If you leave a star player sitting on the bench, you could be
Look at it this way. Because you push hard to reach your sales
and marketing objectives, you need the help of your top external
If you agree, what are you doing to insure their support? At the
least, you need to prioritize those key target audiences and work
them hard from the top down because few of us can do them all
When I say work them hard from the top, I mean start by
monitoring carefully how members of that most important target
audience feel about your business. You must interact with them
and ask a lot of questions.
Notice any negative feelings? How about misconceptions that
need fixing? Any inaccurate understandings of your products
and services? In short, ANY perceptions about your business
that you need to alter?
With information like that in hand, you can set your public
relations goal. It could be as simple as this: clear up that
misconception, explain away that inaccurate understanding,
or respond clearly and positively to feelings of uncertainty.
So, with your goal all set, what's next? Right! You
select a strategy. Since you have only three choices, it will
be an easy decision. Create opinion (perceptions) where
none exist, change existing opinion, or reinforce it. Let the
goal you established guide your strategy selection.
Now you go for the meat on the bone, your message. And it
will need to be a specific and compelling message that clearly
and creditably lays out, for example, why the rumor is dead
wrong, or why that belief about the company is not only
inaccurate, but unfair. In brief, the message must be both
crystal-clear and very believable.
But even a first-class message does no good sitting on a shelf.
It needs aggressive communications tactics to carry it to the
eyes and ears of members of your key target audience, whose
behaviors you wish to alter.
Fortunately for all concerned, there are dozens of
communications tactics available to you. They range from
emailings, speeches, press releases and face-to-face meetings
to broadcast interviews, consumer briefings and open houses
and a lot of others.
But the moment of truth arrives when you remonitor how
members of your key target audience NOW perceive you and
your business. Again, you must ask plenty of questions while
attempting to highlight how, and if perceptions have been
altered by your communication. What about that frighteningly
inaccurate perception of your business - better than before?
And the specific misconception that most of your products
are made in South East Asian sweat shops. Any improvement
there? And the small number of interviewees who had never
even heard of your firm. Has that number been reduced?
If insufficient progress is noted, remedies include a heavier,
and wider concentration on communications tactics. As would
a review of, and adjustment to your message content.
The prize remains the same. Altered perceptions leading to
desired behaviors that directly contribute to the success of
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