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 1125 including guidelines and resource box. Robert A. Kelly © 2004.
The Most Important PR In America
Just happens to be public relations activity that alters individual perceptions leading directly to changed behaviors. PR pulls that off by persuading a manager’s key outside audiences with greatest behavior impacts on organization, to its way of thinking. Then it moves those external stakeholders to take actions that help organization succeed.
I don’t believe public relations can deliver much more than that.
Not surprisingly, PR runs best on its own fundamental premise that gets everyone working towards same external audience behaviors. Insuring that your PR effort stays focused, blueprint goes like this: 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.
Results can range from community leaders beginning to seek you out, welcome bounces in show room visits and specifying sources looking your way to prospects starting to do business with you, customers making repeat purchases, and even fresh proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures.
If, as a manager, that scenario appeals to you, try this path.
First, who handles work required to produce such results? Your own full-time public relations staff? Some people 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.
It’s useful to 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.
Working closely with PR folks, start by nailing down who among your important outside audiences is behaving in ways that help or hinder achievement of your objectives. Then, list them according to how severely their behaviors affect your organization.
Now, take steps to find out precisely HOW most members of that key outside audience perceive your organization. If you don’t have budget to pay for what could be costly professional survey counsel, you and your PR colleagues will have to monitor those perceptions yourself. Actually, they should be quite familiar with perception and behavior matters.
Best way to get that activity under way is to meet with members of that outside audience and ask questions like “Are you familiar with our services or products?” “Have you ever had contact with anyone from our organization? Was it a satisfactory experience?” Be sensitive to negative statements, especially evasive or hesitant replies. And watch carefully for false assumptions, untruths, misconceptions, inaccuracies and potentially damaging rumors. When you find such, they will need to be corrected, as they usually lead to negative behaviors.