How Would You Ever Know
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How Would You Ever Know?
Your important outside audiences behave in ways that stop you
from reaching your objectives.
Because you haven’t paid much attention to their care and
feeding, is it likely you’ll know they are placing a hammer lock
on your business in time to limit the damage?
With some luck, you might save the day, but why let matters
fester until you have a bad situation like this on your hands?
Especially when a proven sequence can help you alter the
perceptions, and thus behaviors of your most important external
audiences making the achievement of your business objectives
Take a quick look at what makes it all possible, the fundamental
premise of public relations:
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 perception
by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action those
people whose behaviors affect the organization, the public
relations mission is accomplished
Now, put it into action this way.
First, think about those groups of people whose behaviors can
really affect your organization. The test for placing a key,
external audience on your action list is this: does its behavior
affect your business in any way. If the answer is yes, list it.
Let’s take the target audience at the top of that list and work it
over. Obviously, you need to know how members of that
audience perceive you, and that requires that you interact with
those members and ask a lot of questions. This is the monitoring
How do they think of your organization, if at all? Do they have
any problems with you? Do negative thoughts creep into the
conversation? Are misconceptions, inaccurate beliefs, even
As unsettling as these data may be, the silver lining is the fact
that they let you establish your public relations goal. Straighten
out that misconception, or correct the inaccurate belief, or
knock down that rumor once and for all.
Reaching your goal isn’t going to happen if you don’t have
the right strategy. You’re fortunate that there are really only
three strategy choices: create perceptions (opinion) where there
isn’t any, change existing opinion, or reinforce it.
Now comes a real challenge – writing the message that will
alter that perception. It must make a compelling case, so think
about it carefully. In order to persuade, it must state clearly that
the offending perception is not a true perception. Instead, you
lay out the truth in a credible manner, keeping in mind your
create-change-reinforce strategy choices.
Getting that message to members of your target audience is the
least complicated step in the problem solving sequence. There
are dozens of communications tactics available to you that can
reach those members. They range from open houses,
announcement luncheons, press releases and speeches to articles,
emails and newspaper and radio interviews, and many others.
Are you making any progress? Only way to tell is to go back to
other members of your target audience and ask the same
questions all over again. Only now, you watch carefully for signs
that their perceptions reflect the corrections contained in your
If you’re not satisfied with the movement in perception, you
should consider using a wider selection of communications
tactics with a proven record of reaching that audience. You
might want to use them more frequently to increase their impact.
Also, your message should be evaluated again for impact and
Obviously, if you pay regular attention to your most important
external audiences, you will be aware that certain behaviors are
beginning to exert a negative impact on your organization.
Using a proven sequence like this to deal with those impacts
insures that you will always be aware of brewing target
audience behaviors that could hurt your organization.
Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks about the fundamental
premise of public relations. He has authored 245 articles on the
subject which are listed at EzineArticles.com, click Expert Authors,
click Robert A. Kelly. 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. Kelly holds a bachelor of science degree from
Columbia University, major in public relations.
mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com