1. WRITE A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE ORGANISATION AND ITS ORIGINS, EXPLAINING THE REASONS WHY YOU FEEL THIS ORGANISATION NEEDS TO IMPROVE ITS IMAGE
In 1857 the game was devised by founders, Tom Wills, his cousin H. Harrison, W. Hammersley and J. Thompson. The Melbourne Football Club was formed and the first recorded match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School took place. The game quickly flourished and become popular among many. In 1866 a restructured set of rules were put into action and competition started. The Victorian Football League was established in 1896 and the following year the League's first games were played among the foundation clubs. The people of Melbourne are renowned for their football fever, and even so, their love of AFL can go beyond sanity. Of course, with any sport, comes many rules, regulations and policies. And while you have the odd few that decide to break the codes and cause a bit of an uproar, the AFL's history has never struck one as improper. It is a loved sport around the entire nation, bringing communities, religions and nationalities together. Having 71 indigenous players enlisted in the 2015 season, one would think that racism is not present; however, this 2015 season has been an embarrassing one for the AFL's reputation, with racism being present and the organisation being slammed for poor leadership. The AFL needs to improve their image in order to maintain their fans (who ultimately are their main source of income), their popularity and reputation. If not acted on quickly, the AFL sales and business objectives may be compromised.
2. IDENTIFY AT LEAST TWO OF THE PUBLICS OF THE AFL
Publics are groups that the organisation interacts with and that have a vested interest in, or impact on, the organisation's ability to achieve its objectives. The media are an important part of the AFL, and are therefore a very important public. They interact for TV coverage, radio coverage and newspaper articles, along with things for publicity and advertising. The media are important for the AFL as they are the ones that help portray the company's image. The AFL's media is now the largest sports platform in the country. The other main public for the AFL is its consumers. Consumers of the AFL mainly include fans, as this is the AFL's, as an organisation, largest source of income. The consumers obviously have a significant impact on the organisation as if the consumers became unhappy, business objectives would be harder to achieve.
3. EXPLAIN THE CURRENT IMAGE OF THE AFL
The AFL; the ‘ugly game of enlightened racism', the game that ‘fail[s] to show strong leadership', a game that is now looked at as an ‘embarrassment' to the nation. The image of a business refers to how a business is perceived by the world at large, especially consumers. This negative image is how only some of the world sees the AFL however, others still see it as the fun, Australian way, sporting phenomenon that is has always been seen as. Parts of the AFL's overall image have not changed; such as the name, logo or colour scheme. However, behaviour of employees and the overall appearance of the business may have been compromised.
4. IDENTIFY A PUBLIC RELATIONS CRISIS THAT THE ORGANISATION HAS FACED. WAS IT PLANNED OR UNPLANNED? HOW DID THE ORGANISATION RESPOND? EVALUATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE REPSONSE.
The AFL was slammed for failing to stand up and protect Adam Goodes in response to the racist booing that was dished out to him by spectators for almost the entirety of the 2015 season. This became a serious PR crisis for the AFL as (of course) the media got involved along with many clubs, other sportsman's and of course the consumers. After the media began to open fire at the AFL, exploiting it as a game that ‘racism is in the stitching of', many fans became upset and the overall image became that of one that was broken. It was not a planned situation as it turned negative light towards the business. It was not a crisis that was anticipated and may undesirable consequences occurred, despite the organisations efforts. AFL chief executive, Gillon McLachlan responded to the crisis in a statement on behalf of the AFL Commission: "Racism has no place in our game... I urge our supporters to understand the toll this is having, the message it is sending, and that it does not reflect well on our game." As this response didn't particularly stop the boing, their response seems to be ineffective, as the issue was not immediately fixed nor is completely resolved now.
5. EXPLAIN THE BENEFITS OF IMPROVING THIS COMPANIES IMAGE
If the AFL's image was improved earlier rather than later, it would significantly benefit the organisation. This is due to the possible increase level of screening time by viewers, the reduced negative media, and the possible increased attendance at games. To rebuild their image the organisation needs to act in fast and succinct manner, and should definitely aim to have their image back to the way it was before the crisis, or in a better case, improved before the start of the 2016 AFL season. By improving their overall image, their sales may increase and their business objectives should be easier to achieve while maximising profits and minimising expenses.
6. GIVE DETAILS OF HOW YOU WOULD IMPORVE THE IMAGE IN THE FORMAT OF A PLANNED PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY.
A crisis communication plan outlines the policies and procedures to follow when handling unfavourable publicity and news personnel when a crisis occurs. The AFL need to devise a planned public relations strategy in order to help them achieve their positive image. The AFL need to aim to bring the crisis under control and limit the damage done to their respected image, as well as deal with the intense media scrutiny. There are many 5 stages that make up a public relations strategy. Firstly, the AFL will need to establish their public relations objectives. Within this, they need to be specific and clearly define the objective so that all publics will know exactly what is trying to be accomplished; is needs to be ensured that the objectives progress is able to be measured somewhat easily. It is incredibly important that the AFL's objectives are attainable, and are able to be met within a reasonable amount of time. It is also incredibly crucial for the AFL, be honest with themselves when setting objectives. While wanting to be aggressive, the organisation also needs to be realistic about what is able to be achieved in the time frame they have. It is also then important that the objectives are time bound and is connected to a specific date or time. The more specific this deadline is, the more beneficial it is for the business. Stage 2 of the plan consists of identifying the intended publics. The public relations campaign will always target the publics whom the public relations strategies are directed at. For the AFL, these publics would be the consumers, the media and involved people and clubs. The next stage will be developing specific public relations strategies and tactics. There is a lot of media sources that the AFL could choose to select. Media are the assorted public relations communication strategies available to convey the image to the selected publics. It's important for the AFL to select the appropriate media for their chosen publics. The AFL may use press conferences, interviews and articles. It is then time to implement the public relations campaign. This is considered the ‘fun stage' in public relations. However, this stage requires the utmost skill and care. The AFL should devise an action plan to ensure that the implementation runs as smoothly as possible. Once the plan is devised, which would usually include areas of responsibility, media contact details and dates of events planned; the plan should be distributed to all relevant public relations committee members, the marketing manager, business group managers, executive managers and all staff. This is the stage in which most public relation strategies fail. Hence, why it is imperative to consider it all with care. In the final stage, the AFL must evaluate the results and the effectiveness of the public relation strategy. The success is measured in terms of its original objectives, before, during and after implementation. A successful public relations campaign for the AFL would result in an improved public image and overall improved view of the organisation.
7. IDENTIFY AND JUSTIFY 3 PERFORMANCE INDICATORS THAT COULD BE USED TO EVALUATE THE MANAGEMENT AND EFFECTIVENSS OF YOUR PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY.
Performance indicators measure the degree of achievement of a specific business objective; they are put into 2 segments, financial and non-financial. A customer satisfaction survey would be a great way for the AFL to assess and measure the level of their consumer's satisfaction. This is suitable and appropriate as it can give the organisation a reasonable outline as to how the consumers are feeling about the business at a certain point of time. A change in sales can be a main indicator of success, as a change in consumer behaviour can indicate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a public relations strategy. And finally, possibly the most important indicator for the AFL, would be their change in public image. Evidence of a changed public image of the AFL may be an increase in sales, viewing time or an increase in positive feedback.
8. BIBLOIOGRAPHY – CITED
Heraldsun.com.au, (2015). AFL chairman slams Goodes boos. [online] Available at: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/adam-goodes-racism-debate-afl-under-fire-for-failing-to-show-strong-leadership/story-fni5f22o-1227467898508?sv=af9c6e09c9c4160b986ed45e6a9e2c62 [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
mUmBRELLA, (2015). How AFL Media became Australia's biggest sports platform - mUmBRELLA. [online] Available at: http://mumbrella.com.au/how-afl-media-became-australias-biggest-sports-platform-285062 [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
afl.com.au, (2015). Annual report: AFL's $446m revenue record - AFL.com.au. [online] Available at: http://www.afl.com.au/news/2014-03-04/afls-446m-record [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
Racism, A. and owl, D. (2013). AFL: the ugly game of enlightened racism. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/afl-the-ugly-game-of-enlightened-racism-20130416-2hy9b.html [Accessed 20 Oct. 2015].
Richardson, M, Smithies, G and Chapman, S 2015, Key concepts in VCE Business Management Units 1 and 2 3E, John Wiley and Sons Australia, Ltd, Milton QLD
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