Here’s one public you had better not ignore! the
audience whose actions most affect your organization.
And that is where your attention should be directed.
I’m talking about “publics,” or key audiences, like
customers, employees, community residents, union
membership, local influentials and, possibly, even a
nearby military base.
I’m certain you can add to this list because only you
can identify those certain groups of people whose
actions have the most impact on your business.
What should you do about them? Above all, stay alert
to any unintended perceptions among them and, thus,
brewing behaviors. Then take action when you
discover trouble in the making.
First, that means setting aside some time, as difficult
as that may be. Fact is, this effort can save you some
real pain and money when their actions begin impacting
We’re talking here about inaccurate perceptions such
as your product or service quality is declining; you employ
illegal aliens; you treat your employees unfairly; your
prices are too high or you use dangerous compounds in
your production process.
Remember, it’s what people BELIEVE to be true – rather
than the actual truth — that usually defines the public
So, true or not, any “belief” can create perceptions that
lead to behaviors ranging from negative feelings or
suspicions about your business to outright hostility and
In any case, NOT good for sales and profits!
Best way to handle this is to meet with individuals among
each key audience on a regular basis so you “see it coming.”
Also advisable: monitor your emails and your local media
for danger signals.
LISTEN carefully to what is being said about your business
and its products and services. Then take a hard look at your
operation. Be sure to fix what needs fixing, or take actions
such as those outlined below to correct any inaccurate
Make a list of your most important “publics” whose actions
really can help or hinder your business. After each, enter
those reactions discovered during your one-on-one chats.
Tip: taking the time to be a regular speaker, newspaper/radio
contributor, special events sponsor and an active member
of the more popular business and fraternal clubs can build
positive awareness of your business and of you as a manager.
This good will can be “money in the bank” when trouble brews.
At any rate, decide upon a clear and pointed message designed
to correct inaccurate perceptions. Try it out on a few outsiders
in order to gauge their reaction and the message’s effectiveness.
Now, how will you reach the people who make up the key
audience in question, with your persuasive message?
To actually reach them, you have a big choice of
communications tactics. Everything from meetings, speeches,
presentations and open house facility tours to promotional
events, newspaper and radio interviews, email messages and
many, MANY more.
You might even try to partner with a local publicity specialist
who can help you get these important and clarifying messages
to the people who need to hear them.
To repeat, unattended and uncorrected misconceptions held by
your important audiences can affect the survival of your business.
Don’t let that happen to you!
Now, you really should track your own progress as you go about
correcting misconceptions. To do that, you must take the time to
meet again with individual customers and prospects, area residents
and others whose opinions could lead them to take actions not
destined to help your business. What this article really says is that
because people will act on their own perception of the facts
before them about your business, the result could be behaviors
you would rather avoid.
But because something can almost always be done about those
behaviors, I try here to outline how you can, should and must
address such problem areas before they negatively affect your
Why fail to take such action and roll the dice on your business’
Please feel free to publish this article in your ezine,
newsletter, offline publication or website. Only
requirement: you must use the Robert A. Kelly byline
and resource box.
Robert A. Kelly © 2006
About the Author:
Bob Kelly counsels and writes for business, non-profit and
association managers about using the fundamental premise of public
relations to achieve their operating objectives. He has authored
245 articles on the subject which are listed at EzineArticles.com, click
Expert Author, click Robert A. Kelly. He has been DPR, Pepsi-Cola
Co.; AGM-PR, Texaco Inc.; VP-PR, Olin Corp.; VP-PR, Newport
News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.; director of communications, U.S.
Department of the Interior, and deputy assistant press secretary, The
White House. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Columbia
University, major in public relations.
Visit =>http://www.PRCommentary.com, mailto:bobkelly@TNI.net