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PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM

Posted on:11/25/2005
Written By: Prof. Shukla
There are four stages in public relations program. The first stage is fact-finding, the second is organized planning, the third one is effective communication & the final is objective evaluation. Each of these four steps is important to the successful implementation of a Public Relation Campaign. Let us discuss these steps one by one.


PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM

FOUR STAGES:

There are four stages in public relations program. The first stage is fact-finding, the second is organized planning, the third one is effective communication & the final is objective evaluation. Each of these four steps is important to the successful implementation of a Public Relation Campaign. Let us discuss these steps one by one.

1) FACT FINDING:

It is an informal research to find out the problems of an organization. Any public relation campaign has to begin with the appraisal of the problems of an organization and also the attitude of the public. Here is an example:

For years everything was well with food products manufacturing company. But at one stage, to their great surprise, it was discovered that their products were losing the market. A market survey was conducted. There was no intense competition from other products. An internal survey was subsequently carried out. It was then noted that there were lots of dark patches in the organization and it was company's staff, which was responsible for the falling sales. That fact finding revealed that one of the fields where the staff miserably failed was in letter writing. A committee of experts was set up to screen every letter written by the company to their clients over a specific period.

It was then discovered that over 80 percent of the letters that were sent out to people should not have been written at all in the first instance because they lacked the communicative touch and went off without influencing the people towards their products. So, the fact-finding survey pointed out this vital defect.

To remedy the situation, steps were taken to improve public relation letter writing by the staff and in a relatively short-time business picked up.

Fact-finding can be used for different purposes. It is the foundation to public relation planning & identifying discrepancies. There are several methods of fact finding such as personal contacts, mail analysis, opinion surveys, media reports, etc. Meeting with the executives and officers at the organization can also be a part of fact-finding programs.

2) PLANNING PROGRAMS:

This is the second stage of laying plan and programs for satisfactory solution of the problems. Before submitting a plan for the approval it should be examined with the following checklist.

CHECK LIST:

What is the problem?

How is the problem going to be solved through a public relation campaign?

Is the cause worthwhile?

What is the object of the proposed public relation campaign?

What are the costs involved in the campaign?

Who will execute the campaign?

What media will be used?

Will it be continuous in the application?

Is it going to be beneficial both to the organization and the public?

Having satisfied with the checklist the P.R.O. can submit a comprehensive public relation project for the approval of the management. For this a presentation, meeting should be held with top management when the plan is not only discussed but also finally approved.

3) COMMUNICATIONS:

This is a third step in which the public relation program approved by management is put to action through various media of communication, so as to convey the message to the target audience.

The ultimate aim of a public relation campaign is to make the people adopt an idea or a product. In adopting such ideas, there are again four steps.

Eg: The department of agriculture has evolved a new strain of hybrid paddy, which is to be introduced in the country. For this a communication program has been designed in such a way as to make the farmers adopt the new variety of paddy seeds. In adopting this new hybrid variety a farmer has to pass through four stages.

1) Awareness: The farmer learns of this existence of the hybrid paddy, which was not known to him earlier.

2) Interest: Having known to its existence, the farmer develops interest in the idea and seeks more information on the new strain for his consideration.

3) Acceptance: The farmer makes a decision to try the new variety in his own farm.

4) Trial: The farmer actually puts the idea into practice on a small scale in his farm.

If the idea experimented by the farmer is successful, it can be safely assumed that the idea and campaign would be finally adopted. This is the result of public relation campaign.

The media used for communication for each stage must be suitable. For creating the necessary awareness, media will be press, radio, television, news print, local advertising, etc. Till the interest stage, the advertisement must be repeated by the same medias because as the saying goes, "Once forgotten, twice remembered and third implemented." For acceptance & trial stages personal approaches or group discussion is a good and great media

4) EVALUATION:

Public relation is a long and a continuous process. Unless public relation activities are evaluated, it may be difficult for the management to assess the effect of public relations on the public. Its impacts can’t be judged by the number of press releases dispatched or by the number of exhibition of public relation works. It is to be determined by the degree of impact a given message has produced on the public concern and the extent of its reaction to it. For example, if the hybrid paddy has been adopted by the farmers, the public relations campaign would have achieved its desired objects. A system of review of public relations activities is therefore indispensable.

Quantitatively, public relations cannot be measured but effectiveness can be measured by watching reaction of the people. It is also a three-stage program.

AUDIENCE COVERAGE: It shows size and type of target audience reached or covered.

AUDIENCE RESEARCH: If the message has reached the target audience, what was their reaction? Did it arouse a new interest? Did they understand? Usually every medial has an association, which conducts surveys on the impact of its program. The exact opinion of the audience can be taken by this process.

COMMUNICATION IMPACT: The impact of the message passed on to the audience can be found out by the communication or by direct meeting with the people. The study team employs various tools to evaluate the impact of the planned publicity, which includes inviting written memoranda from the public, sample surveys through mail questionnaire, information from different publicity media units concerned, discussions with centre & state ministers and the officials concerned, legislators, presidents and members of Zillah Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and village panchayats and villagers, representatives of public. Other tools include reader interest surveys of newspapers and magazines, readability tests, radio and television audience research, press clipping services, etc.

Pick a chapter to continue..

Chapter 1: MEANING OF PUBLIC RELATIONS

Chapter 2: PERSONAL QUALITIES OF PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER

Chapter 3: ACTIVITIES OF PRO

Chapter 4: PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM

Chapter 5: PUBLICITY, PROPAGANDA AND ADVERTISING

Chapter 6: Attitude; HOW GOOD SHOULD BE A GOOD PRO?

Chapter 7: QUALIFICATIONS OF PRO

Chapter 8: PUBLIC RELATIONS POLICY

 


  
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