I say public relations can be a matter of survival for your
So, to me, making your business a success is a lot over
which to raise much ado!
Especially when the very people who hold your future in
their hands - your key, target audiences - may harbor
negative perceptions likely to hurt you by turning into
In the first place, you should already be monitoring those
potentially damaging perceptions by regularly interacting
with those important publics. Why let them stew until they
By letting that kind of personal opinion monitoring identify
what's on the minds of those important people, you can
decide on a specific behavior you wish to see come about,
one that flows from a specific perception.
Progress!! You've just set your public relations goal - create
a specific behavior from an equally specific perception.
Let's try it out! To do so, you need a strategy to implement
that goal. Fortunately, we have just three strategies from
which to choose: create opinion (perceptions) if none already
exist, change existing opinion, or reinforce it.
Let's decide to "create opinion." First step: we need to
prepare a persuasive message. It will be designed to create
awareness of your products and services among your key,
target audience. Or it might explain your position on a con-
tentious issue with which some members of your target
Now make sure the message is focused on their perceptions;
that it carefully explains the facts as you see them; and that
the message is believable. Read it to a colleague to check
that it meets these persuasion tests.
Now, how do you get this persuasive message over which
you have worked so hard, into the consciousness of those
folks who make up your key, target audience?
You use our tried and tested "beasts of burden," communications
tactics designed to carry messages to the right ears and eyeballs.
Luckily you have a basketful at your disposal. Speeches,
emailings, news releases, personal meetings, editorial board
interviews, special events and scores of others.
Are we succeeding in moving opinion among our target
audience in our direction?
We'll never know if the effort is succeeding unless we
regularly monitor the changing perceptions and behaviors
of that #1 target audience. First, we want to know if our
message was received, then how many remember seeing or
hearing it, and then how many can recall its content, our
Finally, what we need to see is the perceptions and behaviors
- i.e., opinions - of the target public moving in our direction.
When we do, we can say with assurance that our public
relations program is succeeding.
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 ? 2003.
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