Walmart is one of the largest multinational corporations, which uses its public relations (PR) in order to establish its brand and influence public opinion regarding the company. As many other big corporations, Walmart faces constant challenges in form of labor unions, who aggressively criticize the company for lower wages and poor working conditions. Therefore, Walmart is eager to utilize all available tools in order to advance its public perception in a positive light. Social media usage is another critical aspect of the company’s public relations strategy that needs to be considered. Walmart is also in tight competition with its major competitors, such as Target. However, the company is a for-profit organization, which uses its PR to enhance its overall brand image in the market. The latter approach is different in the case of non-profit organizations, which primarily uses its public relations to spread the message and advance its social purpose. Thus, in the case of Walmart, the company uses its public relations team to defend its brand identity from numerous attacks of its competitors and unions where social media is becoming more necessary.
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Walmart is one of the well-known and distinct companies of corporate America, which means that the company is always at the center of attention. It already possesses a strong brand identity allowing it to be a leader among retail sector units. Therefore, Walmart is in front of advancing and preserving its reputation and influencing public opinion. One of the key approaches used in Walmart is a strategic charitable giving, which not only improves its public relations in the local area but also countrywide (Qian, 2015). The company is a proponent of using social media to be more reciprocal with the public, which also preserves its brand image. Being a top company in its sector, Walmart needs to be innovative with its public relations methods. It is stated that social media can greatly enhance a company’s public relations (Valentini, 2015). Walmart is currently present in all social media platforms, where the main goal is to have access to a wide range of groups. It is stated that social media role might be used in conjunction with public relations campaigns (Golan, 2019). Walmart uses major platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+, to not only advance its public relations but also improve its marketing.
Nevertheless, Walmart is always faced with various challenges originating from a number of sources. The two most critical ones are labor unions and competitors, which impose their own agenda on Walmart. Labor unions seek higher wages and better working conditions, and Walmart should respond to the unions because the latter is a threat to its brand identity and public perception. In addition, Walmart needs to deflect attacks from its competitors, such as Target. It is important for a company to have a strong public relations department in order to defend its position (Fraser, 2016). It is also vital to note that both for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as the American Red Cross, use public relations to inform the public (Gezgin, 2019). However, the major difference is the overall intention where private businesses use PR to establish a brand image and non-profits primarily advance their social purpose (Sezgul, 2015). Therefore, PR is utilized similarly by both types of organizations, but the objectives are different.
In conclusion, Walmart is actively using social media in conjunction with its PR to defend attacks from its competitors and unions as well as to establish and enhance the brand identity. In addition, the given private organization, as any other for-profit, primarily uses PR to improve and protect its brand image. In contrast, non-profit organizations use it to spread their message of their social purpose. Therefore, public perception of any organization plays an essential role in its success.
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Golan, G. J. (2019). New perspectives on international public relations: Engaging foreign stakeholders. American Behavioral Scientist, 63(12), 1599-1602.
Qian, J. (2015). Charitable giving, corporate image building, and market expansion: The case of Walmart (Publication No. 82976) [Doctoral thesis, University of Toronto]. TSpace.
Sezgul, I. (2015). Public relations in public sector. Journal of Communication Theory and Research, 48, 1-16.
Valentini, C. (2015). Is using social media “good” for the public relations profession? A critical reflection. Public Relations Review, 41(2), 170-177.