Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at bobkelly@TNI.net. Word count is 1195 including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2004.
Managers and PR: One Thing Is Clear
As a business, non-profit or association manager, you have a clear choice when you set up your public relations. Arrange your resources to generate a variety of product and service plugs on radio, and in newspapers and in magazines. Or, use a broader, more comprehensive and workable public relations blueprint to alter key external audience perceptions that lead to changed behaviors – behaviors you will need to reach your managerial objectives.
Which is why it also seems clear that your department, division or subsidiary can fail or succeed depending on how well you employ a crucial dynamic like this one: persuade your key external stakeholders with greatest impacts on your organization to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your unit succeed.
Best place to start is with blueprint itself: People act on their own perception of 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 very people whose behaviors affect organization most, public relations mission is accomplished.
As you can see, because they are important, publicity placements are still part of blueprint – they just are not, and should not be tail that wags PR dog.
So, if this approach to public relations is of interest, you may be amazed at what could happen. Fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; Customers starting to make repeat purchases, and even prospects starting to do business with you; welcome bounces in show room visits; rising membership applications, and community leaders beginning to seek you out; new approaches by capital givers and specifying sources not to mention politicians and legislators viewing you as a key member of business, non-profit or association communities.
Who shoulders work needed to produce such results? Your own full-time public relations staff? A few folks assigned by corporate office to your unit? An outside PR agency team? No matter where they come from, they need to be committed to you, to PR blueprint and to its implementation, starting with key audience perception monitoring.
Please keep in mind that simply because someone describes him/herself as a public relations person doesn’t guarantee they’ve bought whole shebang. So by all means make certain public relations people assigned to your unit really believe – deep down -- why it’s SO important to know how your most important outside audiences perceive your operations, products or services. Make sure they accept reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.
Layout your plan – your blueprint -- for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our chief executive? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with interchange? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?
Use professional survey firms in perception monitoring phases of your program if you can afford them. But your PR people are also in perception and behavior business and can pursue same objective: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.