Everything, that is, if you ignore those folks whose behaviors
have the greatest effect on your business.
What those people see and believe about your enterprise, pretty
well determines what their follow-on behaviors will be - for
example, do business with you, or move on to someone else.
Is that what you want? Of course not. So let's do something
While I recognize that there are other factors bearing on the
success of your business, this one is simply too important, and
its impact too severe and too immediate, to ignore.
You get this airplane off the ground by listing your top outside
audiences who, when they like you OR ignore you, you feel it.
In other words, they are groups of people important to you
whom we refer to as target audiences or target publics. The one
MOST important to you, we call your key target audience. And
that's why you must list them in priority order so you know
where you really need to direct your resources.
How do you determine who thinks what about you? Sounds like
work, but you must continually monitor that key target audience
(and probably others). Are you bothered by what they tell you?
Is there a perception problem? If there is, we know it usually
turns into a behavior problem, so something must be done
about it now, at the perception stage.
What you've just done is establish your public relations goal -
a specific behavior flowing from an equally specific perception,
which we'll work on creating starting right now.
Now that you've got a public relations goal, you need a public
relations strategy. Lucky for you (and for all of us), there are
only three possible strategies. Create opinion among that
target audience where there may be none, change existing
opinion, or reinforce it. We've picked "create" so let's
With your goal and strategy in hand, you begin thinking
"messages." And I mean persuasive messages carefully
designed to deal with that perception problem you discovered
when you interacted with your key target audience. Keep
your message focused on correcting that perception problem,
and keep it believable and credible. Try it out on a few
colleagues to see it if really is persuasive.
Now you need a few "beasts of burden," communications
tactics whose job it is to carry those persuasive messages
directly to the attention of the folks who make up that key
target audience of yours.
And there are tons of them from trade show appearances,
awards programs and news releases to speeches, brochures,
radio interviews and face-to-face meetings.
Well, here we are again at the monitoring stage. At the start
of the program, you monitored the feelings and perceptions
of your key target audience so that you could identify the
problem and set your public relations goal and strategy.
Now, you monitor all over again to see what kind of progress
you made. Specifically, you want to know how many
individuals received the message, through what tactics, and
how many are aware of your messages' actual content. Also
gives you a chance to make mid-course corrections by
adjusting both message content and your mix of
Keep the faith! As time goes by, you'll begin noticing signs
of awareness of your business, and a growing receptiveness
to what you have to say. The bottom line, of course, will be
welcome indications that the behaviors you have sought to
modify in your direction are, in fact, doing just that.
In public relations, that spells success!
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