The Contributions of Public Relations to the Attainment of Corporate Objective
PUBLIC RELATIONSAND CORPORATEOBJECTIVEBy Mobolaji OkusagaManaging Director, The Quadrant Company
What’s Your Company’s Objective? Corporate Objective articulates a Company’s manner of doing business and the kind of relationships it need to create with its Stakeholders to deliver on its purpose These objectives are encapsulated in the organisation’s mission, vision and culture and help set the tone for interactions with its Stakeholders Corporate Objective asks the questions: What is the purpose of our organisation? What value do we intend to create? What kind of ideals bind our stakeholders together? By answering these questions, Corporate objective helps an Organisation to differentiate, plan, execute and deliver exceptional performance
Identifying your Stakeholders Anyone on the Street Influencers Core Target
Corporate Objectives and Stakeholder Theory Stakeholder theory begins with the hypothesis that values are essentially and decidedly part of doing business It address the Principle of Who or What Really Counts by establishing which groups are Stakeholders in a corporation In traditional input-output models of the corporation, Organisations use the inputs of investors, employees, and suppliers and converts it to usable outputs By this model, firms only address the needs and wishes of four parties: Investors, Employees, Suppliers and Customers Contemporary Stakeholder theory however recognizes other parties such as governmental bodies, political groups, trade associations, trade unions, communities, associated corporations, etc as Stakeholders. The theory recognizes that Stakeholders are constituencies that contribute, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to an Organisation’s wealth-creating capacity, and may be its beneficiaries and/or risk bearers In fulfilling its Corporate Objective therefore, an Organisation must clearly identify its Stakeholders and strategically relate with them.
The Organisation and its Stakeholders CUSTOMERS GENERAL EMPLOYEES PUBLIC THE MEDIA GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION SUPPLIERS SHAREHOLDERS COMPETITORS
What are the Demands ofStakeholder Engagement? Every organisation relates with different publics - from the Shareholders, Staff, Customers, Industrial Unions, Government and Regulatory Bodies, Counter-parties, the Press to the local community. These stakeholders are different in terms of their interests and expectation from the organisation The organisation therefore needs a deep-seated understanding of these interests and expectations to maintain a dialogue, enhance relationships and retain its goodwill among its stakeholders.
Outcomes of a Sound CorporateObjective Products / Service Quality / Technology Leadership Increased Sales Preference for Company’s Products / Service Customer Acquisition / Quality of Customers Growth in Market Share / Market Leadership Turn-over Operating Margin Gross Profit Market Capitalisation / Stock Price Attraction and Retention of Quality Employees
Public Relations in Organisation- Stakeholder Dialogue Public Relations is the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key publics . Public Relations engenders purposeful communications between an organisation and its publics, it is proactive and future orientated, and has the goal of building and maintaining a positive perception of an organisation in the mind of its publics. In the dialogue between Organisations and their stakeholders, the following branches of Public Relations suffice: Employee / Labour Relations Customer Relations Investor Relations Media Relations Government Relations Community Relations Reputation Management Issues Management Crisis Management
Its Implication Generally, Public Relations function as the conduit of the organisation to the world outside Public Relations practitioners must therefore, be abreast with their organisation’s vision, mission, strategy, corporate concern and culture They also need to understand their place in their company’s overall objective and to understand the market environment in which their organisation operates The Public Relations Executive should read the competitive landscape and be able to predict the move of competition He /She needs to be able to identify the organisation’s different stakeholders and the varying expectations that arise from operations and interaction with these stakeholders Finally, the Public Relations Practitioner must be able to relate his activities with the drive at achieving the organisation’s objectives.
Creating the Link Public Relations Executives need to think like a Business Managers by measuring their activities against their Organisations goals They must develop PR metrics which correlate with their Organisations objective PR Executives must initiate programmes which cover the entire competitive landscape with a view to seizing the higher ground for their Organisations In relating with the media, they must think of them as a channel to the Organisations Stakeholders
Stakeholder Relationships CONSUMERS PORTFOLIO MANAGERS / INVESTORS COMMUNITIES BUSINESS LEADERSPAPA FINANCIAL ANALYST / BUSINESS PRESS E NC TH TH RE OF OF FE REGULATORS IIN RE FL FL MAJOR OF UE UE CUSTOMERS TH NC N DISTRIBUTION / CHANNEL PA E E PARTNERS POTENTIAL EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEES Source: Regis McKenna
Expectation from Relationships EMPLOYEES / POTENTIAL Career Opportunities, EMPLOYEES Competitive Remuneration, Good Management CUSTOMERS Trustworthy, Good/Successful Products DISTRIBUTION / CHANNEL PARTNERS Attract Customers, Make Sales REGULATORS Ethical, Compliant COMMUNITIES Philanthropy, Good Corporate Citizenship
Elements of a Good Message Messages disseminated must be within the Stakeholders frame of Reference Must be relevant and useful to the Stockholders need Should be distinctive and distinguishable from that of competition Should be able to compel positive action Should deliver intended value
Developing PR Objectives In developing objectives which are scientific, it is essential to include precise milestones that evaluate progress in the realization of set aspirations. This process may include the following: 1. Map desired communications outcome 2. Spot target segment for desired outcome 3. State expected level of success 4. Identify timeframe for target outcome
Understanding Strategies andTactics Strategies are logical and systemic outlines for the attainment of desired goals. It basically considers the big-picture rather than details. Tactics are detailed plans designed for the actualization of strategies. Tactics identifies personnel, timelines, budget and the structure for the attainment of set objectives.
The Five Steps of Strategic PR ManagementStep 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5Develop a Monitor, Craft a ImplementStrategic Evaluate, Set Strategy and Vision and Take Objectives to Achieve Execute and Corrective Objectives Strategy Mission ActionRevise as Revise as Improve/ Improve/ Recycle Needed Needed Change Change as Needed
Communication MatrixTARGET EXPECTATIO DESIRED CORPORATE MESSAGE COMM METRIC N ACTION OBJECTIVE STRATEGYLABOUR Positive outcome of understand Reduce Staff Best place to Proactive Obtain 2xUNIONS outstanding Staff Managements Attrition work response to Staff competitors issues position Create a Understands enquires commendation of Information on Staff contentious Staff harmonious working smart Build good in Labour Articles Welfare issues organisation / Develops internal Generate 2x Spread a labour relationship industry’s best communications competitors buzz positive buzz on Attract the best hands &Information Flow on good staff career talents in the Establish Monthly welfare and attract development industry best industry In-house Journal and staff welfare talents Positive SpeakingPRESS / News on Articles on Increase share of Best product s EngagementsFINANCIAL Developments Company’s industry voice Customer Opinion Financials and Generate stabilityANALYST within the friendly Articles Organisation Activities Through good and Company’s Upgrade IR Company Recommend Consistently Performance Website Financial Results Stock to investing improving Financial exceed Focus Road Public performance industry shows on Continuous leaders priorities coverageCUSTOMERS Quality Products Buy and Increase market Best Products Drive preference 2x number of Satisfaction of recommend share Leadership gives by providing and competitors lead needs company’s Widen Customer access to new campaigning products Base markets highest standards Innovation 100% increase in Differentiate and Easy to do Leverage product Trust engender business with constant two way preference preference for communications against Where the products above by constantly competitor’s customer is truly competitors requesting a king offerings feedback Develop internet site as business tool
Why Measure? Guts does not cut it anymore, you’ve got to be able to justify your activities. If you aren’t measuring, you are not managing your budget effectively and deserve to be fired. Without data, how do you know what’s working and when to intensify or discontinue a line of action.
Determining Measurement Technique Always match measurement technique to available resources PR measurement does not have to be expensive - soft sounding surveys are an economical way of knowing designated audiences perception of a particular media message on your organisation Quantitative / message tracking can be done internally rather than through a media research firm in order to reduce cost, all that matters is for Management to be able to get the information on which action can be taken. Creating a valid measurement parameter for you activity will help you to be able to justify your budget and prioritize your activities.
Measurement and Evaluation Methods In-house: - quantitative / message tracking using Excel to plot graphs and charts. PR agency research tools: - Quantitative Research - Qualitative Research (article type, tone, ideological bent, latent issues) Media Research: - Competitive tracking studies to measure quantitative and qualitative indices. - Trend analysis to measure specific trends and influences Research Firms: To measure the insight of the target audience beyond the media message using Focus Group Discussions, Surveys and Observation and sampling methodologies
Positioning of Company on Issues Number of times Company was favourably positioned on key issues in the media Corporate Governance Industrial / Labour Issues Product Quality Philanthropy / Corporate Responsibility 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 180 200
Quantitative / QualitativePerformance Map Mention of competing Brands in the media in a Quarter Qualitative (times positioned on key issues) Brand A Brand B Brand C Brand D 0 Quantitative (Number of Articles) 200
Lotus Press Coverage AnalysisPercent of impressions containing messages by Company COMPANY A COMPANY B COMPANY C COMPANY D 0 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % Positive message No message Negative Message R. Paine and Partners
Lotus Press Coverage Analysis Cost per message communicatedCOMPANY ACOMPANY BCOMPANY CCOMPANY D N0.00 N0.50 N1.00 N1.50 N2.00 N2.50
Industry Best Practice Competitive analysis is compulsory in measuring your success. Analysis of messaging, positioning and issues identification are the norm. Analyst and quote measurement are some of the latest trends. Integrating media analysis with web activity and customer outcomes is starting to emerge as a pervasive trend in the developed world.
8 Steps for Effective Measurement1. Define your mission2. Map your needs3. Identify what you are benchmarking against4. Select an appropriate and cost effective research methodology5. Embark on research6. Analyze result and pick up insights7. Take appropriate action8. And then measure again
Matching PR Objective and SpendWith the Outcomes ofPR Activities
Prioritize your PR Spend There is a need to define your focus in alignment with the overall Corporate objective and then prioritize your spend on the following: Employees Customers Analysts Consumer media Business media Trade media Government officials NGO’s and Community Based Associations (CBO’s) Religious Institutions Labour Unions Opinion moulders
PR as Profit Centre Sometimes top management often wonder if they are getting their money’s worth from PR programmes and often believe that PR activities are as ephemeral as the air. To counter this notion, PR executives often points to “Ad Value Equivalency”, which equates PR hits against the value of an advertisement in the same news media that the article or programme appeared, as a measure of the value of PR in advancing the Corporate objective. But that does not pass the sniff test, what is key to note is that PR sets a criteria for relating with profitable and influential stakeholders and helps prepare the ground for marketing in the sense that its activities go well beyond engendering an awareness for a Product / Company and most importantly, help to build a sustainable platform on which to carry out branding and marketing activities. That platform is “GOODWILL”. GOODWILL can therefore be said to be the profit procurable from PR activities.