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Now, it’s time to select actual perception to be altered, which then becomes your public relations goal. Naturally, you want to correct any untruths, inaccuracies, misconceptions or false assumptions.
Kind of goes without saying that a PR goal without a strategy to show you how to get there, is like a sailor’s sandwich without knockwurst. As you select one of three strategies especially constructed to create perception or opinion where there may be none, or change existing perception, or reinforce it, what you want to do is insure that goal and your new strategy dovetail. You don’t want to pick “change existing perception” when current perception is just right suggesting a “reinforce” strategy.
At this juncture, you create a compelling message carefully structured to alter your key target audience’s perception, as directed by your public relations goal.
Your message must be a grabber and crystal-clear about what perception needs clarification or correction, and why. Of course you must be truthful and your position logically explained and believable if it is to hold attention of members of that target audience, and actually move perception in your direction.
Then try this. Combine your corrective message with another news announcement or presentation which may provide more credibility by downplaying need for such a correction.
Believe it or not, I call communications tactics you will use to move your message to attention of that key external audience, “beasts of burden” because they must carry your persuasive new thoughts to eyes and ears of those important outside people.
You will be glad to know that a long list of such tactics awaits your pleasure. It includes letters-to-the-editor, brochures, press releases and speeches. Or, you might choose radio and newspaper interviews, personal contacts, facility tours or customer briefings. The only selection requirement is that communications tactics you choose have a record of reaching people just like members of your key target audience.
A fortunate factor is, things can always be accelerated by adding more communications tactics, AND by increasing their frequencies.
Questions will soon arise with regard to progress. Of course, you will already be hard at work remonitoring perceptions among your target audience members to test just how good your PR program really is. Using questions similar to those used during your earlier monitoring session, you’ll now be alert for signs that audience perceptions are beginning to move in your general direction.
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.
There’s never a happier moment in practice of public relations than when data shows that you have achieved kind of key stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving your department, division or subsidiary objectives.
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