behaviors.

In PR You Pay When You Stray

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including guidelines and box. Robert A. Kelly © 2006.

In PR, You Pay When You Stray

Don’t let yourself be diverted by communications tactics

playtime. You know, straying from the main public relations

game plan by spending too much time juggling press releases

versus radio interviews, brochures versus op-eds or speeches

versus newspaper interviews.

Those “beasts of burden” will come in handy at the right time.

Right now, there are more important fish to fry.

The main public relations consideration must be

attracting the support of those external audiences whose

behaviors have the most effect on your enterprise. But you

must do it by first achieving the positive changes you need

in their perceptions and, thus, behaviors.

You get both using this strategic approach to public relations

which means your chances of achieving your organizational

objectives are clearly enhanced.

It all starts with the fundamental premise of public relations

shown here.

“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 usually is accomplished.”

The core strength of those comments lies in the behavior

changes that can take place among your key, outside audiences.

When those changes occur – and the combined perceptions

of members of that important external “public” begin to move

in your direction – it can spell public relations success.

For instance, citing strong factual evidence, a spokesperson

manages to clearly convince activists gathering around a busy

downtown ticketing location that in NO way does the company

support the position they are alleging. They finally clear out

limiting the damage such a disruption could have caused and

saving the organization cold, hard cash.

What happened? The spokesperson managed to change the

perception of those activists which, predictably, led to the

desired change in their behavior. In other words, a successful

use of public relations’ fundamental premise.

While public relations can bring real power to bear, and while

there’s a well-worn path leading to each success, truth is, you

can’t change perceptions, and thus behaviors of your important

outside audiences if you are not in touch with them on a regular

and meaningful basis.

That’s why it’s so important to interact with members of each

target audience, and ask questions. What do you think of

our services, our programs, or our products? Are you satisfied?

Listen carefully for signs of a misconception or a factual

inaccuracy. Is there a belief alive out there that simply isn’t

true? Do you detect a hurtful rumor that must be dealt with?

The answers you receive let you establish your public relations

goal. For example, correct that inaccuracy, clear up that

misconception, or get out the facts in order to neutralize that

rumor.

But how will you actually reach that goal? With a clear and

urgent strategy.

Fortunately, in dealing with perception/opinion, we have

just three options available to us. Create perception/opinion

where there is none, change existing perception, or reinforce it.

The goal you established will quickly tell you which strategy

choice you must make.

But, of course, what you say to that target audience, in pursuit

of your public relations goal, is crucial. Your message must be

persuasive, compelling and clear as a mountain stream. It also

must be credible and believable, which means truthful in all

detail. It should also address the particular inaccuracy,

misconception or rumor head on and not allow room for any

further misunderstandings.

Now, how do you get that carefully chiseled message to the

attention of members of that key, target audience? I still call

them “beasts of burden” because they carry messages from

Point A to Point B. Communications tactics is the answer,

and you have a huge selection from which to choose.

Everything from open houses, contests, news releases and

speeches to brochures, community briefings, letters-to-the-

editor, emails, radio/TV and newspaper interviews, and

lots more.

Sooner rather than later, you will wonder whether you’re

making any progress. And the only realistic way to nail that

down is to go back to members of that target audience again

and ask them the same questions all over again.

The big difference this time around is, you’re looking for signs

that opinion/perceptions have begun to change in your

direction. By that I mean clear indications that the miscon-

ception is clearing up, or the inaccuracy has been corrected,

or that a negative impression is slowly turning around.

Truth is, that’s when this strategic, and powerful approach to

public relations – supported by appropriate tactical firepower

– delivers the altered perceptions and modified behaviors

promised in the fundamental premise of public relations.

end

Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and

association managers about using the fundamental premise of public

relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has authored 245

articles on the subject which are listed at EzineArticles.com, click

Expert Author, 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. He holds a bachelor of science degree from

Columbia University, major in public relations.

mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com

Author:.

Bob Kelly counsels and writes for business, non-profit, government agency and association managers about using the fundamental premise of public relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has published 245 articles on the subject which are listed at EzineArticles.com, click ExpertAuthor, 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...

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