PLANNING, IMPLEMENTING AND EVALUATING PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAMMES

PLANNING, IMPLEMENTING AND EVALUATING PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAMMES

SUBTOPICS:

  • Carrying out planning and implementation of public relations programme
  • Factors considered when choosing implementers of public relations programme
  • Method of evaluating public relations programme

Introduction

  • Research indicates that many PR practitioners cannot plan well
  • They cannot measure the contribution of PR to a company’s overall success
  • It is important to be able to evaluate how well various public relations programmes contribute to the success of any given company

 

Justification for Planning PR Programmes

  • Skinner et all (2007) argues that the PR Plan is the benchmark for measuring performance. It is the blue print from which the PR team operate
  • Frank Jefkins (1998: 39) gives 4 reasons for planning:
  1. To set targets for public relations activities
  2. Estimate working time and costs
  3. Set priorities to control the number and timing of different activities
  4. Decide on feasibility of carrying out set objectives

 

STEPS IN PLANNING PR PROGRAMME

STEP 1: Gaining the approval of management

  • You must seek the support of CEO; CEO must endorse the idea for planning. Planning involves preparation of strategic plan for public relations function in the organization
  • Why is it important to get CEO support?
  1. CEOs reluctant to plan for PR because they think it is a waste of time
  2. Commitment to plan means allocating resources
  3. Senior management are reluctant too
  4. They often disagree on preferred corporate image and techniques to be used
  5. It is important to gain support of management to get their buy in
  6. Ensures adequate thought goes into planning for PR
  7. Gives opportunity for opinion research

STEP 2: Situational analysis

  • Involves appreciating the PR situation in the organization
  • It helps to benchmark for PR activities
  • Helps to understand the PR opportunities and challenges
  • Helps to understand the target publics
  • Helps to understand the media of communication

Methods of situational analysis include:

  1. PR audit to understand the PR strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats, resources, etc
  2. Image analysis of the company
  3. PESTEL analysis- Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal regimes
  4. Opinion polls to gauge the perceptions of the publics
  5. Press clip analysis, content analysis and audience analysis
  6. Customer complaints and compliments analysis
  7. SWOT analysis- Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Technological
  8. Stakeholder analysis
  • The situational analysis should describe the PR situation in the organization
  • It should present the findings of the analysis
  • It should also present the implications of the findings on the organization
  • It should make suggestions on now these can be addressed

STEP 3: Setting Objectives/ Articulating objectives

  • You should know what you want to achieve
  • Objectives must be based on overall corporate goals and objectives
  • PR must know the corporate objectives
  • Let CEO clarify them for you, if not sure
  • Objectives must also reflect the findings of the situational analysis
  • Objectives must be SMART. That is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.

Examples of objectives:

  1. To change the image of the organization
  2. To improve communication between organization and publics
  3. To gain public confidence
  4. To make known corporate goals and operations
  • Prioritize objectives
  • You must do so according to what is urgent and important
  • You classify as short term and long term objectives

STEP 4: Determining the target publics

  • Segment the publics into internal and external publics
    • Internal publics include: Staff, Management, Directors
    • External publics include: Potential employees, Suppliers, Distributors, Consumers, Opinion leaders, Media, Government, Financial institutions-(banks and insurance), Shareholders, Community members
    • Segment into primary and secondary publics
    • Primary public are the target of the message. They must be reached directly with the message
    • Secondary publics are people who can be used to reach out to the primary publics
    • You can also segment according to level of interest, stakes and demographics
    • You may not succeed unless you know the public
    • You need to understand the following:

 

  • Needs
  • Interests
  • Stakes
  • Demographics
  • Communication habits
  • Information preferences
  • Perceptions of the company
  • Level of understanding of the company and its operations
  • Their attitudes towards the organization
  • Their expectations of the organizations
  • Clarify whether organizational objectives are in line with public needs and desires
  • Understand the informational needs of the publics

STEP 5: Selecting the media

  • Understand the various media available to the various publics.
  • Remember that various publics require different media
  • The media include: The press, Radio, Television, Exhibitions, Printed materials, Sponsored books, Direct mail, Sponsorships, House journal

STEP 6: Articulate the Message/ Developing the Messages

  • Determine the messages you want to disseminate to each target audience
  • Message must be specific to each audience
  • Message must resonate with audience
  • Message must be simple, clear and complete
  • You may express them as slogans

STEP 7: Set Activities/ Determining the Activities

  • PR activities are the tools of communication. They must transmit the right message to the target audience
  • They include: Facility tours, Symposia, Conferences, Workshops, Public speaking engagements, Media releases, Press conferences, Radio interviews, House journals
  • Broadly, these activities may be classified under: (I) Oral activities (II) Written activities (III) Visual activities
  • They should target the internal and external audiences

STEP 8: Budget

  • Prepare budget based on proposed activities. Budget for everything
  • Budget for: Time 2. Materials 3. Expenses like hospitality bills 4. Budget for salaries, equipment’s, various activities done

STEP 9: Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Define indicators for monitoring and evaluation
  • You monitor the implementation of the activities
  • You monitor using the implementation plans, budgets
  • Methods of monitoring include:
      • Having staff meetings,
      • Interviewing staff and publics,
      • Scrutinizing budgets,
      • Reviewing reports
  • You evaluate measuring effectiveness of the activities done.
  • You monitor conducting various research
  • Monitoring helps to manage and control the activities
  • Evaluation helps to document success and failure
  • It helps you improve your PR programmes

STEP 10: Develop an Implementation matrix

  • The implementation matrix contains:
      • Strategy or activity
      • Objective
      • Results (outcome and outcomes)
      • Indicators
      • Time
      • Assumptions
      • Responsibility
      • Budget items and cost

STEP 11: Allocating responsibilities

  • You allocate responsibility for:
    • Chief spokesperson (CEO)
    • Spokesperson for marketing (marketing manager)
    • Spokesperson for finance (finance director)
    • Spokesperson for production (production manager)
    • Spokesperson for PR (PR manager)

STEP 12: Sell the Plan Internally

  • Create awareness about the plan internally
  • Internal publics must know the plan for them to support it
  • Their endorsement is useful

 

QUALITIES OF A WELL PLANNED P.R. PROGRAMME

  1. Should be clear and simple to understand
  2. A good plan should have time plan showing the activities that will be carried out
  3. Should be beneficial to both the sender and recipient of PR message
  4. Should be cost effective
  5. Should be in line with the organization objectives

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING PR PROGRAMMES

  1. Appreciation of the situation-for PR programmes to be effective, they must be based on sound objectives that are directed at the right audience, delivered at the right time and presented in an attractive and understandable language.
  2. Suitable research tools- research tools involves all means that are used to gather information which includes; interviewing, holding discussions with management, use of questionnaires etc. While planning PR programmes one should consider availability of research tools, reliability of the information etc.
  3. Security-While planning for public relation activities one should put into consideration security to both PR personnel and the respondents
  4. Education level of targeted audience-one should plan in advance on target audience in order to cater for both literate and illiterate.
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