Publicity Performance Not Enough?

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Publicity Performance Not Enough?

By: Robert A. Kelly

Even after a nice piece in a national publication, or a stint on a popular talk show, do you still have a feeling that your public relations dollar could be better spent?

As a business, non-profit or association manager, do questions like that linger in your mind?

Because if they do, you may be coming down with a real case of "I want my PR money's worth!"

If that's how you feel, I'd guess that you're probably doing very little that's positive about the behaviors of those important outside audiences of yours that most affect your operation.

Which means you may be failing to create external stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives. In other words, failing to persuade those key outside folks to your way of thinking, or move them to take actions that allow your department, division or subsidiary to succeed.

Be assured that the right public relations really CAN alter individual perception and lead to the changed behaviors you need. But it will require more than special event parties, brochures and news releases if you honestly want that PR money's worth.

Fortunately for all of us, people really do act on their own perception of the 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 the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

The results of such activity can be truly surprising: stronger relationships with the educational, labor, financial and healthcare communities; prospects starting to work with you; customers making repeat purchases; improved relations with government agencies and legislative bodies, and even capital givers or specifying sources looking your way.

The passage of time should add still more results: for example, enhanced activist group relations, membership applications on the rise; new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; rebounds in showroom visits; community service and sponsorship opportunities; and expanded feedback channels, not to mention new thoughtleader and special event contacts.

The fact that your most important outside audiences really perceive your operations, products or services in a positive light is a key plank in your PR platform. So vital, in fact, that your PR people must buy into the effort from the get-go. Be especially careful that they accept the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

Take the time to review the PR blueprint in detail with your staff, especially how you will gather and monitor opinion by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the interchange? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

Gathering opinion data for the perception monitoring phases of your program can certainly be handled by professional survey people, should the budget be available. But always remember that your PR people are also in the perception and behavior business and can pursue the same objective: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.

A word about your all-important public relations goal. You'll need one that speaks to the problems that cropped up during your key audience perception monitoring. Probably, it will require correcting that gross inaccuracy, straightening out that dangerous misconception, or doing something about that damaging rumor.

In this business, a goal needs a strategy to show you how to get where you want to go. Also, there are just three strategic choices available to you when it comes to handling a perception or opinion challenge: create perception where there may be none, change the perception, or reinforce it. As luck would have it, the wrong strategy pick will taste like marshmallows on your refried beans, so be certain the new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. For example, you don't want to select "change" when the facts dictate a "reinforce" strategy.

What's needed here is the right, corrective phrases. Persuading an audience to your way of thinking is genuinely hard work. We need words that are compelling, persuasive and believable, as well as clear and factual. This must be done if you are to correct a perception by shifting opinion towards your point of view, leading to the desired behaviors.

Now we pick out those communications tactics most likely to carry your words to the attention of your target audience. Sit down again with your communications specialists and read your message for impact and persuasiveness. Then select from dozens of available tactics such as speeches, facility tours, emails, brochures, consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. But be certain that the tactics you use are known to reach folks just like your audience members.

Since the credibility of a message can depend on its delivery method, you could introduce it to smaller gatherings rather than using higher-profile communications such as news releases or talk show appearances. When the topic of progress reports comes up, it's your reminder that the PR team should return to the field for a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. Using many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session, you'll now be watching very carefully for signs that your communications tactics have worked and that the negative perception is being altered in your direction.

Should you want to move things along a little faster, accelerate your PR program with a wider selection of communications tactics AND increased frequencies.

Now, hopefully, when it becomes obvious to you that publicity performance just is not enough, you will undertake to do something positive about the behaviors of those important outside audiences of yours that most affect your operation. In other words, create external stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving your managerial objectives.

Again hopefully, you will do the job by persuading those key outside folks to your way of thinking, thus moving them to take actions that allow your business, non-profit or association to succeed.


Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at Word count is 1160 including guidelines and resource box.

Robert A. Kelly Copyright 2005.)

About The Author

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.



klarinet_kat 22.05.2009. 02:16

How did you get started in the music business? I am a going into my Sophomore year of college, studying in clarinet performance. My goal is to make a living off of performing in ensembles and teaching lessons.

My question is mainly directed at those musicians already making a living this way. But any and all suggestions/answers are welcome

My question is thus. How did you start off your career as a performer?

Thanks in advance


Admin 22.05.2009. 02:16

if you are in the good graces of your orchestral director, you can ask him/her this question. Many conductors also thrive on the "scratch your/my back" principle, and have connections. You may find out about auditions for various chamber groups as well as orchestras.
You can also either visit your campus music library or find out on line what positions are available through the union magazines or journals.
Take auditions! Play as many as you can, but only when you are prepared enough. Unlike the saying "bad publicity is better than no publicity", a series of bad auditions will cause your name to be struck off the list of candidates.
Investigate a recording studio. Many orchestras require a CD for the preliminary rounds, so get the best quality you can.
Look up the orchestral parts for clarinet for standard works, and start learning them. ( My husband plays horn, so I know there are excerpt books for that instrument. There have got to be for clarinet as well)
It's no good making the cut past the first round of an audition on the strength of your concerto, only to be caught out by not knowing your standard repertory.
Be prepared for a lot of "No. thank you". There are how many orchestras in the States, vs how many clarinetists? And so many auditions run off connections, and not impartial merits, such as talent.
Investigate auditon coaching. There is a big market for that, and it says a lot about the lack of such training in regular lessons.
Best wishes


simplysoulful 23.01.2013. 04:09

How to become a professional pianist in piano or music concerts or competitions / tournemants? I am a pro pianist who has been playing piano since I was 3 years old and I'm 29 now. I want to do concerts and such. I've done many lounge, church, and wedding events, but it's not fulfilling enough for me. I also teach piano on the side, and still don't feel fulfilled. I think the only way I will feel fulfilled is if I perform in piano concerts or whatnot, as I love to perform. Or how about competitions or tournaments? Any suggestions?


Admin 23.01.2013. 04:09

You're a bit at odds with yourself on your being professional vs. another sort of professional. It sounds as if you are a journeyman pianist who has not gone the classical training conservatory route.

Competitions, even the more local / regional sort, are almost all for people far younger than yourself. Those which do allow entrants up to age thirty are more of the international standard. Either way, you have at most a handful of months before you are 30 years of age; ergo over the age limit to qualify as a contestant.

I'm afraid without the actual training acquired in a piano performance major, undergrad at the very least, a masters degree more the 'minimum' (and the qualifications those are) what you currently have in the way of classical technique or experience has you at a large disadvantage -- contrary to your goal.

Of course you could prepare a recital program, say an hours' length, and find a local venue, church, small hall, take care of your own pre-concert publicity: the likelihood you would at best 'break even' is more the case than anything else, but you would get to play that solo recital. What is most expected there is a balanced program, complete works (not isolated movements.) It is usually less musically interesting or successful to program a potpourri of music of different genres -- even if successful, that is more a 'lite entertainment' evening than 'legitimate recital.'

You could investigate community orchestras, and look also in your immediate locale for young chamber players; either of whom may be interested if you had a concerto to offer, or had interest in a pianist prepared with any number of piano trios, quartets, quintets, etc.

But I think the best answer to your question and desired goal would come from a highly qualified piano teacher -- one who has trained students who later became performers and has also done some professional performing -- with whom you meet personally. Let them hear you play, take from them at least a few brush-up lessons, tell them what you wish to do, and then listen to their professional assessment of where you now stand.

Check in on-on-one, with a pro classical teacher / performer and see what might be possible: there you will find the best assessment of what you've got and what you need to further realize your desire / ambition.

This, vs. a somewhat Pollyanna-ish "you can do it" answer, with or without specifics -- all too common on Y/A -- is the best professional advice I can give you, online -- go offline to a true experienced professional for a real possible solution:-)

Best regards


Hannibal 08.05.2012. 16:05

Why do celebrities pretend that releasing a sex tape isn't a publicity stunt? Isn't it a weird coincidence that this Tulisha one's sex tape leaked right before she was voted FHM's sexist female. I mean it's an obvious publicity stunt. It's funny how she got very little male attention and now she's considered the hottest woman on the planet. And if it was her ex boyfriend wouldn't he have leaked/ sold it ages ago?


Admin 08.05.2012. 16:05

I think it's sad that we're basically telling today's young girls that the only way they can become famous celebrities is either winning American Idol or....doing a sex tape. I mean, look at Kim Kardasshian. Why did she ever become a celebrity? She can't act, sing, or dance. She's not some multi-million dollar heiress who simply bought fame. Instead, what's she known for? Her sex tape, and her big @ss. And for some reason this was enough to make the E! network think it would be a good idea to do a reality show with her and her family. Now even her sisters are famous...for having a sister...who's famous for her big @ss and sex tape.

So basically the only difference between Kim Kardasshian and a porn star is....least the porn star gets paid for her performances in the bedroom.

I congratulate E! on providing such WONDERFUL role models for the girls of our youth generation.


Digital Princess 04.06.2011. 00:46

Why do people enjoy making fun of Chicago Cubs fans? I mean seriously, enough is enough. The jokes are not funny anymore and the Cubs are no threat to ANY team in the MLB. Why bother making fun of them anymore. Do you feel so awful about your team's performance that you have to resort to making fun of Chicago Cubs fans. What is that going to accomplish? Yes, the Cubs are one of the worst teams right now, and yes the Cubs havent won blah blah blah, we get it.

So Question remains, why do people enjoy making fun of Cubs fans?

Digital Princess

Admin 04.06.2011. 00:46

People that make fun of Cubs fans are usually tools and bandwagoners. Im a Brewers fan, and while I dislike the Cubs, I respect there fans.

The fact that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in over a century is the fuel in the fire.

I think another reason is the Cubs haven't had any big-publicity players in a while. The closest thing they had to a player that was always in the news is Derek Lee and he hasn't been on the team in 3 years. If the team had a player like Pujols or Rodriguez it would help.

Personally though, Id like to see a Cubs-Brewers NLCS......both teams are due for one.


Arch Angel :))))) 23.07.2010. 03:38

Why are David Archuleta and Justin Bieber always compared? It's like David is sooo much more talented and Justin is like... okay and all but how can they compare? And also it makes no sense why Bieber is getting the publicity and Archie isn't. David is way talented and gifted and isn't given enough credit for what he does. This is my opinion... what is yours?

Arch Angel :)))))

Admin 23.07.2010. 03:38

i never know why.. but for me, David Archuleta is way more talented and his singing is amazing. Bieber, however, he is more popular, but he doesn't have real talent. he lets his people build his image and he is not a real musician. i bet he doesn't even involve that much in making his music (i can't even define "his music" because his songs are generic-pop-radio) even though he gets the credit as writers, i bet he did a pretty small portion of it. and it seems like he lets people behind his fame to choose whatever song as long as it's catchy and selling good. archuleta's stuff is easy-listening pop too, don't get me wrong, but i know for sure Archuleta as a singer, he is taking care of what his music should be and making sure that his messages in them is well delivered. i don't want to dwell on his singing. everyone who has good ears know what kind of singer he is. watch his live performances, like Ave maria ,Angels, and Contigo en la Distancia, you'll know why i said so.


James Carver 23.12.2011. 21:13

how beginning actors can get speaking roles and work? I am a beginning actor and i already have my portfolio photos. I signed up with a management company but they don't book speaking roles. I want to be able to find auditions where i can get speaking roles. how would I do that do i go to a website or sign up with an agent. how do I get an agent to represent me.

James Carver

Admin 23.12.2011. 21:13

Until you have some professional acting experience (speaking roles), you won't be able to get a legitimate agent to represent you. The so-called agents who claim they'll represent inexperienced, aspiring actors are frauds who make their money by charging for classes, head shots and other promotional materials that are completely useless. Legitimate agents NEVER ask for money in advance, since they're paid on commission. They only get paid when their actors do, since they earn a percentage of what an actor is paid for a job. And the reason casting directors contact legitimate, reputable agents when they're hiring actors is that they know agents will only send them actors who have enough professional experience to know what's expected of them on the job. TV and film production is incredibly expensive, so directors can't afford to provide on-the-job training, especially since there are many thousands of experienced, professional actors looking for jobs at any given moment.

Most open auditions for TV shows and movies are actually publicity stunts to generate interest in an upcoming project. Thousands of people will show up to audition and every one of them, plus all their friends and family members, will watch the movie or show when it comes out. But the roles still go to experienced actors. Holding an open audition doesn't cost a lot of money, but generates thousands of dollars of free publicity.

Your best chance of finding an agent (a legitimate one) will require that you get some professional experience and some acting credits first. Just about everyone you see on TV and in movies started out in community theater, since that's about the only place an aspiring actor can learn while gaining the experience required to access other opportunities. If you enroll in classes at a local theater and show that you're talented and committed to learning and mastering the craft of acting, you'll be considered for roles in upcoming productions. Once you've appeared in a few of those, you'll have the experience required to shop for an agent who may be able to find you other work. Most stage actors also work in commercials, TV and movies, so your theater peers will be able to recommend legitimate agents when you're ready to take that step.

Acting is like any other career in that you have to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder, proving your worth at every step. Most actors spend years doing low-profile theater roles so they'll be ready for any bigger opportunities that arise. But since there are millions of people who want to be big TV and movie stars, but have no intention of actually focusing on becoming actors, it's easy for fake agents to make fortunes promising shortcuts that don't exist. Legitimate agents, though, need to know that the actors they send to auditions are qualified to work in the field. If an agent sent an inexperienced actor (even if he/she was talented and showed promise) to audition for a TV show or movie, the agent's reputation would be ruined and casting directors wouldn't call him any more when they were looking for actors. But if an agent knows you can recreate the same character night after night on stage without your performances becoming stale and predictable, he'll know you're the real deal, rather than a wannabe who sees acting as a means of getting famous.


?_? doubt 13.02.2011. 20:46

Why does music these days so lame? I remember when music meant something! When the artist respected the art. Now it's just a bunch of remixes, autotune,sync instruments. Now the music industry is just all about promoting artists and they use Publicity stunts/controversy to gain popularity but, the music is so lame. What happened to music these days?

?_? doubt

Admin 13.02.2011. 20:46

well - there's usually a bit of an argument about this. there are people who say that it's because there is so much rap/new r&b and that's why - and then there are people who will tell them that just because they don't like the genre of music doesn't mean the music industry has gone downhill.
but, whatever genre aside, the music industry going downhill is pretty much a fact, based on what ive learned in media studies.

the entire media industry is based on a balance between business and creativity - the people on top want to make money, they are in it for profit. (a lot of artists out there also seem to be in it for profit rather than artistic merit.) to make sure that they continue making money, the music will follow formulas (genres). genres are pretty much a safety net - guaranteed customers. there are r&b fans, there are rock fans, indie fans, pop fans etc, and if music is made in these genres, there will always be people willing to buy it.
The important thing to keep customers interested is variation within a genre - music that follows a genre (so there is a guaranteed buyer) but changes something, or has a hook that will keep listeners interested. What's happening now is that the music is generic - its too safe. The formulas are being followed too closely. And it's partly to do with the focus on the visuals/PR rather than the music.

unless you've been on mars you've probably noticed that there are looaads of 3D films out - as well as loads of sequels, remakes, adaptations etc. the 3D thing was because less and less people are going to the cinema now, because of things like youtube and blu ray and piracy. Theyre trying to bring a new element to the cinema so that they'll get more customers. --and its the same with the music industry. Its so easy now to get noticed and get your fifteen minutes of fame because of youtube and whatever, so artists need another dimension to stand out from the crowd. Music on its own is too easy to get, and the novelty has worn off - people want a performance. Usher is willing to sacrifice the quality of his singing so that he can dance. Lady Gaga felt the need to arrive to an award show in an egg - because now every celebrity is dressed quirky and retro. The BEP's half time show - vocals were definitely not the priority there. Singing isn't enough anymore.

But the thing is, whenever culture goes one way to the extreme, a few years later it will swing the other way to balance it out. Its already started - i might not like Taylor swifts music, but she's got attention without making a huge show. there are more and more artists who now stand out because they DONT do over-the-top performances. Plus, there are loads of determined people who are against the contemporary music industry who will get their turn in a few years.

sorry for the long answer lol but hopefully its explained it.


~Breezy~ 13.01.2010. 05:05

What can I do with a Music Business degree? I have completed my basics and I decided to go with a Music Business degree. Can anyone tell me if it's worth it, could I get a good career with this degree? I'm unsure if I should continue on this path or not...


Admin 13.01.2010. 05:05

Actually, it's a unique, valuable, and very narrow niche. All the arts, like sports, have two aspects: performance and business. Programming and producing a season for a symphony or theater or ballet company is one thing; keeping it financially on its feet is another--the "BUSINESS of the arts." It's a delicate and highly-skilled balancing act--salaries, facilities management, maintenance, advertising, ticket management, publicity, part-time/full-time staff, volunteers, telemarketing, printing, cleaning and repairs, upgrading technical systems, lighting, sound, utilities, architectural design, project management, web design and management, FUND RAISING, community outreach, media liaison, and on and on and on. And it doesn't pay that well, there are few openings, and one tends to get caught in government and charitable budget crunches, what? And then they wonder why you run a deficit.

But make no mistake: this stuff is BIG Business. I live in the Norfolk, VA area, and the arts here are an economic engine that generates a BILLION dollars a year. With a "B." And the Legislatures seem to think all this is a "luxury."

Clearly, nobody can master all this right out of college, or even by the age of 40. Choose your courses carefully. Accounting is a must, but don't go beyond what you need. Some knowledge of advertising and practical marketing is essential. You must have the right personality and goal-orientation to handle prima-donna artists, producers, and rich people who don't know how to spend their money.

But practical experience is the real jewel. Attach yourself as an assistant in two or three of the specialties to a really super company director, and imitate a Black Hole--be the "sort of person on whom nothing is lost." Have your boss show you how every contract, every contractor, every negotiation, every ad campaign, actually works. Volunteer to sit in on EVERYTHING, just to learn.
Your boss will love it, if he has a brain in his head--he can actually get a cold and not worry that he'll come back to a smoking ruin because YOU are on the job. In fact, the learning process is much like a medical Residency, except that you will not earn six figures at the end of the tunnel.

But you MUST be absolutely suited for such work, by temperament and learning style. If you are not, it can literally kill you. Go to and take a version of the Myers-Briggs test. Get counseling. If you are wrong, consider becoming a talent agent--my brother has that gift, and the business degree will help. I am 66, and have actually done everything I named above, except fund-raising and working with volunteers, but it has taken a lifetime. My daughter, on the other hand, is a director of fund raising and volunteers at an NPR station, after 13 years as a nonprofit administrator (she actually RAN Easter Seals at age 31). Don't ignore genetics. And yes, as an adjunct professor I counseled a LOT of students. I am now dumb enough to start a business at my age, and it feels terrific--I have all the "battle-rattle" I need, and I'm gonna kill 'em if they get in my way. Write if you need encouragement or can take advice.


Scott Evil 19.01.2013. 22:23

Do you think Lance Armstrong deserves any sympathy, why or why not? In the Oprah Winfrey interview he finally confessed that he did in fact take performance-enhancing drugs in each of the seven Tour De France wins. if you saw the interview, do you feel sorry for him? Do you think he deserves a second chance? And if you were a Lance Armstrong Fan before, have you lost complete respect for him?

Scott Evil

Admin 19.01.2013. 22:23

No. He lied so many years, he claimed that everything was possible if you just worked hard enough.. he was an example for thousands of cancer patients, they believed they could do what he did.. if they just had enough will power.. everything he said, everything he built around him, was a lie..

I think that's awful, other cyclists, who are true to themselves, who don't use drugs.. don't have a chance because of people like Lance Armstrong who just want to win.. and they'd do anything to gain that number one spot.. Sympathy? No, he had to confess.. he chose to do it with Oprah to get some money out of it.. He even sued people who claimed he was using drugs.. people believed him, defended him.. and now, he finally confesses.. after all those years.. sorry, but I don't have sympathy for him.. if he was truly sorry, he wouldn't have confessed this to Oprah.. He would have taken other measures.. that count more for the cycling world.. Oprah, was just a big publicity stunt.. in my eyes.


Travis D 12.02.2008. 20:12

Is "Premium" gasoline more cost effective than "Regular" gasoline? It is my understanding that premium gasoline will grant a better gas mileage in most cars. However, is the difference in mileage great enough to merit the switch? If someone knows how to calculate an answer, would he or she please show me the formula(e)?

Thank you for your time.

Travis D

Admin 12.02.2008. 20:12

Premium or regular, which gas is best for your car and your pocket?

At the gas pump we usually see 3choices ? regular 87 octane, better 90-92 octane, and premium 93-95 octane (this all depends on your state and locality). Obviously the premium is much more expensive and the regular is the cheapest. At todays prices of between $2.20 and $3.00 there is a considerable difference in choice and price per fill up. On average, premium gas will cost you $2-$4.00 more per gallon. The question is, is it worth it? Will your car actually run better and get better fuel economy on premium gas or is it just money being thrown away (synonymous to expensive vitamins and minerals in excess of your bodies needs)?

According to the magazine Popular Mechanics, in a recent issue, they uncovered that with the recent advances of the computer brain of every car manufactured in the past 12 years the car can sense the type of gas (octane and quality) and simply retard or slow the timing to compensate for lower quality gas. Prior to this low quality gas (low octane) would actually hurt your engine and cause it to run poorly. Now it is important to note that you should go by the owners manual for your car and what it states or mandates as recommended for your exact car. The reasoning for this is two fold ? first, the owners manual is the ultimate authority on your car. They had to go through years of extensive testing and exhaustive research before the car could be sold to consumers. They must also continuously research safety, emission and economic aspects of their cars to avoid potentially damaging lawsuits and negative publicity in the press.

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The second reason to consult your owners manual is that it may reveal to you that you have a higher compression engine than most (like the Honda Prelude or S2000) thusly requiring high octane rating gas to prevent premature engine wear and damage. It is also interesting to note that the owners manual will also reveal the exact maintenance required for optimal performance for your car or truck. You will probably find that these requirements are vastly different from your local car dealers service department requirements. Most car dealers will speed up the maintenance requirement intervals and advise you to do more services than necessary. Read the owners manual, it will save you money, teach you more about your cars octane and gas requirements, and also items like safe driving, proper child safety seat installation, tire changing, how to fix simple things like a blown fuse or bulb, etc?

So there you have it, the answer to the decade long question of whether to put in premium or regular. For most vehicles all you need is regular, but do check your car or truck?s owners manual and see what is really recommended or required for the proper running of your vehicle. A few cars do require premium gas, but for the rest it is just a waste of money. This article is provided courtesy of headlight cleaner and headlight restoration.


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