by Robert A. Kelly
Leaders in the business world need public relations big time, and they show it every day.
How? By staying in touch with their most important external audiences and by carefully monitoring their perceptions about
the company, audience member feelings about hot topics at issue, and the behaviors that inevitably follow.
Could there be an angle here for your business?
What I mean is, once you interact with, then learn what that
key target audience of yours believes about you and your
organization, a corrective public relations goal – a specific
behavior change -- can be established.
Which then requires that you identify a strategy. There are
just three choices here, create opinion where none exists,
change existing opinion, or reinforce it.
It's a logical sequence. With your goal and strategy now set,
you need persuasive messages with a good chance of moving
perceptions (and thus behaviors) in your organization's
direction. But you must make sure the messages talk not only
to the current topic at issue, but to any misconceptions or
inaccuracies encountered during your information gathering,
and to any problems that might be brewing.
What will you do with your new message? You will carry it
to the attention of your priority audience. You'll use
communications tactics that are credible in the eyes of the
receiver, and effective in reaching him or her. You'll also want
tactics that stand a good chance of moving opinion in that
target audience, on the topic at issue, in your direction.
Fortunately, there are many communications tactics to choose
from: newsworthy announcements, letters-to-the-editor, news
releases, radio and newspaper interviews, brochures, speeches
and on and on.
Now, you're back to the monitoring mode as you interact once
again with members of the key target audience. With your
communications tactics hammering away, you keep one eye
peeled for signs of target audience opinion shifts in your direction.
The other eye, (and ears) stay alert for any references by print
and broadcast media, or other local thought leaders to your
carefully prepared message.
The bottom line is, are perceptions and behaviors within the
target audience being modified? If not, adjustments to your
communications tactics – often a big increase in, and wider
selection -- must be made. Your message may also need to
be sharpened and its factual basis strengthened.
Gradually, you'll begin to notice changes in opinion starting
to appear along with a growing receptiveness to those messages
of yours. This is real progress.
Should you still need encouragement to hang in there with
your brand new public relations program, consider this. A
single issue – for example, a potentially dangerous, unattended
perception among a key audience -- can spread like wildfire
nudging any business closer to failure than success.
That statistic alone should make you feel pretty good about
Doubt PR's Clout? Don't!
Done right, PR helps modify the behaviors of your most important target audiences, and that can spell S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L.
Yes, Public Relations Can Help Your Business
Do you worry about certain behaviors among your most important audiences because those
behaviors are vital to achieving your objectives? If your answer is yes, you need
What Is "Best Practice" Public Relations?
Best practice public relations is that stays true to its fundamental