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Are You PR-Challenged?

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Word count is 870 ... guidel

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your
ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would
be appreciated at Word count is 870
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

Are You PR-Challenged?


You won’t be if you accept a very simple premise. Here,
in just two sentences, is your pathway to effective public
relations. A pathway that lets you target the kind of stake-
holder behavior change that leads directly to achieving
your objectives.

People act on their own perception of the facts
before them, which leads to predictable behaviors
about which something can be done. 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 accomplished.

And what behavior changes they can be. Legislators who see
you as a dynamic member of their business public; prospects
deciding to patronize your enterprise; customers buying from
you again and again; local thoughtleaders strengthening their
relations with you; employees who value their employer, and
on an on.

What it boils down to, is that people in your marketing area
behave like everyone else – they take actions based on their
perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your

So, you need to deal promptly and effectively with those
perceptions by doing what you need to do to reach them with
the right message. Your job is to persuade your stakeholders
to your way of thinking and move them to take actions that
lead to the success of your organization.

Here’s one way to do exactly that.

Who are those important outside audiences whose behaviors
have the most positive OR negative impacts on your enterprise?
List them in the order of how negatively or positively those
impacts affect you.

Working on the target audience in first place on your list, let’s
look at whether any of those perceptions out there are likely
to morph into behaviors that can hurt your organization.

Assuming you don’t want to make a large investment in a
professional opinion survey, you and your colleagues must
interact with members of that target audience and ask many
questions: “What have you heard about us and our products
or services? Have you done business with us? Do you have a
bone to pick with us? Keep an eye peeled for hesitant or
evasive responses, and watch for any negative undertones.
Notice a misconception, inaccuracy or rumor? Jump on it
right away!

The data you gather from such interaction lets you form
a specific public relations goal. In other words, you get to
decide exactly what perception out there you would like to
alter so that it improves your chances of getting the behavior
change you really want.

Now, unless you select the right strategy that tells you how
to pursue that goal, nothing’s going to happen. You’re lucky
there are just three strategies to choose from when you’re
dealing with matters of opinion: create perception/opinion
where there isn’t any, change existing opinion, or reinforce it.
And be certain that your choice matches the needs of your
goal. For example, if you aim to correct an inaccuracy, you
need a strategy that changes existing opinion, not one that
reinforces it.

As you might expect, you must now prepare the message that,
hopefully, will alter the offending perception and lead to the
desired behavior. Since it must clearly address the untruth,
inaccuracy, rumor or misconception in a believable and
compelling way, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Oh,
the message must also be persuasive as it makes the case for
your point of view.

Keep in mind that, to be successful, your message usually
must alter what a lot of people may have come to believe.
It’s a big job, but as said in literary circles, “it’s worth the

How do you get this stunning message of yours to the right
eyes and ears among members of your target audience?

Right! Communications tactics will do the job, and there are
a ton of them at your disposal. From newsletters, press
releases and letters-to-the-editor to brochures, consumer
briefings, personal meetings, print and broadcast interviews
and many others.

Soon, the question will arise, are we making any progress?
At this point, you are wise to go back to those members
of your target audience and ask the same questions you asked
during your original perception monitoring session.

This time, however, you’re looking for evidence that perceptions
are being altered in your direction.

If you are the impatient type, you can always increase the beat
by adding new communications tactics and increasing their
frequencies. It’s also worth re-examining your hard-won message
not only for clarity and persuasiveness, but for factual
effectiveness as well.

When it becomes obvious that the program has, in fact, persuaded many target audience stakeholders towards your way of thinkingFree Reprint Articles, you have a
public relations success on your hands.


Source: Free Articles from


Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to general management
personnel about the fundamental premise of public relations.
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. Visit:

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