I want to take up the issue raised by Wadim Schreiner in his article in The Media Magazine (December 2013: 4) entitled “Strategic comms is not an info dump”. He criticises public relations people who “dump” irrelevant information and “hot-air activity” on “as wide and undefined audience as possible” and then fail to do a valid and credible impact assessment (I assume that is because the research methodology will show a mere haze of media activity with no clear outcomes……).
If PR people do not know the following, then Schreiner is correct in saying, they “clearly have no idea about PR”; all communicators have learnt to execute any good PR plan and Communication strategy by:
1. Knowing the vision and future goals of the company
2. Identifying their key ‘publics’ , audiences or stakeholders, their needs and media preferences
3. Setting communication goals to align with the company goals
4. Developing messages and tactics that will ensure the goals are met
5. Creating tailor-made or specific messages and activities with the key audience in mind
6. Selecting the media that your audience uses and finds relevant, ensuring “a high hit rate”.
7. Timing distribution of messages to suit audience’s demographics, logistics and lifestyle. Go to them, they’ll tell what media to use.
8. Assessing feedback and impact, and evaluating audience perceptions thru’ good qualitative research, not only qualitative.
9. Keep communicating, adapting to your audience’s needs
The quality of a limited number of good connections far outweighs the quantity of a shot-gun approach to messages. It’s the connections that invite engagement, use and loyalty. Ultimately these are the things that matter, if you’re value- and goal-driven, rather than purely sales-driven.
Public relations and strategic communication (without an s) are about long-term relationship building, not only about sales and marketing. Reputation management should include reliable, valid and credible methods of measuring improvement in reputation. Another way of measuring reputation is: put your business on the market and add a value to your ‘reputation’ over and above the financial value and see whether others agree with your valuation or not!