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Examining the critical relationship between strategy and PR planning.

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  2. 2. Strategy & Planning in Public Relations Dr Danny Moss 2
  3. 3. “To be strategic , public relations must pass one basic test: at a minimum everything that is done must be aligned with the corporate vision or mission -the company‟s reason for being-and must substantially contribute to achieving the organisation‟s objectives. Ideally public relations should be part of the team helping to create the corporate mission and set objectives” 3 P.J.Webster ,1990
  4. 4. Business / Organisational strategy Business planning Comms/P R Marketing HRM Strategy Strategy & Plans Strategy & & Plans plans 4
  5. 5. How does Business Strategy & Planning Differ? Strategy Strategy determines the direction and scope of an organisation over the long term: Strategy achieves advantage for the organisation through configuring its resources within a changing environment to meet the needs of markets & fulfil stakeholder expectations (Johnson & Scholes,1999) 5
  6. 6. Three Dimensional Perspective of Strategy Organisation’s Strategy Content Purpose- Strategy Process Outcome of Impetus for Flow of strategic activity Strategic activity Strategic activities Strategy Context- Conditions surrounding strategic activity Adapted from De Witt & Meter (2004) 6
  7. 7. Planning While Strategy addresses questions about overall direction, scope and focus of organisation‟s operations, - the vision, policy direction, broad corporate „architecture‟ Planning provides (1) the analysis, insights and forecasts needed to facilitate strategy formation and (2) the detailed implementation plans to help realize top managements‟ strategic vision 7
  8. 8. SOSTAC Model of Planning ( A Pulford & P Smith , 1990) S -Situation Analysis - where are we now? O -Objectives -where do we want to go? S - Strategy -summarises how we are going to get there. T -Tactics -the details of strategy A -Action or implementation - putting the plan to work- who is going to do what and when. C –How can we control, measure and develop the process 8
  9. 9. Henry Mintzberg, leading management scholar (1994) argued: Strategic “planning” is not the same of “strategic thinking” -the former is about analysis , the latter synthesis Planners do not create strategies, but they can supply the data, help managers to think strategically, and programme their vision 9
  10. 10. Strategy Pyramid: Top Down Approach Recognition of the VISION possibility of bottom-up approaches to planning MISSION and strategy making GOALS STRATEGIES TACTICS/ ACTION PLANS 10 Traditional view of the structure of Strategy and tactics 10
  11. 11. Public Relations Strategy & Planning Practitioners and academics often fail to distinguish clearly between the terms strategy and planning using the terms interchangeably Indeed where strategy is discussed in the public relations context it is often conceived largely in terms of formulating a PR plan. Moreover , to understand the underlying role of public relations strategy it needs to be located within the overall hierarchy of corporate and business strategy –making and planning. 11
  12. 12. Corporate, Business and Communications strategy & Plans Corporate Strategy & Plans Corporate Determining the Org‟s position Objectives and future direction- what business and plans Should we be in Business /Competitive strategy Determining how best to compete in existing/ chosen Business Objectives and markets –how to sustain a plans competitive position Communications strategy and plans Communication objectives Determining what needs to be Target stakeholders and communicated to whom in order to publics, Key messages and support corporate and competitive tactical programmes strategies and goals 12
  13. 13. What is P R strategy? Grunig and Repper (1992) defines the strategic role of public relations as: “to manage conflict and build relationships with those strategic constituencies that can limit the autonomy of the organisation” From this perspective , the P R strategy focuses on defining the key stakeholder relationships and determining how best to either develop and enhance, assuage or combat their affects 13
  14. 14. Strategic Management Model for Public Relations Organisational decisions at corporate, business functional Organisational levels Consequences reputation Consequences Symmetrical Stakeholders Communication + P1 P2 P3 +Relationship maintenance P4 Relationship Publics + Conflict management outcome Crisis Management Issues Achievement Behaviour of Publics Creates of Business Failure to to anticipate and Goals resolve conflict leads to 14 14
  15. 15. According to Gregory (2000), Strategy represents the overall approach taken – the coordinating theme or factor, the guiding principles or „big idea‟ behind the tactical campaign Moss and Warnaby (1997) acknowledge that public relations strategy will take on differing emphases at different levels of strategy: At the corporate level , public relations strategy may be about (i) building key relationships (ii) positioning the organisation or (iii) shaping perceptions with respect to key issues 15
  16. 16. At the business/ competitive level, public relations strategy is about supporting brand positions, underpinning and elaborating marketing messages and building customer relationships At the functional level the strategy is about determining and directing the specific set of communications activities towards the realization of specific functional goals and objectives 16
  17. 17. Public Relations Planning While strategy can be and often is expressed in the form of a plan, planning is more generally treated as the means through which the strategic vision and goals are made real and implemented And generally plans set out the operational/ tactical measures/ actions to be carried out to realize specific objectives The key elements in the planning cycle are shown the the next figure 17
  18. 18. Corporate and Business Strategy Communications Strategy Research & Evaluation What role is Communications Measuring results to play- Desired outcomes Against targets/Objectives & effects Programme(s) Communications Execution Tactical Programme(s) Implementing the What messages programmes What audiences/publics What channels / media Communications strategy and Planning Cycle 18
  19. 19. There are a number of planning models /frameworks that have been applied to public relations . Although perhaps differing in the terminology used the planning process depicted by most of these models comprises broadly similar elements 19
  21. 21. Situation Analysis PESTLE SWOT Comms. Audit Define the Role of P R What can public relations can do to help resolve the situation Define Measurable Objectives SMART Rationale & Justification of the proposed Strategy The who , what , where, when and how to achieve the objectives Identify the Target publics (CIPR Guides Di Burton) 21
  22. 22. Identify the Core Messages An over-aching core message that resonates with Key audiences with sub messages tailored to each target audience The tactical Programme Identify the tactical activities to deliver the core messages to each audience Develop the detailed timetable Specify what is to happen when and who is responsible Budget Considerations All plans must be within budget Costing must account for people, resources and any other costs Evaluation Analysis of „impact‟ not just process- have the objectives 22 been met
  23. 23. Elements of Planning Situation Analysis The first step in assembling any P R strategy and Plan is analysis of the context/ specific situation faced. This requires an examination of both internal and external factors: The key stakeholder relationships that the PR programme will need influence The factors affecting current stakeholder perceptions of the organisation- its reputation The key elements of the organisation‟s reputation The nature/ effectiveness of past communications activity The likely scenarios that may result and how they may affect the realisation of intended goals Other external/internal variables that may affect the organisation‟s plans- e.g.impending new legislation 23
  24. 24. Analysis tools include For Broad internal and external Context Analysis  PESTLE analysis [ political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors] for broad context analysis SWOT [ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats] Stakeholder Analysis- who is affected by and can affect the organisation/ situation For Specific Communication Problem Analysis Communication Audit – review of previous/ exiting communication activity  Issues Analysis – analysis of key challenges/ issues affecting the organisation- stakeholder relationships 24
  25. 25. Analysis should avoid simply generating „lists „ of general context factors – in all cases the unit of analysis should be on how each factor might affect the key organisation- stakeholder relationships This context analysis should lead to identification of the key issues that the P R strategy should address arise-issues can be defined as the result of the consequences that an organisations‟ actions have for particular people/ groups or vice versa. For the purposes of PR planning, it is important to identify the communication implications of the key corporate/ business issues and hence define the communications issues - e.g Concerns over product safety, Poor quality reputation of a company, Perceived 25 dishonesty of MPs, etc
  26. 26. Communication / P R Objectives Objectives should be as precise as possible – SMART Specific Measureable Achievable/Agreed Realistic Timely These objectives should identify the intended outcomes with respect to the key stakeholder relationships -i.e the values the organisation wishes to communicate & the attitudes, opinions and behaviours it wishes to promote towards the organisation. 26
  27. 27. In addition to defining overall objectives for the campaign as a whole, where there are multiple target publics, specific objectives should be identified for each of the key target public/audience strands Thus while the overall objective might be: To achieve at least 60% awareness and understanding of an organisations new identity and name change amongst Key stakeholder groups by year end The specific objectives for internal/ employee audiences might be: To communicate the rationale for the new identity and name change and to build support for the new identity amongst employees 27
  28. 28. Articulating the Strategy Devising alternative communications strategies involves identifying what different roles communication might play on behalf of the organisation- expressed in term of how communication might help the organisation achieve its goals/ resolve its problems Often communications /P R strategy may be expressed in terms of some form of intended positioning for the organisation in relation to its reputation with its key stakeholders as well in relation to the identified issues 28
  29. 29. Examples of communication strategy statements: The Comms Strategy will seek to reposition the org as a leader in the move toward „Greener‟ or environmentally friendly manufacturing, focusing on the organisation‟s environmental record through an international PR and paid corporate advertising campaign The strategy will aim to position the company at the forefront of mobile technology capabilities, through an integrated comms program of advertorial and editorial placement to demonstrate the company‟s advanced technological capabilities The strategy will seek to challenge the necessity of the proposed legislation, highlighting the flaws in the new legislation and suggesting amendments to the new Act through a sustained 29 programme of editorial placement and face to face advocacy
  30. 30. Identify The Stakeholders &Target Publics The success of any PR programme hinges on identifying the key stakeholder relationships that are crucial to resolving the situation/ problem- here a stakeholder map may be useful starting point in the case of very complex sets of stakeholders. Here it is important to identify the active publics in the specific context being handled [ those who are directly affected by the organisation or who can frustrate or facilitate the realisation of the organisation‟s goals It may also be important to determine the priorities amongst the publics - those whose support/ opposition is most critical to the success of the programme 30
  31. 31. A detailed profile of each target public should be drawn up in terms of geo-demographics, attitudes, opinions and behaviour with respect to the organisation and the issues involved in the situation. Such profiles are essential in identifying the most effective media channels to reach the target publics For P R planning purposes the media are treated as both a a target public and a channel to communicate with other targets 31
  32. 32. Developing the Tactical Program/Plan Once the objectives and target publics have been identified, the next step is to formulate the main elements of the communication programme itself. Here, all programmes comprise two main elements: • The core message strategy to be communicated • The media strategy/ activities to be used to deliver the messages to the target publics. 32
  33. 33. The Message Strategy The message strategy should indicate the broad theme(s) of the communication strategy-i.e. what has the campaign to convince people to believe, support, or do. The message strategy should not be confused with a summary of “the copy” to be used in any press release, brochures , etc. Thus when ICI sought to reposition itself after its demerger from Zeneca the message strategy focused on positioning ICI as: “A Global leader in the industrial chemicals and paint market” 33
  34. 34. The execution of this message strategy took the form of the use of the strapline: “ICI World-class” This strapline appeared on all stationary, brochures, packaging etc 34
  35. 35. The Commission for Racial Equality [CRE]‟s campaign to challenge individual attitudes towards racism in the UK The overall aim and focus of message strategy was to challenge personal responsibility towards racism The core message /strapline used throughout the campaign was Racism- Condemn it or condone it – there‟s no in between 35
  36. 36. Media Channels/ Activity Plan The media strategy/plan should identify the media channels/PR activities to be used, indicating which publics each will be used to reach, how the activities relate to one another, and the relative importance assigned to each. Here it is important to distinguish between the specific role and activities that PR will perform and those activities that other functions may need to perform to enable the overall objectives of the campaign to be achieved 36
  38. 38. P R Activity Plan Gnatt chart Venue Plan Press Timing conference Stage Press Book Press reception conference venue Prepare Press Writing packs photos Trade Consumer Issue Press releases press Press Plan exhibition Book Prepare stand literature Manage exhibition Man Exhibition Collect Evaluation Data analysis data survey J F M M J J A S O N D J Programme Time Scale 38
  39. 39. Budgeting Any PR programme must take account of the budget / resources available and where necessary elements of the plan may need to be trimmed to stick within budget Here a project based approach should enable the essential elements of any plan to be retained while cost saving can be achieved by trimming „non-essential‟ elements of the programme 39
  40. 40. Monitoring & Evaluation Monitoring the success of the programme during its implementation and then evaluating the outcome against the objectives is critically important and is often one of the weaknesses in programme management. Here it is important to adopt measures that focus on the ‘impact’ achieved ( i.e changes in attitudes/ behaviour) rather than simply the success of the process of communication ( i.e measuring media coverage) Measures such as AVEs are spurious measures of impact often used to placate an essentially uninformed client / superior 40
  41. 41. Monitoring & Evaluation Evaluation of „impact‟ often requires pre and post- campaign measurement of attitudes , opinions and ultimately behaviours . This itself can be difficult to conduct effectively and expensive . It is it generally the cost , potential complexity and time considerations that are cited as the reasons for the reliance on media content-type evaluation methods. Such considerations cannot be ignored but should not be used to justify complete reliance on process-based measures for evaluation 41