social and environmental impact as well as their financial results). Some prefer to use the terms sustainability or corporate responsibility.
Creativity: Public relations work seeks to raise awareness and change attitudes and behaviour, often with limited budgets. Creativity is often the way to achieve maximum outcomes for minimal inputs.
Crisis management: An increasingly important public relations function, related to issues management. Crisis management is how an organisation responds to a crisis (‘the perception of an unpredictable event that threatens important expectancies of stakeholders and can seriously impact an organisation’s performance and generate negative outcomes’ Coombs 2014).
Critical path analysis: Tool used in project management for determining which aspects of a project involve the greatest amount of time. See Gantt chart.