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n Communicare : Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa - The M-Net Face of Africa competition : a study on the evaluation of a public relations success story from the African continent : research article
The M-Net Face of Africa competition was conceived as a platform for African models to showcase their talent to the international fashion world, and to present a positive image of contemporary Africa. Other goals of this competition were to comply with M-Net's social responsibility in the greater African community where the broadcasting company functions, and to develop inter alia television broadcasting programmes for M-Net's rapidly increasing audience across the African continent. The Excellence Study (Dozier, Grunig & Grunig, 1995) formed the theoretical basis of the present study. This study argues that public relations (PR) contributes to organisational effectiveness by "using programmes to build relationships with the strategic constituencies of an organisation" (Grunig, 1992:65).
The major theoretical concept in the present study was the public relations campaign built around the M-Net Face of Africa competition, and the following three constructs were identified for the purposes of the present study: the seven steps in the PR campaign, the goals / objectives of the campaign and the evaluation thereof.
The research goal of the study was to evaluate the M-Net's Face of Africa public relations campaign by means of a standard, internationally accepted evaluation model for public relations programmes. It was established that M-Net has never formally and scientifically evaluated this PR prograbme, although it is generally accepted and referred to as an international PR success story. It presented itself as an ideal research opportunity and afforded the researchers the opportunity to: (1) determine the method(s) and / or model(s) M-Net has thus far used to evaluate the competition; (2) present these findings; (3) discuss these findings in terms of the suggested international evaluation model for public relations programmes / campaigns such as the M-Net Face of Africa campaign; and (4) formulate recommendations for both formative and summative research for future similar public relations campaigns.
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