Yes indeed! If you are a young person who has decided
that a career in public relations will be your Caviar and
Champagne in life, here are four situations in which you
do not want to find yourself:
1. You confuse the basic function of public relations with sub-parts that make up the whole like publicity, crisis management or employee communications.
2. You feel unsure in approaching public relations problems, then uncertain about what counsel to give your employer/client.
3. As the years pass, you rely on career-long misconceptions about public relations but forge ahead anyway advising the employer/client ineffectively sometimes with damaging, if not dangerous counsel.
4. You realize too late that you have gone through your entire career without a firm grasp of what public relations is all about.
Newcomers can avoid those pitfalls by grasping early-on
The Rosetta Stone of public relations, i.e., a guide to
understanding the discipline and its core strength. Namely,
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 lead to achieving an
Which is why, when public relations goes on to successfully
create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching,
persuading and moving-to-desired-action those people whose
behaviors affect the organization, it accomplishes its mission.
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. And
that means public relations professionals must modify
somebody's behavior if they are to help hit the employer/client's
objective and earn a paycheck. All else are but means to that end.
And here's one way to get there:
-- identify the problem or challenge
-- identify target audiences
-- set the public relations goal
-- set the public relations strategy
-- prepare persuasive messages
-- select/implement key communications tactics
-- monitor progress
-- and the end game? Meet your own behavior modification goal.
A bonus: you are using a near-perfect public relations
performance measurement. I mean 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
So, as a beginner, can you expect to avoid the four pitfalls
listed above? Yes, and here's why:
-- With proper preparation, you will not confuse action tactics with the basic mission of public relations because you will know precisely what each is and just what fits where in the public relations problem solving sequence.
-- You will feel more confident about providing counsel to the employer/client because the public relations problem at hand can be clearly identified allowing you to select solutions that obviously fit into the action sequence outlined above. You will identify your target audiences
because you will know exactly who your employer/client wants to reach, and the necessary action tactics will then be self-evident.
-- You realize that you have gone through your entire career WITH a firm, successful grasp of what public relations is all about.
Of course, on the way you will also nurture the relationships
between your target audiences and your employer/client's
business by burnishing the reputation of the organization,
its service and products. You will do your best to persuade
those target audiences to do what your employer/client wants
them to do. And while seeking public understanding and
acceptance of that employer/client, you'll insure that your
joint activities not only comply with the law, but clearly
serve the public interest. Then, you will pull out all tactical
stops to actually move those individuals to action. And your
employer/client will be pleased that you have brought matters
along to this point.
But when will that employer/client of yours be fully satisfied
with the public relations results you have produced? Only
when your "reach, persuade and move-to-desired-action efforts
have produced that visible modification in the behaviors of
those target audiences you, and they wish to influence.
In my view, this is the fundamental premise of public relations,
its central, strategic function and the basic context in which
you must operate in your pursuit of a successful and satisfying
public relations career.
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