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PR Is Just Smart Business

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Net word count is 775 ... gu

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your
ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would
be appreciated at Net word count is 775
including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

PR Is Just Smart Business

The name of the game is doing our part to achieve manage-
ment’s objectives. And public relations best practice – properly
applied – does just that.

How? The driving force is public relations’ fundamental
premise which promises to harness your most important
external audiences in a way that actually helps reach those
very same business objectives.

Just look at that premise: “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.”

It strongly suggests that without the understanding of who
and what your organization is all about, the behaviors of
those important external audiences may hinder your
efforts and, left unattended, tie your organization in knots.

This sentence sums up the bottom line. When public relations
alters key audience perceptions, then reaches, persuades and
moves them to an action you desire, it clearly helps achieve
management’s objectives.

Do you enjoy that kind of support? You can if you employ a
program along these lines.

Decide at the start which outside audiences display behaviors
that most impact your organization, and list them. We’ll
concentrate here on that #1 external audience you believe has
the greatest effect on your operations. Of course, other
audiences may need your attention as well.

The obvious first step is to find out how members of that
“public,” as we call them, actually perceive your organization.
The best and quickest way to do this is to interact with those
people and ask questions that probe their perceptions. Listen
carefully for negative observations and remain alert to factual
errors, inaccuracies, misperceptions and even rumors.

These responses enable you to create a public relations goal
aimed directly at correcting the damaging perceptions,
especially misconceptions and inaccuracies.

Now, you get to select one of three available opinion strategies
that show you how you will reach your goal: create opinion
where there may be none; change existing opinion, or
reinforce it. Your public relations goal will lead you to the
proper strategy selection.

The meat of the program is usually the message you will send
to members of your target audience. After all, that message
will be charged with the task of altering people’s perceptions,
and that means it must be persuasive and compelling. It must
also be as clear as possible, and contain the facts and figures
needed to repair the perception damage. In short, your message
must be believable. You might also run it by a few members
of your target audience to be sure it has the desired effect on
the perception you are striving to alter.

Moving your message to many members of your #1 external
audience requires aggressive and carefully targeted
communications tactics. Public relations is fortunate to have
dozens of such tactics from which to choose. For example,
radio and newspaper interviews, letters-to-the-editor, face-to-
face meetings and speeches. Or you might select tactics such
as facility tours, brochures, community meetings, special
events and promotional activity.

In due course, after your communications tactics have spread
your message far and wide, you will want to know if you are
making any progress. Experience shows that remonitoring
your target audience is a must.

You will want to ask the same questions of audience members
you used during your data gathering exercise at the start of the

Your objective, however, will be different. Now, you will be
looking for signs that the offending perception has begun to
be altered in the direction you desire. Should more work be
necessary, a possible change in the mix and frequency of your communications tactics can be made. And, of course, you would
want to review your message for clarity, impact and direction,
especially with regard to your supporting facts and figures.

Because we know that predictable behaviors tend to follow
changes in perceptionBusiness Management Articles, your carefully planned public relations
effort is well-positioned to create key audience support for
management initiatives.


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Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks 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.

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