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Want PR's Full Value?

Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, ... offline ... or website. A copy would be ... at ... Word count is 860 ... 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 860 including guidelines and resource box.
Robert A. Kelly © 2003.

Want PRís Full Value?

Make sure somebody is worrying about those outside
audience behaviors you need to help reach your objectives.

And I mean the kind of behaviors you like: prospective
buyers browsing your services or products; specifying
sources or major donors thinking about you; more frequent
repeat purchases; new proposals for joint ventures or
strategic alliances; elected officials who increasingly
view you as a mover and shaker in the business,
non-profit or association communities.

All doable when you base your public relations program
on a reality such as this: 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 the very people
whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public
relations mission is accomplished.

Your payoff is the kind of key stakeholder behavior change
that leads directly to achieving your objectives.

Hereís one way to make it happen.

Consider those outside audiences whose actions you know
have a serious impact on your organization. Then put them
in order of how badly those impacts affect you. We can
work right now on the first audience on that list.

The obvious question is, how do members of that target
audience perceive your organization? To find out, you and
your colleagues are going to have to meet with audience
members and ask such questions as, ďDo you have an
opinion about our organization? How much do you
know about us? Have you ever had dealings with us?
Were they satisfactory?Ē

While you monitor those perceptions, be sure to stay alert
to negative comments, and even to suspicious tones of
voice in the responses. Watch carefully for untruths, false
assumptions, inaccuracies, misconceptions or hurtful
rumors which, left unattended, could do you some damage.

With that response data in hand, you can decide exactly
which problem is the most severe, then establish it as your
public relations goal. For instance, correct a false
assumption, clarify a misconception, or spike a rumor
thatís just dead wrong.

Every goal needs a strategy showing what needs to be
done, if that goal is to be achieved. When it comes to
matters of perception and opinion, there are just three
strategy choices available to you: change existing
perception, reinforce it, or create perception/opinion
where none may exist. Be careful that the strategy you
select is a good fit with your public relations goal.

Now, itís time to sit down at the word processor and
prepare the all-important message to do the heavy lifting
and alter the perception/opinion of that key target audience.

But it canít be a simple declarative sentence. It must be
both compelling AND persuasive. At the same time, it
must be crystal-clear as to exactly which untruth, false
assumption or misconception you wish to correct, and why.
The facts you use must be not only truthful and solid, but
logical and believable if the message is to be seen as
credible by members of the target audience, and move
their perception in your direction.

In case of special sensitivity, you may wish to piggyback
the message on other communications tactics so as to
avoid the showcase effect of a separate announcement.

So, the perception monitoring phase is complete, the public
relations goal is set, and the proper strategy applied. Now,
you need a delivery system to carry your message to the
right eyes and ears among your target audience. And
thatís what communications tactics do. Luckily, there are
dozens of them ready to help you. They range from
community briefings, press releases, emails and speeches
to letters-to-the-editor, personal contacts, open houses,
broadcast and newspaper interviews and so many others.
Only caveat is, make certain each tactic you choose has a
proven record for reaching people like those in your target

Youíll soon be on the lookout for signs that your public
relations effort is succeeding. Those signs will be found
by once again monitoring target audience perceptions.
Youíll ask questions similar to those you asked during the
first perception monitoring session. But now, you want to
see signs that audience perceptions have moved as you

Of course you can accelerate the process, and increase the
impact, by expanding the number and variety of
communications tactics youíre using. And, to the same end,
you can also increase their frequency.

You can best realize public relationsí full value when, in factComputer Technology Articles,
somebody DOES worry about managing the effort around key
stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving
your organizational objectives.


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Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit
and association managers 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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