PR Is Just Smart Business

The name of the game is doing our part to achieve manage- ment's objectives. And public relations best practice ? properly applied ? does just that.

How? The driving force is public relations' fundamental premise which promises to harness your most important external audiences in a way that actually helps reach those very same business objectives.

Just look at that premise: "People act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving- to-desired-action those people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public relations mission is accomplished."

It strongly suggests that without the understanding of who and what your organization is all about, the behaviors of those important external audiences may hinder your efforts and, left unattended, tie your organization in knots.

This sentence sums up the bottom line. When public relations alters key audience perceptions, then reaches, persuades and moves them to an action you desire, it clearly helps achieve management's objectives.

Do you enjoy that kind of support? You can if you employ a program along these lines.

Decide at the start which outside audiences display behaviors that most impact your organization, and list them. We'll concentrate here on that #1 external audience you believe has the greatest effect on your operations. Of course, other audiences may need your attention as well.

The obvious first step is to find out how members of that "public," as we call them, actually perceive your organization. The best and quickest way to do this is to interact with those people and ask questions that probe their perceptions. Listen carefully for negative observations and remain alert to factual errors, inaccuracies, misperceptions and even rumors.

These responses enable you to create a public relations goal aimed directly at correcting the damaging perceptions, especially misconceptions and inaccuracies.

Now, you get to select one of three available opinion strategies that show you how you will reach your goal: create opinion where there may be none; change existing opinion, or reinforce it. Your public relations goal will lead you to the proper strategy selection.

The meat of the program is usually the message you will send to members of your target audience. After all, that message will be charged with the task of altering people's perceptions, and that means it must be persuasive and compelling. It must also be as clear as possible, and contain the facts and figures needed to repair the perception damage. In short, your message must be believable. You might also run it by a few members of your target audience to be sure it has the desired effect on the perception you are striving to alter.

Moving your message to many members of your #1 external audience requires aggressive and carefully targeted communications tactics. Public relations is fortunate to have dozens of such tactics from which to choose. For example, radio and newspaper interviews, letters-to-the-editor, face-to- face meetings and speeches. Or you might select tactics such as facility tours, brochures, community meetings, special events and promotional activity.

In due course, after your communications tactics have spread your message far and wide, you will want to know if you are making any progress. Experience shows that remonitoring your target audience is a must.

You will want to ask the same questions of audience members you used during your data gathering exercise at the start of the program.

Your objective, however, will be different. Now, you will be looking for signs that the offending perception has begun to be altered in the direction you desire. Should more work be necessary, a possible change in the mix and frequency of your communications tactics can be made. And, of course, you would want to review your message for clarity, impact and direction, especially with regard to your supporting facts and figures.

Because we know that predictable behaviors tend to follow changes in perception, your carefully planned public relations effort is well-positioned to create key audience support for management initiatives.

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at [email protected].

Robert A. Kelly © 2003

About The Author

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental premise of public relations. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. mailto:[email protected]. Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com

In The News:

Public relations is bad news  The Conversation CA
Time to 'get PR done'  Morning Star Online
Public Relations Manager  Charlotte Agenda
PR Newswire - Start of Day  Yahoo Finance UK
PR Newswire - End of Day  Yahoo Finance UK

Creating Your Online News Room: How To Build a Site The Media Will Love

From time to time, people ask me how public relations... Read More

The Most Important PR In America

Just happens to be public relations activity that alters individual... Read More

PR: Ouch! Tells the Tale

Ever get the feeling that your public relations program isn't... Read More

PR: Room at the Bottom?

When special events and communications tactics rule the PR roost... Read More

How to Create Quality PR Results

For many of us, the word quality is closely related... Read More

Auto Detailing Public Relations; United Way Withholding

As a mobile detailing company it is important to have... Read More

Five Publicity Buckets For Marketing-Minded Financial Planners

Maybe you've seen another financial planner on TV, and thought,... Read More

Media Relations: How to Get Your Letter to the Editor Published

You may remember Forrest Gump's Vietnam pal ? the one... Read More

The Role Of Public Relations In Branding

Because PR can be difficult to control, it is often... Read More

Do-It-Yourself Public Relations

"Advertising is what you pay for. Publicity is what you... Read More

Leveraging Media Coverage - Your Tool For Business Growth

Media relations, simply put, is the business of building and... Read More

Marketing-Minded Financial Planners: Get Free Publicity by Choosing the Right Outlets

Sure, any publicity is good. But don't invest time and... Read More

Public Relations Strategies: Focus PR Campaigns with Media Coverage Analysis

Prior to launching a new public relations campaign, evaluate the... Read More

Does Your Small Business Have a Grooming Policy?

They say that image is everything and some of us... Read More

Publicity: Nailing a Media Interview, Part II (Crisis Management)

We'd all like reporters to ask us about our career... Read More

Grow Your Financial Planning Practice by Taking Your Publicity National

Think that you aren't big enough for national media coverage?... Read More

Passing the PR Bar

The public relations bar, should such a proficiency measure ever... Read More

The Art Of Persuasive Pitching

Media placement is an art. Practicing it often requires as... Read More

A PR Surprise for Managers

For those business, non-profit and association managers committed to PR... Read More

Publicity: Marketing-Minded Financial Planners, Never Say These Words to a Reporter

Everyone has something that drives them up a wall. You... Read More

Marketing-Minded Financial Planners Piggyback on Topic A to Get Free Publicity

That big story the media pursue each day is what... Read More

Publicity From Thin Air

In an ideal world, your business would be overflowing withnewsworthy... Read More

Editorial Calendars: A Key to Publicizing Your Business

What is the one thing that all of the best... Read More

A New Idea For Venture Capitalists

Obviously, it hurts when a promising business project you backed... Read More

Public Relations Productivity

Should it be measured in "publicity by the pound," or... Read More