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Move Key Audiences To Actions You Want

[date:2006-12-22] [zize:B M S]

Move Key Audiences to Actions You Want

How?

Try a blueprint like this: people act on their own perceptionof the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviorsabout which something can be done. When we create, changeor reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading andmoving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviorsaffect the organization the most, the public relationsmission is accomplished.

It seems worth the effort when you get results like freshproposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures;prospects starting to do business with you; welcomebounces in show room visits; membership applicationson the rise; customers starting to make repeat purchases;community leaders beginning to seek you out; capitalgivers or specifying sources beginning to look your way,and even politicians and legislators starting to view youas a key member of the business, non-profit or associationcommunities.

But winning business, non-profit and association managersdon’t pull it off by themselves. First, they find out whoamong their important outside audiences is behaving inways that help or hinder the achievement of their objectives.Then they list them according to how severely theirbehaviors affect their organization.

Next they take steps to learn exactly how most membersof their key outside audience think about their organization.And by the way, they make certain their entire PR teambuys into the crucial importance of knowing for sure howtheir outside audiences perceive their operations, productsor services. And they dig deep to ensure they REALLY acceptthe reality that perceptions almost always lead to behaviorsthat can damage your operation.

When it’s time to activate the PR blueprint, monitor andgather perceptions by questioning members of your mostimportant outside audience. Ask questions like these: howmuch do you know about our organization? Have you hadprior contact with us and were you pleased with theinterchange? How much do you know about our servicesor products and employees? Have you experienced problemswith our people or procedures?

Not so incidentally, your PR folks are already in theperception and behavior business, so they can be of realuse for this opinion monitoring project. Professional surveyfirms can be brought in to handle the opinion monitoringchore, but that can be a costly undertaking. But whether it’syour people or a survey firm who asks the questions, yourobjective is to identify untruths, false assumptions,unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, and misconceptions .

Here, ask yourself which of the above aberations is seriousenough to become your corrective public relations goal?Clarify the misconception? Spike that rumor? Correct thefalse assumption? Fix those inaccuracies? Or yet anotheroffensive perception that could lead to negative results?

Once you firmly set your public relations goal, you canassure you’ll achieve it by picking the right strategy fromthe three choices available to you. Change existingperception, create perception where there may be none, orreinforce it. Especially important that your new strategynaturally compliments your new public relations goal.

How will your message deal with the offending perceptionwhen you address your key stakeholder audience to helppersuade them to your way of thinking?

Identify your best writing talent to prepare the messagebecause s/he must put together some very special, correctivelanguage. Words that are not only compelling, persuasiveand believable, but clear and factual if they are to shiftperception/opinion towards your point of view and lead tothe behaviors you have in mind.

Now it’s time for rapid fire communications tactics to carryyour message to the attention of your target audience. Makingcertain that the tactics you select have a record of reachingfolks like your audience members, you can pick from dozensthat are available. From speeches, facility tours, emails andbrochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters,personal meetings and many others.

Of course, how one communicates often affects the credibilityof the message, so you may wish to deliver it in smallgetogethers like meetings and presentations rather than througha higher-profile media announcement.

It will soon be time to show signs of progress. And that willcall for a second perception monitoring session with membersof your external audience. Employing many of the samequestions used in the first benchmark session, you will nowbe watching carefully for signs that the offending perception isbeing altered in your direction.

Of course you can always accelerate the program by addingmore communications tactics as well as increasing theirfrequencies.

At day’s end, the managers to whom this is addressed alsoknow this essential truth: they need an aggressive blueprintsuch as this one that will deliver behavior change among theirmost important outside audiences leading directly to achievingtheir managerial objectives.

 
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