relations.

PRs Big Bang Theory

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PR’s Big Bang Theory

Lots of theories out there about public relations.

Everything from “publicity’s the thing!,” “the care and

feeding of reputations and “sales support is primary” to

“gain and hold public acceptance,” and “issue management’s

the thing.” among many, many others.

But for business, non-profit and association managers, the

big, bang theory of public relations trumps them all when

it alters individual perception leading to changed behaviors

among their key outside audiences, thus helping them

achieve their managerial objectives.

As a manager, you can do exactly the same by doing

something positive about the behaviors of those important

external audiences of yours that MOST affect your operation.

In particular when you persuade those key outside folks to

your way of thinking, then help move them to take actions

that allow your department, division or subsidiary to succeed.

If there’s a secret behind such “big bang” performance, it

probably goes this way: 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 the very people whose behaviors affect the

organization the most, the public relations mission is

accomplished.

A grab-bag of results can occur. The payoff can make your

day: fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures;

customers starting to make repeat purchases; membership

applications on the rise; community leaders beginning to seek

you out; welcome bounces in show room visits; prospects

starting to do business with you; higher employee retention

rates, capital givers or specifying sources beginning to look

your way, and even politicians and legislators starting to view

you as a key member of the business, non-profit or association

communities.

But you’ll need more then zippy special events, slick brochures

and punchy press releases if you really want to get the PR you

paid for.

At the same time, as you no doubt realize, a key plank in your

PR platform requires that your most important outside audiences

really perceive your operations, products or services in a positive

light. This is so vital that your PR people must buy into the

effort from the get-go. Be especially careful that they accept

the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors

that can help or hurt your unit.

How you will gather and monitor opinion by questioning

members of your most important outside audiences will be

of interest to everyone on the team. So take the time to review

the PR blueprint in detail with your staff. Discuss questions

that will be asked: How much do you know about our

organization? How much do you know about our services

or products and employees? Have you had prior contact

with us and were you pleased with the interchange? Have

you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Professional survey people can always gather opinion data

for the perception monitoring phases of your program, IF the

budget is available. But always remember that your PR

people are also in the perception and behavior business and

can pursue the same objective: identify untruths, false

assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions

and any other negative perception that might translate into

hurtful behaviors.

We must say a few words about your all-important public

relations goal. It must speak to the problems that cropped up

during your key audience perception monitoring. Probably,

it will require correcting that gross inaccuracy, straightening

out that dangerous misconception, or doing something about

that damaging rumor.

Because any goal must have a strategy to show you how to

get where you want to go, you get to pick from just three strategic

choices available to handle a perception or opinion challenge:

create perception where there may be none, change the

perception, or reinforce it. By the way, the wrong strategy pick

will taste like onion gravy on your sea scallops, so be certain

the new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal.

For example, you don’t want to select “change” when the facts

dictate a “reinforce” strategy.

To persuade an audience to your way of thinking, you need

words that are compelling, persuasive and believable, as well

as clear and factual. In other words, the right, corrective

phrases. This must be done if you are to correct a perception by

shifting opinion towards your point of view, leading to the desired behaviors.

And to carry your words to the attention of your target audiences,

you need communications tactics likely to reach them. First sit

down again with your communications specialists and read your

message for impact and persuasiveness. Then select from dozens

of available tactics such as speeches, facility tours, emails,

brochures, consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters,

personal meetings and many others. But again, be certain that the

tactics you use are known to reach folks just like your audience

members.

Because the credibility of any message can be called into question

because of its delivery method, think about introducing it to smaller

gatherings rather than using higher-profile communications such

as news releases or talk-show appearances.

At the first mention of progress reports, think of it as your

reminder that the PR team should return to the field for a second

perception monitoring session with members of your external

audience. Asking many of the same questions used in the first

benchmark session, you’ll now be alert for signs that your

communications tactics have worked and that the negative

perception is being altered in your direction.

When things seem to be dragging, and you decide to move

things along a little faster, do so by accelerating your PR

program with a wider selection of communications

tactics AND increased frequencies.

The public relations big bang theory has at its core, the

behaviors of those important outside audiences of yours

that most affect your operation. Namely, the creation of

external stakeholder behavior change leading directly to

achieving your managerial objectives.

And the fastest way to accomplish that is to persuade those

key outside folks to your way of thinking, thus moving them

to take actions that allow your business, non-profit or

association to succeed.

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 written 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, 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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