Really? You mean there are NO perceptions and behaviors
peculiar to that company's outside audiences that would help
or hinder it in the pursuit of its objectives?
Wow! I need to know more about a company that can ignore
what its key external publics perceive about the company
AND how they behave. I need to know how such a company can
disregard serious negative behaviors by people who make up an
influential external audience, and still reach its business objectives!
In fact, it would have to be a miracle! I don't buy it because it
The business world doesn't believe that's possible either
because it needs public relations big time, and they show it
How? By staying in touch with their prime external publics and
carefully monitoring their perceptions about the company, their
feelings about any current topic at issue, AND the behaviors that
Possibly there is an angle here for your business.
Now, with what has been learned about that audience's feelings
and beliefs, the public relations goal, corrective if needed - for
example, a specific behavior change -- can be established.
Which then requires that a strategy be identified. There are just
three choices here, create opinion where none exists, change
existing opinion, or reinforce it.
It's a logical sequence. With the strategy now set, we need
persuasive messages with a good chance of moving perceptions
(and thus behaviors) in the organization's direction. And we
make sure the messages talk not only to the current topic at
issue, but any misconceptions encountered during our
information gathering, and to any problems that might be
What will we do with our new messages? We'll carry them to
the attention of our priority audience. We'll use communications
tactics that are credible in the eyes of the receiver, effective in
reaching him or her. We'll also want tactics that stand a good
chance of moving opinion in that target audience, on the topic
at issue, in the direction of the industry's position..
Fortunately, there are dozens of communications tactics to
choose from: newsworthy announcements, letters-to-the-editor,
news releases, radio and newspaper interviews, brochures,
speeches and on and on.
At this point, we're back to the monitoring mode as we interact
once again with members of the key target audience. With our
communications tactics hammering away, we keep one
eye peeled for signs of target audience opinion shifts in the
industry's direction. The other eye, (and ears) stay alert for
any references by print and broadcast media, or other local
thoughtleaders, to our carefully prepared messages.
Our bottom line is, are perceptions and behaviors within the
target audience being modified? If not, adjustments to both
message and communications tactics - often a big increase in,
and wider selection of tactics -- must be made.
Gradually, you'll begin to notice changes in opinion starting to
appear along with a growing receptiveness to those messages of
yours. This is real progress.
Should you still need encouragement to hang in there with your
brand new public relations program, consider this. A single issue -
for example, a potentially dangerous, unattended perception
among a key audience -- can spread like wildfire nudging any
business closer to failure than success.
Now, don't you feel better about public relations?
Please feel free to publish this article and resource box
in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website.
A copy would be appreciated at bobkelly@TNI.net.
Robert A. Kelly ? 2005.
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 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.
Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com; bobkelly@TNI.net