Publicity as a tool of PR activities within CSR concept in food enterprises in Slovakia

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Publicity as a tool of PR activities within CSR concept in food enterprises in Slovakia

Paper points at the publicity as a tool of public relations (PR) within CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises in Slovakia and analyzes its use in terms of foreign participation, production focus and size of enterprises and subsequently evaluates the benefits of using publicity as a tool of PR within CSR concept. The actual research was implemented in 125 food enterprises. When processing the statistical data, we have used several methods of statistical evaluation, as the frequency and contingency tables, the absolute and relative frequencies, χ2 test of good agreement, Likert scale, Cramer’s V Coefficient and Kruskal-Wallis test. The results of the research confirmed that the publicity as a part of PR within CSR concept in the practice of analyzed food enterprises is primarily focused on building the reputation of the company. Conclusion of the submitted paper offers the most important results of research with aim of practical application in food enterprises.

Introduction

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a continuous act by business entities to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life, labour force as well as the whole society (Lee 2015). The CSR has a positive impact on both market and society. It is well known that CSR programs help improve the reputation of the company (Janková et al. 2016, Džupina 2016). The CSR of companies provides an advantage or opportunity in improving the morale, relations and retention among the employees of the company. CSR strategies usually refer to recyclable packaging, promotion of social awareness and portions of profits for charitable groups. It goes hand in hand with social responsibility practices like ethical behaviour. Administrators, executives and stakeholders are also influenced by the corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility in events is truly impactful and innovative. CSR is gaining an increasing importance, acceptance and application in the business practice. It is also about understanding the company, its activities as an integral part of the whole society and the life of the company as a whole (Horská et al. 2010). Economic efficiency, social involvement in the community and environmental responsibility are reflected in triple bottom line or 3 P- People, Planet, Profit (Catherwood 2005). Creating an effective marketing strategy according to current trends is a key process needed to achieve sustainable growth that can result in attracting a great number of existing as well as potential customers (Ližbetinová et al. 2019). Marketers must make sure that their messages of offensive nature are properly compensated, are not too aggressive, and do not prevail in their communication style (Sieglova 2019). One of the most important ways to show the community company´s attitude towards CSR concept is using the publicity as a tool of public relations.

Public relations in the food enterprises

Modern technologies that lead to „global downsizing“ in food businesses have resulted in increasing the sophistication of marketing and public relations methods practically throughout the world (Ries et al. 2009). Global food suppliers, such as Pepsi or Nestlé, are looking for local marketing partners with whom they work in their home markets. This extends the use and understanding of modern marketing tools in the world. Many business conglomerates have developed their own worldwide network of advertising and PR agencies that support both multinational and local clients. This provides several possibilities for the use of PR for food enterprises seeking to enter foreign markets (Přikrylová and Jahodová 2010).
Alongside the globalization of food producers, the globalization of marketing communication service providers, including PR, is progressing rapidly. It is expected that in the near future there will be only a few dominant brands of food and beverages that will support only a few dominant advertising and PR agencies in the media. However, regional products will, of course, remain in place, with some products predestined to remain a regional commodity due to problems with their distribution or their potential mass production (Hes at al. 2009).
When food enterprises decide to use public relations to promote their products, whether on the domestic market or abroad, they must bear in mind one thing: public relations do not exist and do not work under vacuum. The boundary lines between the elements that make up the communication mix disappear, and it is much more common to realize public relations in parallel with other elements of the communication mix, thereby creating integrated marketing communication. Such symbiosis is observable in all sectors of the economy. As the budget for a marketing campaign decreases, public relations play an increasingly important role in the marketing mix. This is doubly true in food businesses (Kádeková 2014). The future of public relations in food businesses will be influenced by several factors – the ongoing „shrinking“ of the world due to new technologies, globalization, „tabloids“ or lowering the professional level of media, reducing public confidence in institutions in general, and strategic needs of a particular company. However, it remains true that any trade in a democratic society begins and ends upon its acceptance and approval by the public. Therefore, the honesty must be the cornerstone of the business strategy (Kotler et al. 2007).

Publicity and its importance in the formation of public opinion

PR is a science of how to create and influence public opinion. Its main means are the media. One of the basic principles of working with the media is to provide interesting information to journalists, who then decide independently whether to publish it or not. Such information also enjoys incomparably greater public confidence than direct advertising (Huges 2006). Publicity in public relations is an in-house, active approach of every company, where journalists are informed in advance by the company itself. This prevents inaccurate information damaging the company’s reputation (Raaij et al. 2011).
A wide range of tools can be used to use the publicity: press releases, promotional materials, press kits, internet, information e-mails and newsletters, press conferences and receptions, round tables, journalists invitations to business partner conferences, domestic or foreign excursions, lectures, seminars and, last but not least, interviews. The materials intended for journalists must be professionally prepared, elaborated in a journalistic style, accurate, up-to-date, comprehensible and valuable. The most commonly used are press releases and expanded press information (Caywood 2003). Identifying key journalists and developing personal contacts with them is necessary to create high-quality media relations in order to achieve the desired publicity. Creating personal contacts with journalists takes a lot of time and effort but is a long-term investment in the development of the image and reputation of the company (Sietel 2001). Any evasive attitude towards journalists is inappropriate, the worst attitude is not to communicate at all as the attitude of the company to the media should be proactive. The PR specialist must be an excellent diplomat (Caspermedia 2012).
The company website is an important source of information. Information for journalists should be made available at the first level and in particular the contact for the media relations manager, including the e-mail address and telephone number, should be published as well (Czinkota and Ronkainen 2007).
Spontaneous publicity in the media is an effective and inexpensive form of company communication. Spontaneous publicity in the news can indicate the strength of the brand. Mentioning the company or brand in the case of spontaneous publicity is not paid and the target will meet it in the natural environment (Kádeková 2014). Publicity can be ensured by well-founded analysts, or generally known data on consumer topics are published. Media coverage can give a more accurate picture of the business or brand position. Whether spontaneous publicity is truly objective cannot be assessed. It often happens that a market leader in a particular segment is not only the largest payer of ad space, but also has the best numbers in spontaneous publicity that is not paid (Kotler et al. 2007).
Nowadays, businesses are facing a number of challenges due to the dynamic environment. Successful implementation of sustainable practices through entrepreneurial activities is crucial to a more sustainable economy (Lorincová et al. 2018).
In the case of publicity, establishing quality relationships with media representatives takes a lot of time and effort, but is a long-term investment in developing the image and reputation of the company, especially in communicating CSR concept-related activities (Mravíková 2009).

Aim and methodology

Aim of the paper was to point at the publicity as a tool of public relations (PR) within CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises in Slovakia and analyses its use in terms of foreign participation, production focus and size of enterprises and subsequently evaluates the benefits of using publicity in food enterprises with foreign participation and in the Slovak food enterprises (without foreign participation). We have evaluated just the activities that are part of CSR concept and later are communicated with public by using the media which makes it an effective tool for creating the image of the company as a part of public relations.
In order to find the solution of the given problem have been analysed information of using publicity as a part of PR in the practice of food enterprises. These data were important in terms of the initial analysis of the market situation.
Among 358 food enterprises listed in the official Business Register (note [1]), the questionnaire was sent to 230 ones in electronic form. The actual research was implemented in 125 food enterprises (Table 1).

Table 1: Representation of enterprises involved in research by production focus
Source: authors

The representativeness of the sample number of food enterprises has been tested by χ2 test of good agreement (Table 2).

Table 2: χ2 test of good agreement – representativeness of sample – Number of food enterprises
Source: SOSR, Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

The issue of analyzing the use of publicity as a PR tool in the practice of food businesses in Slovakia and the resulting benefits is the subject of the following part.

In order to fulfil the given aim, following hypothesis had been defined:
Hypothesis 1: In the food enterprises with foreign participation, publicity as a PR tool within the CSR concept is used more widely (nationwide) than in food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).
Hypothesis 2: The use of publicity as the PR tool within CSR concept differs according to production focus. It is used the most in the food enterprises producing non-alcoholic beverages and confectionery (nationwide), to the smallest extent (regional) is used in enterprises processing milk and dairy products as well as in meat and meat processing food enterprises.
Hypothesis 3: The use of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept varies in micro, small, medium and large enterprises, while publicity is most widely (nationwide) used in large enterprises.
Hypothesis 4: There is no difference in the perception of the benefits from using publicity as a part of PR within the CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises with foreign participation and food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).

When processing the statistical data, we have used several methods of statistical evaluation, as the frequency and contingency tables, the absolute and relative frequencies, χ2 test of good agreement, Likert scale, Cramer’s V Coefficient and Kruskal-Wallis test (similar as in other related research by e.g. Bulanda et al. 2018, Kubicová et al. 2018, Predanocyová at al. 2018, Mach et al. 2018, Rybanská 2015, Rauová et al. 2018, Džupina 2016, Smutka et al. 2016, Polakevičová 2015, Kádeková et al. 2014 etc.).
Based on a comparison of the calculated values and test criteria we do not reject the null hypothesis; sample number of food enterprises is representative on the significance level alpha 0.01.

Results and discussion

• Analysis of preferred media as a tool of PR within CSR concept in the food enterprises with foreign participation and in the food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises)

Hypothesis 1: In the food enterprises with foreign participation, publicity as a PR tool within the CSR concept is used more widely (nationwide) than in food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).

Initial analyzes revealed 75% share of food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises) to 25% share of the food enterprises with foreign participation.
The analysis of the type of preferred media revealed statistically significant differences between the analyzed categories of enterprises. Table 3 shows the results of χ2 contingency test to reject the null hypothesis of independence of the preferred media type, since the p value is less than alpha 0.05. In this case we can confirm the moderate dependence.

Table 3: χ2 contingency test results – kind of preferred media in food enterprises
with foreign participation and Slovak food enterprises
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

Food enterprises with foreign participation prefer mostly nationwide media, while Slovak food enterprises prefer more regional media. Overall, when using publicity, the share of nationwide media is greater than regional media (Table 4).

Table 4: Percentages of preferred media types in food enterprises with foreign participation and Slovak food enterprises
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

• Analysis of preferred media as a tool of PR within CSR concept in the food enterprises according to production focus

Hypothesis 2: The use of publicity as the PR tool within CSR concept differs according to production focus. It is used the most in the food enterprises producing non-alcoholic beverages and confectionery (nationwide), to the smallest extent (regional) is used in enterprises processing milk and dairy products as well as in meat and meat processing food enterprises.

We used the aggregation of enterprises according to a similar production focus for the purpose of better statistical processing, so that the individual groups of food enterprises were approximately the same numbers, as follows:
 Enterprises producing alcoholic beverages
 Meat and meat processing enterprises
 Enterprises producing vegetables
 Pastry and flour manufacturers
 Enterprises producing soft drinks
 Enterprises processing milk and dairy products
 Enterprises processing confectionery

When analyzing preferred media types in specific food sectors according to production focus, statistically significant dependencies were found. This means that the individual sectors of the analyzed enterprises prefer different types of media to provide information about themselves. These facts are confirmed in Table 5, where the theoretical significance level is lower than the determined alpha significance level of 0.05. In this case, there is a moderate dependence between the different food business sectors and the preferred type of media.

Table 5: χ2 contingency test results – kind of preferred media in food enterprises by production focus
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

Food business sectors that prefer nationwide media include pastry and flour manufacturers, enterprises processing confectionery, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. Their share ranges from 59.1% (for pastries) to 100% (for soft drinks). On the other hand, sectors which prefer rather regional media include enterprises processing milk and dairy products, enterprises producing vegetables as well as meat and meat processing enterprises. Their share ranged from 56.5% (for milk and dairy products) to 70.4% (for meat products). Overall, the share of preferred nationwide media represented 54.5% to 45.5% of regional media (Table 6).

Table 6: Percentages of preferred media types in food enterprises by production focus
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

• Analysis of preferred media as a tool of PR within CSR concept in the food enterprises according to size of food enterprises

Hypothesis 3: The use of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept varies in micro, small, medium and large enterprises, while publicity is most widely (nationwide) used in large enterprises.

The analysis of this hypothesis was based on the basic division of enterprises by size: the decisive primary factor in determining the size of the company is the number of employees, followed by turnover as follows (Euroekonóm 2010):
 Micro-enterprises: 1-9 employees; turnover≤ 2mil. €
 Small enterprises: 10-49 employees; turnover≤ 10mil. €
 Medium enterprises: 50-249 employees; turnover ≤ 50mil. €
 Large enterprises: 250 and more employees; turnover>50mil. €

The size of the enterprise, as measured by the average number of employees, has an impact on the preferred media type. This is confirmed by the results of the χ2 contingency test, where the calculated theoretical significance level is less than the determined alpha significance level of 0.05. Based on the value of the contingency coefficient, we can confirm a strong dependence between the preferred media type and the size of the enterprise (Table 7).

Table 7: χ2 contingency test results – kind of preferred media in food enterprises by size
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

Table 8 provides detailed information on the percentages of preferred media types classified by enterprise size categories. Food enterprises with an average number of employees less than 10 (micro-enterprises) use only regional media. With the size of the enterprise, the share of regional media is declining, while the share of using nationwide media is increasing with the size of the enterprise.

Table 8: Percentages of preferred media types in food enterprises by size
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

• Analysis of the contribution of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept in food enterprises with foreign participation and food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises)

Hypothesis 4: There is no difference in the perception of the benefits from using publicity as a part of PR within the CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises with foreign participation and food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).

 Analysis of the contribution of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept in food enterprises with foreign participation

For food enterprises with foreign participation, were found statistically significant differences in the perception of the benefits of using publicity as a part of PR within CSR concept. This is documented in Table 9, which shows the results of the Kruskal-Wallis test. The calculated theoretical level of significance is less than the determined alpha significance level of 0.05, therefore we reject the null hypothesis that there are no differences in the perception of the benefits of publicity.

Table 9: Results of Kruskal-Wallis test – benefits of using publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept in the food enterprises with foreign participation
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

All analyzed benefits of using the publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept are considered very important by enterprises with foreign participation, with the highest share (80.6%) for benefiting from „building the reputation of the company”, followed by the benefits of „knowing by the general public” (67.7%) and offers „protecting the reputation of the company“ (58.1% ).

 Analysis of the contribution of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept in food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises)

The benefit of using publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept was evaluated in Slovak food enterprises by Likert scale. Using the Kruskal-Wallis test, it was found that there were statistically significant differences in the perception of selected publicity benefits. Table 10 shows the results of the Kruskal-Wallis test. The calculated p value is less than the determined alpha level of significance of 0.05, which means that the null hypothesis of the absence of differences in perception of selected benefits of using the publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept is rejected.

Table 10: Results of Kruskal-Wallis test – benefits of using publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept in Slovak food enterprises
Source: Authors calculations, output XLSTAT

The majority of Slovak food enterprises (59.3%) perceive „building the reputation” as a very important contribution of using publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept. The benefits of using publicity „knowing by the general public” are also considered by Slovak food enterprises to be very significant (51.6%) The third most important benefit of using publicity is „protecting the reputation of the company” (47.8%). Slovak food enterprises have had an indifferent attitude towards the other three benefits of using publicity – increasing the number of customers, product sales and profit.

Conclusion

Džupina (2013) examined the presence of sectoral differences in communicating the basic dimensions of CSR. In the light of other similar research (Nagyová et al. 2018, Nelson 2003, White 2017, Džupina et al. 2016, Wiese and Toporowski 2013, Hartmann 2011, Cheeseman 2017), can be assumed that the area of the company’s social involvement would depend on the industry in which it operated. It was based on the general assumption that businesses in the service sector would appeal more to the dimensions of volunteering, economic and social responsibility. On the other hand, primary sector enterprises (agriculture, extractive industries) and industrial enterprises are more oriented towards environmental and environmental responsibility and in this way is also communication with public. Research by Džupina (2013) proved statistically insignificant differences between businesses and their communication of CSR activities in different sectors of the national economy, also confirmed that some sectors are more socially responsible than others.
Submitted paper pointed at the publicity as a tool of public relations (PR) within CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises in Slovakia and analysed its use in terms of foreign participation, production focus and size of enterprises and subsequently evaluated the benefits of using publicity in food enterprises with foreign participation and in Slovak food enterprises (without foreign participation). The questionnaire research was implemented in 125 food enterprises. The base for our research was created by 4 hypothesis.

Hypothesis 1: In the food enterprises with foreign participation, publicity as a PR tool within the CSR concept is used more widely (nationwide) than in food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).

Analyzes revealed 75% share of food enterprises without foreign participation to 25% share of the food enterprises with foreign participation. The analysis of the type of preferred media revealed statistically significant differences between the analyzed categories of enterprises. Food enterprises with foreign participation prefer mostly nationwide media, while Slovak food enterprises prefer more regional media. Generally, the share of nationwide media is greater than the share of regional media.

Hypothesis 2: The use of publicity as the PR tool within CSR concept differs according to production focus. It is used the most in the food enterprises producing non-alcoholic beverages and confectionery (nationwide), to the smallest extent (regional) is used in enterprises processing milk and dairy products as well as in meat and meat processing food enterprises.

When analyzing preferred media types in specific food sectors according to production focus, statistically significant dependencies were found. The individual sectors of the analyzed enterprises prefer different types of media to provide information about themselves. There is a moderate dependence between the different food business sectors and the preferred type of media.

Food business sectors that prefer nationwide media include pastry and flour manufacturers, enterprises processing confectionery, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. On the other hand, sectors which prefer rather regional media include enterprises processing milk and dairy products, enterprises producing vegetables as well as meat and meat processing enterprises. The share of preferred nationwide media represented 54.5% to 45.5% of regional media.

Hypothesis 3: The use of publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept varies in micro, small, medium and large enterprises, while publicity is most widely (nationwide) used in large enterprises.

The size of the enterprise has an impact on the preferred media type. We can confirm a strong dependence between the preferred media type and the size of the enterprise. Food enterprise with an average number of employees less than 10 use only regional media. With the size of the enterprise, the share of regional media is declining, while the share of using nationwide media is increasing with the size of the enterprise.

Hypothesis 4: There is no difference in the perception of the benefits from using publicity as a part of PR within the CSR concept in the practice of food enterprises with foreign participation and food enterprises without foreign participation (Slovak food enterprises).

For food enterprises with foreign participation, were found statistically significant differences in the perception of the benefits of using publicity as a part of PR within CSR concept. We reject the null hypothesis that there are no differences in the perception of the benefits of publicity.
Building the reputation of the company is the most important benefit from using the publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept.
In the Slovak food enterprises were found statistically significant differences in the perception of selected publicity benefits. The null hypothesis of the absence of differences in perception of selected benefits of using the publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept was rejected. Also – the majority of Slovak food enterprises consider „building the reputation” as a very important benefit from using publicity as the tool of PR within CSR concept.

Poznámky/Notes

[1] Companies listed in the Business Register, contributory organizations, which are market producers, with 20 or more employees and organizations with less than 20 employees with annual revenues from own performances and goods EUR 5 million or more; included manufacturing food businesses, excluding manufacturing businesses with tobacco products. Agricultural services: RADELA Ltd., 2018.
[2] Total number of registered Food Enterprises in Slovakia in 2018 based on data by SOSR, The statement includes: Companies listed in the Business Register, contributory organizations, which are market producers, with 20 or more employees and organizations with less than 20 employees with annual revenues from own performances and goods EUR 5 million or more; included manufacturing food businesses, excluding manufacturing businesses with tobacco products. Agricultural services: RADELA Ltd., 2018.

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Kľúčové slová/Key Words

public relations, corporate social responsibility, publicity, food enterprises, Slovakia
vzťahy s verejnosťou, spoločenská zodpovednosť podnikov, publicita, potravinárske podniky, Slovensko

JEL klasifikácia/JEL Classification

M14, M31

Résumé

Publicita ako nástroj PR aktivít v rámci koncepcie CSR v potravinárskych podnikoch na Slovensku

Príspevok poukazuje na publicitu ako nástroj public relations (PR) v rámci koncepcie CSR v praxi potravinárskych podnikov na Slovensku. Analyzuje jej využitie z hľadiska zahraničnej účasti, výrobného zamerania a veľkosti potravinárskych podnikov na Slovensku a benefitov plynúcich z využívania publicity ako súčasti PR v rámci konceptu CSR. Výskum sa realizoval dotazníkovou formou v 125 potravinárskych podnikoch pôsobiacich na území Slovenskej republiky. Pri spracovaní štatistických údajov sme použili niekoľko metód štatistického hodnotenia, frekvenčné a kontingenčné tabuľky, absolútne a relatívne početnosti, χ2 test dobrej zhody, Likertovu škálu, Kramerov kontingenčný koeficient a Kruskal-Wallisov test. Výsledky prieskumu potvrdili, že publicita ako súčasť PR v rámci koncepcie CSR v praxi analyzovaných potravinárskych podnikov je primárne zameraná na budovanie dobrého mena spoločnosti. Záver predloženej práce ponúka najdôležitejšie výsledky výskumu s cieľom možného uplatnenia v praxi potravinárskych podnikov.

Kontakt na autorov/Address

Ing. Zdenka Kádeková, PhD., Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Faculty of Economics and Management, Department of Marketing and Trade, Trieda A. Hlinku 2, 949 76 Nitra, Slovakia, e-mail: [email protected]

Ing. Ingrida Košičiarová, PhD., Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Faculty of Economics and Management, Department of Marketing and Trade, Trieda A. Hlinku 2, 949 76 Nitra, Slovakia, e-mail: [email protected]

Recenzované/Reviewed

24. March 2020 / 28. March 2020