Let’s start with an assumption we can all agree upon.
You must have a plan to succeed in business. If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, you will never arrive at your destination.
It’s no different in public relations. A public relations program must have well-defined, realistic and measurable objectives before strategies and tactics can be developed.
At the same time, it’s important to remain cognizant that nothing remains written in stone. Marketing environments are constantly changing. New competitors come forth. Old competitors change their products or introduce new ones. Regulatory mandates change. Social conditions change and new attitudes emerge.
Simply stated, change is the only constant upon which you can depend.
A three-step approach to PR planning
At Wellons Communications, we keep our clients’ plans updated by conducting a three-step process:
- We review and assess what’s happened in the past year.
- We consider our client’s overall business objectives and use them as a basis for revising and developing the next steps in our client’s PR plan.
- We develop a plan of attack for the upcoming year.
The public relations plan that develops from our three-stage
approach helps you know where your PR program is headed and, from our
vantage point, helps us verify what we do is in concert with your overall
Everybody has a plan…until they get punched in the mouth.”
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson
Successful business leaders likely would not deign to take advice from an individual with a history like one-time boxing great Mike Tyson. But Tyson’s memorable quote is particularly well-suited when it applies to keeping your PR plans up to date.
Tyson’s quote serves as a reminder that PR plans, particularly plans that address crisis, must be capable of being activated quickly and must be flexible enough to adjust to uncertain situations. Your business must be mindful of all possible negative scenarios and have appropriate responses prepared.
Plans, indeed, are important, but they also must be flexible enough to deal with challenging situations you might not ordinarily address.
If you believe a crisis cannot happen to you, think again.
Start with Hurricane Dorian.
How did the hurricane affect your business? How did you interact with your customers before and after the hurricane’s visit to Central Florida? Were there opportunities (e.g. increased sales to meet unusually high demand for storm-related products)? Were there special concerns you needed to identify and resolve before the storm (e.g. what your clients needed to do in relation to your product or service)?
Were there messages you needed to convey to your target audiences? Was there information you needed to remind your clients about? Did you take any action to let your clients know how they could reach you or ask questions of you before and after the storm?
One of our roles is to ensure our clients are aware of the need for some sort of crisis plan and crisis procedures, even to the point of conducting a test run to help iron out any holes in the plan. Like Tyson said, plans are great until you have to actually use them.
2020 is fast approaching. So, start your PR planning for the new year now.
The new year will be here before you know it. And that means your PR planning needs to be thought out now in order to get it underway in January.
If you don’t have a PR program, consider augmenting your overall marketing plan with a PR initiative. And if you already have a PR program, it’s time to dust it off and ensure your PR action plan is in sync with your other marketing activities.
Not sure how to develop a robust, affordable and doable plan?
Call us at Wellons Communications. We serve a great number of mid-size businesses that have regional and local needs…and will be happy to review your business’ current situation and see how we can affordably and realistically help you meet your needs.