Nike, a US-based Fortune 500 company, is a sportswear, equipments and accoutrements maker and is considered as one of the celebrated trade names that are being recognised world-over. The stigmatization of Nike has been done so absolutely that it ‘s whoosh is being recognised by people in an blink of an eye, without the demand to spell the name of the trade name. Further, the motto, ‘Just do it ‘ has besides become built-in to the success of the trade name ‘s popularity, supplying motive and inspiration to sportspeople every bit good as the general consumers.
The company has an internal public relations/communications function that manages the company ‘s image and trade name in the market. The intent of public dealingss map is to assist the company trade with the populace every bit good as manage its relationship with the consumers, media and other stakeholders. Public dealingss manage the image of a company in the heads of the people, particularly the mark audience.
The pattern besides involves making a trade name value of the company through which the functionaries of the company could pass on efficaciously with the consumers and assist the consumers identify with the values of the company ( Grunig 2000 ) . Nike uses its public dealingss map for constructing resonance with clients, employees, investors and even general populace. The pattern requires advisers to critically analyze the present status of the company in footings of its image and repute in the market and develop declarations in instance of any issues. Public dealingss are particularly helpful in reacting to negative promotion or managing crisis state of affairs and keeping societal order ( Edwards 2008 ) .
Over the old ages Nike has faced several issues, particularly related to its un-ethical intervention of workers in its fabricating units in Asia. Although, Nike has taken several stairss to better its image among its mark audience, the issue is still making jobs for the company and hence, it is imperative for Nike to pull off its repute in the market and its relationships with its cardinal stakeholders in the following 12 months through proper communicating channels and strategic media use.
Issues impacting the administration
Nike has been confronting negative imperativeness due to several issues such as un-ethical intervention of workers in its mills, utilizing subcontractors without proper certificates, promoting child labor and sweatshops, contentions related to its advertisement runs utilizing glamor and sportsperson. Due to the negative imperativeness the company received sing the sweatshops allegations ; Nike lost most of its sure consumers, particularly its immature university pupils. Further, its repute was dented in the market and created a bad image for the company. Media studies besides indicate that consumers were non excessively happy with the inordinate usage sportspersons in their advertizements. They felt that the athleticss people were no longer sharing about their existent experiences, alternatively were paid by Nike to advertise their merchandises. Such bad imperativeness decidedly dents the image and repute of the company, which needs to be managed efficaciously through proper PR and communicating channels.
The cardinal stakeholders who are or would acquire wedged due to these contentions include the workers, consumers every bit good as the stockholders of the company. These stakeholders may free their religion in the company and its repute, with the workers and consumers abandoning the company to travel to better trade names, while the stockholders may decline to put into the stocks of the company. Therefore, it would take to non merely damage to its repute, but besides denting the bottomline of the company every bit good ( Bowie and Vaaler 1999 ) .
It is hence, imperative for the company to reconsider its policies related to the above mentioned issues by using effectual public dealingss schemes and helping the company to decide these issues in a satisfactory mode, while heightening its repute in the market. Although, all the issues discussed are of import, at present, the company should concentrate on the issue of sweatshops as it is critical to turn to this issue for the success of the company in the coming 12 months.
In the modern-day concern universe it has become imperative for companies to at least outsource a portion or its concern procedures to other parts of the universe to salvage costs and supply merchandises at competitory monetary values. Nike is besides non an exclusion has many fabricating units all over the universe, and particularly in Asia. Nike in fact had become one of the major multi-national companies that was scrutinised for outsourcing work to lesser developed states and for working the labor in these states by supplying them lower rewards and distressing on the job conditions, taking advantage of the weak or non-existent employment rights in these states ( Hill 2009 ) .
Nike has been outsourcing work to fabricating units in South Korea and Taiwan, which did non hold rigorous Torahs sing labor rewards and conditions. Post the authoritiess in these states coming out with rigorous Torahs, Nike decided to set up its units in states such as Vietnam, China and Indonesia, where the authorities bans brotherhoods and hence, giving strategic advantage to Nike ( Hill 2009 ) .
Nike received negative imperativeness due to its sweatshops, un-ethical intervention of labors and promoting child labor in these states over the last one twelvemonth good. Most of the attendings towards this issue were created by several civil rights administrations in the US such as Global Exchange, Education for Justice and Students Against Sweatshop Labor ( Hill 2009 ) . Together with the force per unit area from these administrations and turning public examination, the workers and indigen of these states besides protested against the malpractices.
This instance survey of Nike focal points on the maltreatment of the employees by the company in its Asiatic mills, underscoring on the misdemeanor of local labor Torahs and child labour issues. Nike was accused of non paying minimal rewards and appropriate on the job conditions to its employees. Further, the company besides did non take considerable stairss to guarantee the safety of the employees or to supply them with proper wellness benefits. Additionally, Nike did non turn to the issue of child labor in its Asiatic mills. Although, Nike stressed on project steps for bettering the on the job conditions of its employees, the efforts merely resulted in failure ( Florini 2003 ; McCabe 2000 ) .
The narrative about the maltreatment of the workers in Asiatic mills was foremost shown by CBS News on October 17, 1996. The narrative showed the supervisors paying less than the minimal rewards and mistreating adult females sexually in the fabrication workss of Nike in Vietnam ( Boje 1998 ) . It was besides found that the workers were being physically assaulted by the supervisors. The squad leaders were given a monthly wage of $ 45, while the impermanent workers were merely given about 20 cents for an hr ‘s work. CBS obtained a labour contract transcript and showcased it on the show to turn out their claims ( Kahle et al. 2000 ) .
CBS nevertheless, was non the lone media channel to describe such abnormalities in Nike ‘s Asiatic mills. Reuters besides reported about a Nike mill in Asia forcibly asked 56 adult females to work in the mill which resulted in 12 of them conking and being admitted in the infirmary ( Boje 1999 ) .
Due to the uninterrupted coverage of such intelligence some Vietnamese Americans decided to reach several journalists and labour groups in Vietnam, which resulted in the formation of the Vietnam Labor Watch ( VLW ) , a group that focused on analyzing the existent on the job conditions of the people employed in Vietnam ‘s mills. Further, the group besides monitored the labour patterns of Nike on a regular footing.
The group even visited assorted mills of Nike in Vietnam to run into with the workers, squad leaders, labour brotherhood members and even attorneies to understand the state of affairs in the state. The group published a study in 1997 that charged Nike of conflicting assorted labour Torahs in the state. The study stated that Nike non merely failed to pay minimal legal pay but besides did non supply good working conditions and safety steps in the mills. Nike besides did non turn to the issues of sexual torment and child labor in many of its mills. The study besides stated that the company had given a really different history of its labor patterns in Vietnam to its consumers in the US ( Kahle et al. 2000 ) .
Post the release of the study, the company faced a series of such intelligence in outstanding dailies and diaries of the US, which included the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the USA Today. Although, the company enjoyed a good repute in the US, such negative intelligence dented the image of Nike well. However, Nike had ever denied any engagement in the maltreatment of workers in its mills in Asia ( Florini 2003 ) .
PR approaches to the issue
As the company is confronting changeless influx of intelligence against its unjust labour patterns, the PR map should concentrate on keeping that the Nike ‘s labour policies were non at defect and deny these studies by supplying back uping facts and figures, together with quotation marks and interviews from the workers employed in these mills. In order to salve its repute among its biggest mark audience, college and school pupils, the PR map demands to carry on assorted seminars in educational institutes and universities in the US to convert pupils about the company ‘s just intervention of its employees in Asia ( Vitell & A ; Muncy 1992 ) .
Further, the company may besides utilize media propaganda in the states affected to advance its side of the narrative every bit good. Such a move would supply an reliable history of the state of affairs as the journalists in the wedged states would be able to supply a more realistic image by sing the mills themselves instead than journalists who were describing from the US and based their narrative on the study of other media narratives. The PR map may besides hit picture Tourss of the mills and upload them online so that the general populace is made cognizant of the existent state of affairs and non being influenced by the media studies ( Argenti & A ; Forman 2002 ) .
Further, due to its necessity to cover with providers and sellers, Nike besides become responsible for any corporate action undertaken by these sellers every bit good. When the issues of maltreatment of the employees in Vietnam were reported in the media, the trade brotherhood, human rights militants along with the citizen ‘s groups put force per unit area to the company to take duty of the workers who were hired by its contractors as good. Thereafter, Nike decided to alter its codification of behavior sing labour policies and incorporated assorted clauses that would guarantee the safety, security and public assistance of such employees every bit good.
It besides stated that the company non merely follows the codification of behavior as a ordinance pattern to battle abnormalities in labour policies. For case, the company stated that in instance of any breach in child labour Torahs, the company initiates assorted other policies every bit good to battle the state of affairs. Nike in fact revamped its codification of behavior to increase the minimal age required to work in its mill from 14 old ages to 18 old ages, which is considered to be rather high by the criterions of ILO as good ( Florini 2003 ) . However, this did non acquire reflected decently in the media or with the consumers. The PR map hence, should foreground the past determinations taken by the company and the impact it had in bettering the conditions of the workers in the mill.
Some of the facts that the PR map should decidedly convey Forth through the media include the undermentioned. The company had hired auditing houses to supervise the state of affairs and supply impersonal studies on any patterns of unjust wage, child labor and sexual maltreatment. This helped in heightening its image and supplying a true image of its employee policies in the Asiatic states. Therefore, the company accepted its duty to forestall doing any harm to the employees and expression after the public assistance of its people.
With increasing force per unit area from assorted groups and the media, Nike decided to escalate its activities related to battling moralss issues during the mid 1990s. For case, in order to supply proper working conditions to the workers, the company re-evaluated its codification of behavior and controlled the working hours every bit good. Further, the company undertook assorted developing to learn cultural sensitiveness to its supervisors and contractors, along with bettering and supervising the on the job conditions in the mills. Nike besides started with a plan focussing on internal conformity, wherein the working of the supervisors was monitored closely ( Florini 2003 ) .
Although, Nike had adopted assorted steps to counter the allegations against them sing unjust employee policies in Vietnam mills, experts believe that these steps were undertaken merely after the force per unit area from the trade brotherhood, media, human rights administrations and other bureaus mounted on the company. This negative image besides needs to be addressed through proper PR execution and alternatively the company should be projected as one with strong concern moralss and hence, undertook such stairss instead than set abouting them under force per unit area from assorted groups.
Timetable for the PR programme
Controling negative intelligence
Strategic placement of impersonal or positive intelligence in the media
Showcasing the labour policies of Nike by supplying back uping facts and figures
Salvaging repute among college and school pupils
Conducting seminars in educational institutes and universities
Filing positive narratives from the wedged states
Foregrounding the past determinations taken by Nike and the impact of the determinations on bettering the on the job conditions
Making a positive image of the trade name by projecting it as a company with strong concern moralss
In order to measure whether the PR programme has been successful or non, after a month of its execution, the company should reexamine the media coverages and understand whether Nike is still having negative imperativeness or non. It may set about a dipstick analysis to understand the media mindshare sing positive, negative and impersonal narratives. Further, articles filled from the wedged states should be analysed individually to understand whether it created any positive image for Nike or non. Besides, the company should decidedly analyze the post-sales figures of its merchandises before and after the launch of the PR programme to understand whether the programme has helped in lending towards the bottomline of the company or non.
Nike ‘s communicating scheme hence should concentrate on underscoring the fact that the company has forbid child labors in its mills and supply equal rewards and working conditions to its employees throughout the universe. It may besides establish an advertisement run proclaiming that it denounces malpractices such as child labor and un-ethical intervention of workers and have made necessary alterations in its policies. Further, the company may make up one’s mind to portion portion of its net incomes in the towns where the mills are located use the financess to open schools or supply wellness installations to the workers and their household. This besides should be advertised in the media through strategic article placement, seminars and meetings with the civil rights groups and pupils groups and publicizing these enterprises as a portion of the company ‘s corporate societal duty ( CSR ) .
Nike may besides see advertising about the subcontractors who were dropped due to following inappropriate patterns. This would assist in solidifying Nike ‘s committedness towards its workers. However, as withdrawing subcontractors may ensue in unemployment, Nike should besides make programs to supply nutriment to the workers employed by the subcontractors and publicize its enterprises in the media and through conferences.