Right PR Empowers a Manager

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Right PR Empowers a Manager

By: Robert A. Kelly

Business, non-profit and association managers are in a stronger position to succeed when they use their public relations resources in a way that alters individual perception leading to changed external stakeholder behavior.

A mouthful, but true.

Here's the obvious core of this approach: persuade your most important outside audiences with the greatest impacts on your organization to your way of thinking. Then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary prevail.

The right action plan - the right blueprint - helps you to achieve that kind of success. And it does so by getting everyone working towards the same external audience behaviors. For example: people 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.

And look at what might happen. A nice jumpup in show room traffic; local thoughtleaders seeking your opinion on key local issues; newly interested prospects calling you; growing numbers of membership applications; the repeat purchase rate increasing; new inquiries about strategic alliances and joint ventures; capital givers or specifying sources making inquiries; and even politicians and legislators viewing you as a leading figure in the business, non-profit or association communities.

Caveat: your PR people are already in the perception and behavior business, so they should be of real use for your initial opinion monitoring project. But you must be certain your public relations people 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 the reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

While reviewing your PR plan with them, talk about how you will monitor and gather perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. 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?

While professional survey firms can always be hired to do the opinion monitoring work, they also can cost big bucks. So, 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.

Clearly, you must do something about the most serious distortions you discovered during your key audience perception monitoring. Will it be to straighten out that dangerous misconception? Correct that gross inaccuracy? Or, stop that potentially damaging rumor dead in its tracks?

We all know you won't get there at all without the right strategy to tell you how to proceed. But remember that there are just three strategic options available 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 sour cream on your spaghetti, so be sure your new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. You wouldn't want to select "change" when the facts dictate a "reinforce" strategy.

Now it's time to put together a well-written message and direct it to members of your target audience. It's always a challenge to create an actionable message that will help persuade any audience to your way of thinking.

You need your best scribes for this one because s/he must build some very special, corrective language. Words that are 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.

Once you've run draft copy by your PR team, it's on to the next selection process -- the communications tactics most likely to carry your message to the attention of your target audience. There are scores that are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. But you must be certain that the tactics you pick are known to reach folks like your audience members,

Actually, you may wish to avoid "shouting too loud" and unveil your message before smaller meetings and presentations rather than using higher-profile news releases, as the credibility of any message is fragile and always at stake.

It won't be long before voices will be raised about progress reports, which will be your signal for you and your PR team to get going on a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. You'll want to use many of the same questions used in the first benchmark session. Big difference this time is that you will be on red alert for signs that the bad news perception is being altered in your direction.

It seems lucky for us that such matters usually can be accelerated simply by adding more communications tactics as well as increasing their frequencies.

Yes, you as a business, non-profit or association manager become empowered when you persuade your most important outside stakeholders to your way of thinking, then move them to behave in a way that leads to the success of your department, division or subsidiary. Pure and simple.

Put another way, when your key external stakeholders start behaving suspiciously like everyone else - acting upon their perceptions of the facts they hear about you and your operation -- you really have little choice but to deal promptly and effectively with those perceptions by doing what is necessary to reach and move those important outside audiences to actions you desire.


Please feel free to publish this article and resource box in your ezine, newsletter, offline publication or website. A copy would be appreciated at mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net. Word count is 1105 including guidelines and resource box.

Robert A. Kelly Copyright 2004.)

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. mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net

Visit: http://www.prcommentary.com


Rachel 23.11.2012. 16:04

What jobs can I get with a degree in advertising and public relations? I'm going for a major in journalism and I was thinking about either changing to a degree in advertising/pr or getting a minor in it...So I was wondering what jobs are available to me. I've done some online research but mostly it keeps taking me to marketing. Thanks for your help :)


Admin 23.11.2012. 16:04

Become an online marketer where you will be making much more money,

If you graduate from PR and advertising,

Master the advertising field and start coaching people. If you really want a job, then you can do consulting, copyrighter, advertising manager, etc..

Hope it helped

Calvin Aman
Owner of Daily Marketing Pro
Empower Network Coach


Dennis Quaid (Jim Morris) 19.09.2008. 18:15

Should we elect the Commissioner of Major League Baseball with an Electoral College? There will be at the very least three electors per MLB team representing the Team Owner, GM, and Manager. The rest of the number of electors are based on the average attendence per game which will be 1 per every 5,000. The electors are chosen by fan clubs and whoever on election day which is during the All-Star break the candidate with the most votes by the fans within each franchise election wins all the electoral votes for that franchise. The candidate who gets the majority of the electoral votes becomes the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

The advantages:

1) There is widespread support for a commisioner and thus the commisioner cannot pander to the fans with the largest fan base.

2) Elitists do not choose the Commisioner which is the owners.

Dennis Quaid (Jim Morris)

Admin 19.09.2008. 18:15

To what end? Look, the commissioner does not serve a Higher Purpose or care only about the interests of the fans. That myth played well with Landis, who was empowered to ride roughshod over the owners if necessary, but at the time -- following the Black Sox scandal -- baseball needed that appearance for PR value.

The commissioner is not some impartial arbiter to steady the balance between the owners and the players. That's horserot. The commish is the owners' hired gun, the CEO of the corporation. And that's pretty much all he'll ever be. The previous commissioner, Vincent, tried to exercise authority against the majority of the owners' interests a few times too many, and got cashiered for his troubles.

Seligula, now, he's one of the good ol' boys (probably the oldest, by now; only Steinbrenner backdates as far, as involved with baseball). He'll hold the office until he dies, and maybe even beyond then. MLB is making gobs of money, and he's the man in the chair during -- so he deserves some credit, and the owners are mostly happy.

Fans are of interest only in how to get their wallets opened (and drained).


M&M luver! 15.09.2012. 15:35

So you can't really major in community service in college...? When people ask most of my friends what they want to be when they grow up they say a doctor or a teacher but when I'm asked that question the easiest way for me to give an answer is by saying "I'd like to spend my life with organizations like the peace corps." But you can't really major in community service in college.
I've heard a little about civic engagement but I was just wondering if there were any options for kids like me who are interested in learning about the world so that we can make a difference in it with service.

Thanks :)

M&M luver!

Admin 15.09.2012. 15:35

The reason there's no such major is there are many, many types of community service.

A doctor who volunteers with Doctors Without Borders went to med school. A nurse with the same outfit went to nursing school. The pilot flying the helicopter they're traveling in went to flight school.

And none of those people gets a paycheck; they are all on "working vacations" where they pay their own way and then return to their real jobs.

You can work doing community service, too, of course. But it's the same thing. I work with Lutheran Disaster Relief a lot. There are PR people, administrative people, project managers, construction managers -- and that's just who I've met so far. It's a big corporation, so they have ALL types of jobs available.

Which one is for you? That's what you need to think about. Not majoring in "community service," but majoring in something that interests you and fits your skills so that you can then find a job in whatever you might consider to be "community service."

If you want to get involved in helping, start now. Civic engagement is working in your community.

Also, what the poster said about Peace Corps is pretty true. It's not a career. You don't spend your life there, and the volunteers also do varied things, like create marketing plans, provide technical advice on preventing AIDS, empowering youth and children and studying deforestation. There's no one major that fits.

If you *worked* at Peace Corps, it's the same. There are country directors, information management specialists, placement officers, a bunch of office people, etc. And they aren't allowed to stay there more than five years at a stretch.


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