Public relations: as perceived and practiced by commercial banks

The increasing competition in the business world has forced firms to become innovative as well as effective in their promotion activities. PR is a promotion tool that has gained increasing importance in recent times, since it is perceived as both cost effective and highly credible. PR is a set of communications techniques which are designed to create and maintain favourable relations between an organization and its publics.

This study aims to provide a better understanding of how banks utilize PR in communicating with their publics. The role of corporate reputation and trust development is also examined within this study. To this end, case studies were conducted of two large Swedish banks, SEB and Handelsbanken. The cases explain the roles, objectives, functions and tools of PR at the banks.

Findings show that banks do not define their communication activities as PR, but still utilize it to a high degree. While objectives are different in the banks, one common priority is the building and maintaining of relationships with the publics. Banks utilize many different tools to reach PR objectives; many of these are used at the local branch level. Similarly, banks consider corporate reputation and trust as vital for the organization’s capability to sell financial services, and therefore manage this with high priority.

Author: Sandin, David; Simolin, Tobias

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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