As that manager, it also helps if you accept the fact that you need the kind of external stakeholder behavior change that helps you reach your business, non-profit or association objectives. And its also helpful if you believe its a good idea to try and persuade those important outside folks to your way of thinking, then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary succeed. Given all of that, if it now appears that you need to do something positive about the behaviors of those outside audiences that most affect your operations, yes, you really need public relations! 1 outside audience. Or, if you can tap a good sized budget, you can ask a professional survey firm to do the job for you. However, because your PR folks are already in the perception and behavior business, my choice would be to use them for this assignment. Either way, someone must interact with members of that prime audience and ask questions like What do you know about our operation?
Are you familiar with our services or products? Have you had any negotiations with us? If so, were they satisfactory? Keep a careful eye on responses. Notice any evasive or hesitant comments about your organization? Be especially alert for misconceptions or untruths. Are there false assumptions or inaccuracies you need to remedy in light of experience that shows negative perceptions inevitably lead to negative behaviors the kind you must correct to protect your units operations. All this work prepares you to set your public relations goal. For instance, clarify a hurtful inaccuracy, fix that misconception or flatten that rumor once and for all. As with just about any goal you pursue, you dont reach it without the right strategy to show you how to get there. Fact is, with matters of perception and opinion, you have three strategic options: change an offending opinion/perception, create it where there isnt any, or reinforce an existing perception.
Here, perhaps the hardest work connected to a public relations program rears its ugly head — preparing the persuasive message you will use to carry your corrective facts and figures to members of your key target audience. Several characteristics are required in such a message. It must be clearly written as to why that misconception, inaccuracy or false assumption should be corrected or clarified. Supporting facts must be truthful so that they lead to a finished message that is persuasive, believable and compelling. How would you plan to move your message to your audience? This is the least complex step in the sequence because there are so many communications tactics ready to do the message delivery job for you. They range from op-eds in local newspapers, radio and TV interviews, speeches, consumer briefings and brochures to newsletters, special events, emails, personal meetings and many, many others. Only caution: be sure the tactics you assign to the job have a good record of reaching people just like the members of your target audience.
Can we point to progress? Only way to know for certain if offending perceptions have been altered, is to interact out there once again with those audience members asking the same questions as before. But this time, you and your PR team will be watching carefully for indications that the troublesome perception really is correcting in your direction. That IS where the public relations rubber meets the road, isnt it? Business, non-profit or association managers use mission-critical public relations to alter an offending perception, leading directly to the predictable behavior which helps them reach their department, division or subsidiary objectives. Bob Kelly counsels, writes and speaks to business, non-profit and association 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 communi- cations, U.S. Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University, major in public relations.
Updated on November 10, 2010 Jennifer moreContact Author Have you been to your library lately? Let me tell you there is a lot more to the library these days than just books. Yes, borrowing books is a great way to use your library, but there are so many other benefits than just that. Libraries typically try to get new releases of books and DVD’s. You can borrow that latest, greatest book or movie from the library. That can really add up. Borrowing movies from the library can save you lots of money each month. Escpecially if you have kids who want to watch new things all the time. You know, this week they are into Bob the Builder, but next week it is Little Einstein. Most people do not watch the same movie over and over again, so purchasing a movie is not the best option for many. The cheapest option is borrowing from the library. I can hear you now, saying you don’t have enough time to go dig through the shelves of your library looking for the exact movie or book that you are wanting.