Sound Like Your Situation

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Sound Like Your Situation?

by Robert A. Kelly

What a shame! Potentially productive public relations people

resting on their oars in a large organization. Just kind of

tinkering with tactics and leaving target audience perceptions

(and behaviors) to pretty much do their own thing.

Big pain on the way!

Unattended, key public perceptions can morph into painful

behaviors that hurt the organization.

Just plain shouldn’t happen.

In military-speak, all it takes is some ongoing “intel.”

First, insist that that potentially productive public relations

team get busy by prioritizing your most important audiences.

They can’t work on everything at once. So for starters, they

can identify that really key target audience.

Then monitor perceptions by interacting with some folks who

make up that audience, and do it on a regular basis. Same with

other important external publics, when time allows.

What’s on their minds? Any negative feelings? See or hear

anything that needs correcting? Is there a problem on the

horizon that may come your way?

The answers to those questions help your crew form the public

relations goal – altered perceptions leading to altered behaviors.

For example, correct the impression that you sell shoddy

merchandise; or a perception that you favor one particular

ethnic group; or a belief that your services aren’t worth the

price you charge.

Setting the public relations goal let’s your public relations

team focus on which strategy they want to employ to reach

that goal.

There’s not a big choice. In fact, just three are available.

They can choose between creating perceptions (opinions)

when none exist, or changing existing opinion, or reinforcing it.

But their ammo will be the persuasive messages they

prepare for communication to that key target audience.

Messages designed to affect perceptions in a way that leads

to the behaviors you desire.

The message must outline what the problem is and what

some members of that target audience believe. Then it must

clearly set down the truth of the matter omitting any

exaggeration or hype. In other words, it must be believable,

credible and especially persuasive and compelling.

Enter “beasts of burden,” the communications tactics your

people will use to move your message to the attention of

members of your key, target audience.

There is a vast array of communications tactics from which

your public relations people can choose. They include

everything from face-to-face meetings, emailings, op-eds and

news releases to special events, speeches, trade show

appearances and town hall meetings.

Wait a minute, not so fast! How will your public relations

team measure progress? Best way is to put on the monitor

hats again and fan out among members of the target audience.

Using the persuasive message as a guide, are respondents

aware of the message? If so, what is their reaction to it?

Does your crew find evidence that prior opinion (perception)

has moved in your direction? If so, to what extent? Was the create/change/reinforce strategy choice correct, or must it be

adjusted? Are refinements in the message in order, meaning

there is still considerable work to be done?

Obviously, the problem solving sequence must be carefully

retuned as progress is made in order to keep it on target –

alter perception, change behavior, and achieve not only the

desired, but successful public relations result.

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 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

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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