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Managers Should Your PR Budget Stress Tactics Or Strategy

If public relations tactics like special events,​ brochures,​ broadcast plugs and press releases dominate your answer,​ you’re missing the​ best PR has to​ offer.

Such a​ budget would tell us that you​ believe tactics ARE public relations. And that would be too bad,​ becauseit means you​ are not effectively planning to​ alterindividual perception among your key outside audienceswhich then would help you​ achieve your managerialobjectives.

It would also tell us that,​ even as​ a​ business,​ non-profit orassociation manager,​ you’re not planning to​ do anything positive about the​ behaviors of​ those important external audiences of​ yours that MOST affect your operation. Nor are you​ preparing to​ persuade those key outside folks to​ your way of​ thinking by helping to​ move them to​ take actions that allow your department,​ division or​ subsidiary to​ succeed.

So,​ it​ takes more than good intentions for you​ as​ a​ manager to​ alter individual,​ key-audience perception leading to​ changed behaviors. it​ takes a​ carefully structured plan dedicated to​ getting every member of​ the​ PR team working towards the​ same external audience behaviors insuring that the​ organization’s public relations effort stays sharply focused.

The absence of​ such a​ plan is​ always unfortunate because the​ right public relations planning really CAN alter individual perception and lead to​ changed behaviors among key outside audiences.

If this sounds vaguely familiar,​ try to​ remember that your PR effort must require more than special events,​ news releases and talk show tactics if​ you​ are to​ receive the​ quality public relations results you​ deserve.

The payoff can materialize faster than you​ may think in​ the​ form of​ welcome bounces in​ show room visits; customers beginning to​ make repeat purchases; capital givers or​ specifying sources beginning to​ look your way; membership applications on​ the​ rise; the​ appearance of​ new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures;politicians and legislators beginning to​ look at​ you​ as​ a​ key member of​ the​ business,​ non-profit or​ association communities; prospects actually starting to​ do business with you; and community leaders begin to​ seek you​ out.

It’s always nice to​ simply hire a​ survey firm to​ handle the​ opinion monitoring/data gathering phase of​ your effort. But that can cost real money. Luckily,​ your public relations professionals can often fill that bill because they are already in​ the​ perception and behavior business. But satisfy yourself that the​ PR staff really accepts why it’s SO important to​ know how your most important outside audiences perceive your operations,​ products or​ services. And be doubly certain they believe that perceptions almost always result in​ behaviors that can help or​ hurt your operation.

Share your plans with them for monitoring and gathering perceptions by questioning members of​ your most important outside audiences. Ask questions like these: how much do you​ know about our organization? Have you​ had prior contact with us and were you​ pleased with the​ interchange? Are you​ familiar with our services or​ products and employees? Have you​ experienced problems with our people or​ procedures?

But whether it’s your people or​ a​ survey firm asking the​ questions,​ the​ objective remains the​ same: identify untruths,​ false assumptions,​ unfounded rumors,​ inaccuracies,​ misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.

It’s goal-setting time during which you​ will establish a​ goal calling for action on​ the​ most serious problem areas you​ uncovered during your key audience perception monitoring. You’ll want to​ straighten out that dangerous misconception? Correct that gross inaccuracy? Or,​ stop that potentially painful rumor cold?

Of course,​ setting your PR goal requires an​ equally specific strategy that tells you​ how to​ get there. Only three strategic options are available to​ you​ when it​ comes to​ doing something about perception and opinion. Change existing perception,​ create perception where there may be none,​ or​ reinforce it. the​ wrong strategy pick will taste like onion gravy on​ your rhubarb pie. So be sure your new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. you​ certainly don’t want to​ select “change” when the​ facts dictate a​ strategy of​ reinforcement.

It’s always time for good writing,​ but never as​ now. you​ must prepare a​ persuasive message that will help move your key audience to​ your way of​ thinking. it​ must be a​ carefully-written message targeted directly at​ your key external audience. Select your very best writer because s/he must come up with really corrective language that is​ not merely compelling,​ persuasive and believable,​ but clear and factual if​ they are to​ shift perception/opinion towards your point of​ view and lead to​ the​ behaviors you​ have in​ mind.

Here’s where you​ need the​ communications tactics certain to​ carry your message to​ the​ attention of​ your target audience. There are many available. From speeches,​ facility tours,​ emails and brochures to​ consumer briefings,​ media interviews,​ newsletters,​ personal meetings and many others. But be certain that the​ tactics you​ pick are known to​ reach folks just like your audience members.

How you​ communicate,​ however,​ is​ always a​ major concern. the​ credibility of​ any message is​ always fragile. Which is​ why you’ll probably want to​ unveil your corrective message before smaller meetings and presentations rather than using higher-profile news releases.

When the​ need for a​ progress report appears,​ you’ll want to​ begin a​ second perception monitoring session with members of​ your external audience. You’ll certainly use many of​ the​ same questions used in​ the​ benchmark session. But now,​ you​ will be watchingclosely for signs that the​ bad news perception is​ finally moving positively in​ your direction.

Fortunately,​ if​ things slow down,​ you​ can always speed things up by adding more communications tactics as​ well as​ increasing their frequencies.

Allow the​ tacticians a​ free hand in​ selecting whether this tactic or​ that tactic should be used as​ the​ beast of​ burden needed to​ carry your message to​ your target audience.

You take a​ broader view of​ public relations and stress the​ strategic approach because it​ requires you​ as​ the​ manager to​ effectively plan to​ alter individual perception among your key outside audiences,​ thus helping you​ achieve your managerial objectives.

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