module specification

MC5054 - Consumer Public Relations (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Consumer Public Relations
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
50 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
100 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 40%   Group presentation (20 mins + 10 mins Q & A)
Seen Examination 60%   Seen exam (2 hours)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester City Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module focuses on the role of public relations (PR) in the commercial activities of organisations.  In particular it addresses the importance of winning (and maintaining) customers, and with meeting competitive challenges in the highly competitive world of modern capitalism.  The module discusses how PR interfaces with consumer marketing, together with the manner in which organisations use PR tools to interact with consumers in a trading environment.  Delivery consists of 3-hour CCT using a combination of lectures (including guest speakers) and seminars

Prior learning requirements

120 credits at Level 4

Module aims

The chief purpose of this Consumer PR module will be to explain how PR can help drive sales.  However, the module will also discuss how PR is often more subtle and sophisticated than other forms of marketing communication such as advertising and direct mail.  So, students will be given an appreciation of how, by changing the attitudes and behaviour of consumers, PR can create a more favourable sales environment for a product or service, and facilitate the path to purchase.

The module will promote various graduate attributes.  In particular, it will assist students in the acquisition of the following skills:

  1. Research and data analysis
  2. Application of knowledge and presenting data orally (including IT skills)
  3. Critical thinking,  problem solving, and decision making
  4. Management of time and emotions
  5. Collaborating with others and having a positive attitude
  6. Enterprise skills (including being creative, leadership, and project management skills)
  7. Commercial awareness (including CSR)


• What is Consumer PR?
• Consumer Behaviour Theory
• Consumer PR tools and techniques
• Raising awareness of product/service benefits; helping to build & sustain brand reputation
• Harnessing third-party endorsement (media relations & sponsorships)
• Allowing brands to engage directly with their intended customers (events & other activities)
• Changing attitudes; positively influencing behaviour, and building long-term relationships
• Grabbing customers’ attention  in an age of information overload
• Key challenges for PR professionals (including ethical considerations)
• Consumerism and sustainable consumption….eg “Too much stuff!”
• Product recalls and crisis management mode in a Consumer PR context
• Consumer PR: thinking creatively from both a strategic and tactical perspective.

Learning and teaching

The module will be delivered using a combination of one-hour lectures (including presentations from guest speakers) and two-hour seminars/workshops. 

Consumer PR is currently the biggest area of specialist PR practice.  Guest speakers who are active in the practice of Consumer PR will be invited to discuss case studies with the students, and also career opportunities in the sector. 

Videos and online case studies of Consumer PR campaigns will be used to stimulate discussion in seminars.  In the main, seminars will be student-led, and a problem-based approach will be adopted. 

Weblearn will be used for the dissemination of learning materials, for assessment briefs, and for regular updates by the tutor.  The timely provision of generic feedback following formative assessments will also be facilitated by Weblearn.

Weekly drop-in surgeries will also be provided on campus by the tutor, together with an “on-line” surgery hour before and after classes, and regular Q & A sessions

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  1. Understand the term Consumer PR and analyse different types of Consumer PR activity
  2. Appreciate both the critical factors which drive successful consumer PR campaigns and the benefits which can be generated by successful Consumer PR campaigns.
  3. Understand how Consumer PR complements other communication disciplines
  4. Understand the challenges facing practitioners (including ethical considerations), and apply such principles to real-life scenarios

Assessment strategy

Assessment Strategy Learning
Skill Development
Group Presentation of a Consumer PR Campaign (40%) 1, 2, 3, 4 Research & Data analysis (P) (A)
Knowledge application & presenting orally (A)
Critical thinking, problem solving & decision making (P) (A)
Collaborating with others (A)
Enterprise skills (P)
Seen exam (60%) 1, 2, 3, 4 Academic reading (A)
Application of knowledge (A)
Critical thinking & academic writing (A)
Time & emotion management (A)

This strategy is driven by the need for diverse, transparent and valid assessment modes and criteria.  Assessment design is also driven by the need to fulfil the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) stipulations as cited in its criteria for course approval.

The first (formative) assessment is a group presentation.  Students will be required to undertake the role of Consumer PR consultants from a leading PR Agency.  The Agency has been invited to pitch for business and present its creative ideas for a designated Consumer PR campaign to a potential client. 

The second (summative) assessment is a seen exam.  PR activities are usually heavily time-constrained. So, being able to produce work of a sound professional standard to a tight deadline is an important skill for a potential PRO to develop.  The examination fulfils those requirements here and provides a sound stepping stone for subsequent modules.


*Tench & Yeomans (3rd Ed - 2013) Exploring Public Relations Prentice Hall
*Bobbitt & Sullivan 2005 Developing the Public Relations Campaign Allyn & Bacon
*Theaker, A (2008) The Public Relations Handbook Routledge
*Blyth J (2008) Consumer Behaviour Thompson
*Green A 2010 Creativity in Public Relations Kogan Page (CIPR)
*Phillips, D & Young, P (2009) Online Public Relations Kogan Page (CIPR)
*Corn J (2011) User Unfriendly: consumer struggles with personal technologies John Hopkins Univ
*Egan J (2011) Relationship Marketing:  exploring relational strategies in marketing 4th ed Pearson
*Fill C (2011) Essentials of Marketing Communication Pearson
*Khan K (2011) Marketing Communication Phenomenon within Social Networks & Blogs  Lambert