By: Jen Stabler
Language is used as a way to be understood in a particular time and culture. Depending on the context in which language is used in Public Relations, it really does change meaning if it is for a different culture or even a different time. It is important for the words to speak to the readers and that has a lot to do with how it is written. We understand ourselves and the world we live in through language and therefore, any experience happens through language. The way words are written are not random, but instead correspond to the experience. In Pubic Relations, words are not written just to get the message across to the others, but instead correspond to the experience and what occurs from the experience and the way in which it is interpreted. People can relate to and understand each other through language, and in Public Relations, it is important for language to target a certain audience in which they will be able to identify with themselves and experience what they want the audience to experience.
An example in the use of language in a corporation is Starbucks. Starbucks’ mission statement uses language in which it creates an experience for customers. Most, if not all, corporations’ use of language and symbols to create a “cultural community” in order to financially be successful. Starbucks creates this sense of “cultural community” through its use of language and symbol. They use the words “we,” rather than “Starbucks” which makes the reader feel some sort of bond/community. Also by saying “hope to share great coffee with our friends,” creates this sense of community amongst customers instead of just saying, “sell,” which is very impersonal.
I studied abroad last year in Italy, and there are no Starbucks there. Whenever we traveled, everyone was so excited to go to Starbucks, because it was “comforting,” and everyone knew exactly what would be there and that they would have whatever you wanted/always get from Starbucks. In every Starbucks, you will find everything to be the same, which is something that customers find comforting.
Sources: Batchelor, B. & Krister, K. (2012). Starbucks: A case study examining power and culture via radical sociodrama. PRism 9(2): http://www.prismjournal.org/homepage.html & Mickey, Thomas J. "The Language of Mental Illness." Chapter 7. Deconstructing Public Relations: Public Relations Criticism, pp. 109-19.