For those new to public relations, hopefully this discussion will help. For those who are veterans, hopefully this is a good refresher. In both cases, though, let’s have some free and open discussion.
When the circus comes to town and you put up posters announcing it, that's advertising. When you put a sign on an elephant and parade it down Main Street, that’s promotion. When the elephant tramples the mayor’s flower garden and a picture shows up on the front page, that’s publicity. When the mayor laughs about it, that’s public relations!
Too often public relations is considered as the dissemination of news releases or spin doctoring. Too often it’s confused with advertising and sales promotion. Both can be part of the public relations effort, but real public relations is much more. It is building relationships, educating the public and promoting objectives. So, what might we identify as objectives ? Increasing stakeholder support Increase the understanding that people with mr/dd should participate as full members of the community Increase public understanding and support in order to pass a levy Build a more unified mr/dd community Rumor control
Target banning the Salvation Army bell ringers triggered a national boycott. The bell ringers were said to be the ones who reminded us of the “Spirit of Christmas.” Target was often portrayed as an uncaring big corporate giant. It opened the door for Wal-Mart to play Santa by matching customer contributions to the kettles at its stores. How about the locker room scene that ABC broadcast just before a Monday Night Football game?? Remember when Nicollette Sheridan lost her towel? And that happened right after family values issues helped re-elect President Bush. Obviously, ABC had not considered an ever more conservative national public. --- What do I mean by “shoot from the hip?” How about the Dixie Chicks commenting that they were ashamed President Bush was from Texas?? Anti-war statements do not mix with Country Music audiences. Record sales plummeted. Radio stations refused to play their songs. They were booed at the Country Music Awards show. Achilles’ Heels Someone in supported living is caught inviting young boys home for sex Your staff have to do a take down during a community outing at the mall Are there enough substitutes available to ensure safety in the workshops? Can costs be justified? Are there some unreasonably high costs associated with some individuals? Could perceptions about ADA affect efforts to enhance community employment? Should a person with mr have a drivers license? Get married? Be a parent?
We learned that there was a strong distaste in the community for spending tax dollars on alcohol and drug treatment. We can expect an increase in enrollment… but some other measures could be an increase in inquiries… more volunteer applicants… donations going up… more acceptance of inclusion. For example, a P.R. initiative might be tasked with raising awareness (hard to measure) that will drive inquiry calls (easy to measure).
Modern thinking is this: The traditional shot-gun approach to marketing is impersonal, one-way , and often ignored. People increasingly are depending on trusted, respected sources to make decisions and form opinions. Key influencers can include the media, authors, academics, analysts, associations, celebrities, civic and government leaders, gurus and researchers.
Acceleration: a catalyst for larger marketing campaigns Collaboration: a way to connect senior executives with leaders in the community Validation: a means to get feedback on business strategy and direction Recognition: achieving credible, third party acknowledgement
Virginia Tech. There has been more criticism of the way the University responded than the shootings. Did the University appropriately handle the shooter’s mental health concerns? Did the University appropriately alert the student body to the shootings?
The Dixie Chicks forgot their audience. Anti-war politics and country music don’t mix well. KFC aired commercials implying fried chicken could be part of “eating better!” Perhaps the dumbest P.R. blunder ever, FEMA’s recent phony news conference.