Why? Because they have access to world class public relations
no matter how small they are.
That's one way of saying, take care of your key target audiences,
Mr/Ms small business owner, and they'll take care of you.
What's that based on? Why the fundamental premise of public
relations, of course.
"We know that people act on their own perception of the
facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors
about which something can be done. So, when we create,
change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading
and moving-to-desired-action those people whose behaviors
affect the organization, the public relations mission is
And here's the first step towards putting that "magic" to
work for your small business. Look closely at those outside
audiences whose behaviors actually help or hinder your
particular business. Decide which is your KEY target
audience and concentrate on it for starters.
Next, mix in with members of that audience - we call it a
"public" - ask questions and clearly monitor the answers.
Anybody have a problem with your business? Notice any
inaccurate perceptions or mistaken beliefs about your
products or services? Are there misconceptions about your
business involving pricing or quality? Do you see any kind
of problems brewing down the line?
The answers to these questions should be grouped, then
prioritized so that you apply limited resources to the most
threatening problem areas.
The answers will lead to setting a clarifying public relations
goal. Such as restoring understanding and acceptance by
correcting that inaccurate perception; solving that frequently
mentioned pricing glitch; or clearing up that misconception
about service quality.
Now you need a strategy to help you reach that public relations
As luck would have it, in public relations we choose from just
three basic strategies: create perception (opinion) where none
may exist; change existing perception; or reinforce it.
So, you have gathered input from your key target audience,
and you've established a public relations goal and an enabling
But there's still work to do. You need a persuasive message to
move opinion in your direction, but not just any message.
This one must aim squarely at setting down the truth about the misconception, or inaccuracy, or even an unfortunate rumor.
The message must be crystal-clear, to the point, and believable.
After all, there's a lot riding on it.
Of course, if you stopped right here, you'd never reach your
public relations goal because no one would have seen or heard
You need "beasts of burden," otherwise known as communications
tactics, to carry that superb message of yours to the right eyeballs
And what a choice of communications tactics you have! Face-
to-face meetings, emailings, feature article interviews, facility
tours, press releases, speeches, open houses, consumer briefings,
brochures, letters-to-the-editor and on and on.
But, at some point, you'll be curious as to whether you're
making progress towards your public relations goal.
And that means tracking print and broadcast media coverage,
but especially interacting once again with members of your
key target audience. Only this time, you'll be looking for
"changes of heart" with regard to the particular misconception,
rumor or inaccuracy targeted by your public relations goal.
As you again speak with audience members, do you notice
movement in your direction? Are there signs that your message
and communications tactics have had a positive effect on people's
understanding of the issue in question?
Yes? Your public relations effort looks like a success!
No? Back to the drawing board to ratchet up increased, and
possibly redirected communications tactics, AND a reappraisal
of the message itself. Could it be more pointed, more aggressive,
clearer? Try it out on colleagues and watch their reactions.
Sounds like a lot of work?
Sure. But when survival could become an issue, isn't it worth it?
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