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Public Relations: Use Its Core Strength

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Public Relations: Use Its Core Strength

Do you take the core strength of public relations into

account as you manage those communications tactics?

Because if you don't, you're missing the sweet-spot of

public relations. The communications tactics you employ

must work together to create desired behavioral change in

certain groups of people important to the success of your

organization. In the end, a sound public relations strategy

combined with effective tactics leads directly to the bottom

line - perceptions altered, behaviors modified, employer/

client satisfied.

The fact is that NO organization - business, non-profit

or public sector - can succeed today unless the behaviors

of its most important audiences are in-sync with the

organization's objectives.

For your organization, that means public relations

professionals must modify somebody's behavior if they

are to help hit your objective and earn a paycheck –

everything else is a means to that end.

Which is why, when public relations goes on to successfully

create, change or reinforce public opinion by reaching,

persuading and moving-to-action those people whose behaviors

affect the organization, it usually accomplishes its mission.

How can we be so certain? Question: how can you measure

the results of an activity more accurately than when you

clearly achieve the goal you set at the beginning of that

activity? You can't. It's pure success when you meet that

goal.

Public relations is no different. The client/employer wants

our help in altering counterproductive perceptions among

key audiences which almost always change behaviors in a

way that helps him or her get to where they want to be.

Now, to achieve that goal, public relations practitioners

must be skilled in many tactical disciplines. Everything

from media relations, public speaking and a dozen kinds

of writing to financial communications, special events,

issue tracking and crisis management, to name just a few.

But too often, the tendency is to see little beyond a tactic's

immediate impact. For example, a speech and how it was

received, a news release and how it was picked up and

presented in a newspaper or on TV, or a special event and

the audience's reaction.

Of course those reactions are understandable and shouldn't be

lightly dismissed. But the question also must be asked, to

what end are we applying those tactics?

Ask yourself this question: do we employ public relations

tactics for the sheer pleasure of writing news releases, running

special events, doing surveys or booking speeches? Obviously,

the answer is no. We employ public relations so that, at the

end of the day, somebody's behavior gets modified.

That leads us directly to the core strength of public relations:

people act on their perception of the facts; those perceptions

lead to certain behaviors; and something can be done about

those perceptions and behaviors that leads to achieving an

organization's objectives.

To assess those behavior changes and, thus, the degree of

success the core public relations program has achieved, look

for evidence that your efforts have actually changed behavior.

Signs should begin showing up via Internet chatter, in print

and broadcast news coverage, reports from the field, letters-to-

the-editor, consumer and customer reactions, shareholder

letters and comments from community leaders. Consider doing

informal polls of employees, retirees, industrial neighbors

and local businesses as well as locating feedback from

suppliers as well as reaction from elected officials, union

leaders and government agencies.

The point of this article is that the core strength places

a special burden on each tactic selected to carry the

message to a target audience: does it/will it make a tangible,

action-producing contribution towards altering target audience

perceptions and behaviors? If not, it should be dropped and

replaced with a tactic that does.

That way, only the strongest tactics will be used allowing public

relations to apply its core strength to the challenge at hand:

create, change or reinforce public opinion by reaching,

persuading and moving-to-action those people whose behaviors

affect the organization the most.

What do I believe the employer/client wants from us? I believe

s/he wants us to apply our special skills in a way that helps

achieve his or her business objectives. But no matter what

strategic plan we create to solve a problem, no matter what

tactical program we put in place, at the end of the day we

must modify somebody's behavior if we are to earn

our money.

But the best part is that when the behavioral changes become

apparent, and meet the program's original behavior modification

goal, three things have occurred.

One, the public relations program is a success. Two, by

achieving the behavioral goal you set at the beginning, you

are using a dependable and accurate public relations perfor-

mance measurement. And three, when our "reach, persuade

and move-to-action" efforts produce a visible, and desired,

modification in the behaviors of those people you wish to

influence, you are using public relations' core strength to its

very best advantage.

end

Bob Kelly counsels and writes for 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: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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