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Now, set your PR goal, one that aims to do something about worst distortions you turned up during your key audience perception monitoring. It could be to straighten out that dangerous misconception, correct that gross inaccuracy, or stop that potentially fatal rumor dead in its tracks.
With your PR goal established, select right strategy, one that tells you how to proceed. But keep in mind that there are only three strategic options available to you when it comes to handling a perception and opinion challenge. Change existing perception, create perception where there may be none, or reinforce it. Since wrong strategy pick will taste like mustard on your pancakes, be certain new strategy fits comfortably with your new public relations goal. You don’t want to select “change” when facts dictate a “reinforce” strategy.
With that homework complete, write a moving message and aim it at members of your target audience. Because crafting action-forcing language to persuade an audience to your way of thinking is tough work, you need your best writer because s/he must create some very special, corrective language. Words that are not only compelling, persuasive and believable, but clear and factual if they are to correct something and shift perception/opinion towards your point of view leading to behaviors you are targeting.
Run it by entire PR team for impact and persuasiveness. Then, select communications tactics most likely to carry your message to attention of your target audience. You can pick from dozens that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. But be sure that tactics you pick are known to reach folks just like your audience members.
You may decide to unveil it before smaller meetings and presentations rather than using higher-profile news releases since a message is often dependent for its credibility on means used to deliver it. Before long, questions about progress will be heard, which tells you and your PR team to get busy on a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. You’ll want to use many of same questions used in first benchmark session. Difference this time is that you will be watching very carefully for signs that bad news perception is being altered in your direction.
Should program begin to slow down, you can always accelerate matters by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.
When it comes down to it, you want your new PR blueprint to persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to success of your department, division or subsidiary.
And, when you think about it, we are fortunate indeed that our key stakeholder audiences behave like everyone else – they act upon their perceptions of facts they hear about you and your operation. Leaving you little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move your key external audiences to actions you desire.
Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to 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. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net Visit:http://www.prcommentary.com