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Public Relations Campaign

Pariya Rinrattanakorn*

Abstract Elements of a public relations campaign


Campaigns are usually conducted to achieve Planning for a public relations campaign
specific organizational purposes. Likewise public is essential not only to know the management
relations campaigns are established to solve the process but to increase opportunities for
problems or improve the situations of the achieving campaign. Even though many public
organizations. PR practitioners must understand relations managers or PR practitioners feel they
the elements of public relations campaigns that have limited time to plan a campaign, however
consist of seven basic elements. First elements planning prevents the loss of time from errors
is situational analysis by researching. Next, of operating a campaign. Before planning a
establishing objectives to present the campaign campaign, PR practitioners must consider all
outcomes. Then, identifying the target public in the elements properly and understand the
order to design the key messages and select overall picture of a campaign clearly.
appropriate media. After that defining a timetable A public relations campaign consists of
to arrange campaign activities and allocating seven basic elements which are described in
the realistic budgets. Finally, evaluating the the following paragraphs.
accomplishment of a campaign in order to
develop campaign in the next time. These Situational analysis
elements provide campaign procedures so that Situational analysis is the first element
PR practitioners can create public relations of a public relations campaign. This element
campaigns systematically. Successful campaigns starts with a stable base of research. Research-
are described in term of five characteristics: ing is an effective tool of the PR practitioners
educational, engineering, enforcement, reinforce- to understand the situation that leads to the
ment and evaluation. conclusion that a public relations campaign

* Lecturer of Human Resource Development, Sripatum University Chonburi Campus

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is needed. There are many different types stead of inputs.
of research : primary and secondary, formal Gregory (2000, p. 84) says that the kind of
and informal, qualitative and quantitative . The objectives in public relations campaigns may
PR practitioners can apply appropriate types be presented to :
of research and the methodology in different promote understanding
campaign situations. overcome misunderstanding
The organizations can create public create awareness
relations campaigns in many situations. inform
According to Wilcox, Ault, Agee and Cameron develop knowledge
(2000, p. 145), some organizations create displace prejudice
campaigns in order to solve the problems or encourage belief
situations that negatively affect the organiza- confirm a perception
tion. While some other organizations set up Actually, writing objectives is absolutely
campaigns to preserve reputation and public vital for public relations campaigns because ob-
support which is also a form of reinforcement. jectives provide the direction for planning and
The consistency of good relationship with public evaluating campaigns.
is important. On many occasions, public relations Cutlip, Center and Broom (2000, p. 387)
campaigns are created to conduct a specific suggest that objectives are most useful if
one-time project such as, planning campaign PR practitioners follow a pattern :
for the grand opening of San Antonio s new Begin with to followed by a verb
public library. describing the direction to the
Without situational analysis, it is impos- intended outcome for example, to
sible to derive accurate and precise information increase to decrease and to maintain.
to determine the strategic campaigns which Objectives should be specific, clear and un-
will be implemented, including the establish- derstandable.
ment of the time tables. Thus, quality of Specify the outcome to be achieved.
situational analysis need to be considered in There are three levels of outcomes : knowledge
public relations campaigns. outcome, attitude outcome and behavioral out-
come. Objectives usually present in the learn
feel do causal sequence.
Objectives Statement in each outcome levels to be
The next element of a public relations maintained in clearly measurable terms. Quanti-
campaign is to establish objectives that is the tative objectives evaluate much easier.
statement to present the realistic views which Set the date when the outcome will be
the organizations desired to accomplish. These achieved. Date provides guidance for defining
objectives present outcomes of campaign in- schedule communications and events.

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Cutlip, Center, and Broom offer the tioners must determine public or audience clearly.
example of the objectives in public relations The organizations have to communicate with
campaigns in the following paragraphs. different public which is termed as stakeholder
Objective. To increase, within six weeks
such as, employees, customers, shareholders,
after starting the program, the percentage of media, suppliers community groups, financial
drivers from 8 percent to at least 90 percent who agencies and government. James Grunig points
are aware that in a typical year four company out that public can be defined in four kinds :
delivery drivers are seriously injured and one is Nonpublics people who do not face
killed while driving on the job. a problem or situation. They have no impact on
Objective. To increase, within two the organization.
months after starting the program, the percen- Latent publics people who face a
tage of drivers from 5 percent to at least 80 problem or situation but fail to recognize it.
percent who know that 55 percent of all fatalities Aware publics people who recog-
and 65 percent of all injuries from vehicle crashes
nize that they involve in a problem or situation
could be prevented if seat belts were used but have not communicated about it with other
properly. (Matara & Artigue, 2000, p. 69). people.
PR practitioners can change the objectives Active publics people who commu-
appropriate to different campaigns environment. nicate and manage to do something about the
However, they must be sure that the objectives problem or situation.
of a public relations campaign support the Additionally, PR practitioners can identify
business objectives. According to Seitel (2001, public based on these characteristics:
p. 178), the broad environment in which the Demographics Knowing about
organization operates must dictate overall gender, age, income, marital, social status,
business objectives. The task of organizing for a education of target public.
public relations campaign should flow naturally. Geographics Indicating where to find
the target public by using zip codes, telephone
Environment area codes, city limits, country lines.
Business objectives Psychographics Understanding
Public objectives/ strategies about lifestyle, value, attitude, belief of target
Public relations campaign public that relate to the achievement of a public
relations campaign. (Cutlip, Center & Broom, 2000,
Objectives of a public relations pp. 383-384).
campaign support business objectives Defining of the primary and secondary
public is essential. The primary public is not the
Public /Audience general public. For example, the Ohio vaccina-
In public relations campaigns, PR practi- tion campaign for children under the age of two.

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The primary public in this campaign is parents banner, poster or direct mail. For example,
with young children. The secondary public is preg- the Ohio immunization program was based
nant women and medical professionals who treat on the concept that parents love their children
young children (Wilcox, Ault, Agee & Cameron and want them to be healthy. A key messages
2000, p. 149). PR practitioners should recognize was telling about important vaccination that
that reaching the nonpublic that has no stake in keep children out of danger.
campaign is a waste of money and time. When public obtain these messages, they
After identifying the public, the organiza- come to understand and trust them because
tions can select the best media that suit with these messages are consistent in all media. The
each public. Identification of the public also organizations can improve knowledge attitude
provide guidance for selecting appropriate and behavior of public through the contents of
strategies & tactics and messages that is the public relations messages. According to Gregory
effective way to reach each public. (2000, p. 82), many PR practitioners want to
believe in the Domino Theory of the effect
Messages of communication.
Messages are important for public relations
campaigns because messages are part of the
Behaviour
attitude forming process. Moreover messages
demonstrate the effectiveness of communica- Attitude
tion. PR practitioners should create interesting Knowledge
message in order to encourage public to
expose messages of public relations campaigns. Message
According to David Ogilvy, guru in advertising
industry, suggests that magic words such
as new, free, save, and win in headlines or The Domino Theory of the effect of
slogans can increase the chance of attracting communication
attention (Matara & Artigue, 2000, p.71).
The key messages or themes of cam- This theory is consonant with the AIDA
paign need to be clear, concise and readily model in marketing theory.
understood. In addition, PR practitioners must A - Public become Aware of an idea or
ensure that these messages are credible and product or service.
deliverable. Wilcox, Ault, Agee and Cameron I - Public Interest and seek out more
(2000, p.150) suggest that throughout the information.
campaign, PR practitioners should recognize that D - Public Desire to buy the product
the key messages or themes are reiterated or service.
in all media whether radio, television, brochure, A - Public take Action by buying the

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product or service. a list of tasks and required completion dates
PR practitioners should recognize that the so that the tasks in hand can be completed
effectiveness of campaign messages must be on time. For example, for preparing a video
designed to suit with situation, media, time, news release, a press kit or a brochure often
budget and the variety of audience segments. take weeks and months. For interview, PR
practitioners have to invite guests three or
Timetable four months in advance.
Timetable means a schedule of activi- It is necessary that PR practitioners
ties that should be established in a public manage their timetable effectively and define
relations campaign. The public relations tasks the various activities in the right sequence so
are always related to many people and that public relations campaigns can be operated
coordination of several departments. Therefore, efficiently.
identifying deadlines enables PR practitioners
to manage time to accomplish the tasks that Budget
need to be done. After defining the activities that PR
Wilcox, Ault, Agee and Cameron (2000, p. practitioners want to conduct in a public relations
153-154) point out that there are three aspects campaign, the organization must allocate the
of timing that are important to accomplish in budgets properly so that PR practitioners can
public relations campaigns : operate these activities completely. According
Deciding when a campaign should to Seitel (2001, p. 182), without a realistic
be conducted. Public relations campaigns budgets no organization can succeed. Likewise,
should be conducted based on the intended public relations activities must be disciplined
audience or seasonal context. For example, by budgetary realities.
strawberry producers set up public relations Ideally there are three steps for mana-
campaign in May and June when the stores ging budgets First, defining resources that are
have large supplies of the fruit. important for implementing a public relations
Determining the proper sequence of campaign such as human, time, material and
activities. PR practitioners should determine equipment . Second, determine the quantities
the sequence of various activities. For example, of those resources that will be used. Finally,
integrated marketing communication program estimating the costs of the resources.
often use public relations campaigns in the first Information that comes from three
stage to create awareness of a new product. steps is very useful for planning the budgets.
The second stage may use an advertising Therefore PR practitioners should know about
and direct mail campaigns. this information. (Baskin, Aronoff & Lattimore,
Compiling a list of steps that must 1997, p. 139).
be completed. PR practitioners must compile Furthermore, PR practitioners should

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consider the advantages and disadvantages we did right, what we did wrong, how much
of various media in order to prepare the progress weve made and, most importantly,
budgets properly. The effectiveness of allocating how we can do it better next time (Wilcox,
the budgets does not deal with spending the Ault, Agee & Cameron 2000, p. 192).
least amount of money but PR practitioners However, Watsons research showed that most
should consider the media that can access PR practitioners use evaluation techniques to
to target audience. present information rather than to improve
For example, mass media such as tele- campaign in the next time (Gregory, 2000, p.
vision, radio, magazine, newspaper are more 140).
costly for a public relations budgets but these Measurement in public relations
media are more efficient in reaching target campaign provides several useful information.
audience. Wilcox, Ault, Agee and Cameron (2000, p.193)
Besides, monitoring budgets is signifi- say that there are three levels of measure-
cant so that PR practitioners can control the ment.
costs to follow the public relations budgets. On the basic level are compilation of
According to Matara and Artigue (2000, p. 72), message, distribution and media placements.
whether a budget is several hundred dollars The second level is the measurement
or in the millions, reviewing in each monthly of audience awareness, comprehension and
budgets is way to examine before rising retention of the messages.
costs become a major problem that affects The advanced level deals with the
accomplishment of a public relations campaign measurement of changes in attitudes, opinions
, and behavior.
Evaluation In practice, evaluating in a public rela-
The last element of a public relations tions campaign can use a combination of
campaign is evaluation. This is an essential evaluation techniques to obtain more complete
element in campaign. Evaluation is the sys- evaluation. For example, using news clips
tematic measurement of a campaign s effec- technique to check the contents and quantity
tiveness. After implementing the campaign, PR of publications, monitoring radio and television
practitioners should evaluate the results and programs by using electronic clipping technique
compare with stated objectives of a public including survey research to answer about
relations campaign. Then only PR practitioners audience awareness. Waggener Edstrom
can provide information and answer to the company used news clips as one measure of
clients about the success of the campaign. its campaign to publicize the introduction of
According to Professor Frank Wylie, Microsoft s Windows.
professor at California State University, mentioned However, PR practitioners must recognize
about evaluation that We are learning what that evaluation criteria should be realistic,

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credible, specific and in line with client or human behavior. Consequently, it is necessary
employer expectations. Certainty, the systematic that the laws are enacted to impose fines
evaluation in a public relations campaign make for noncompliance. Enforcement by means of
PR practitioners gain reliable information so law can be presented in the campaigns of
that campaign can be improved. wearing motorcycle helmets and seat belts.
(4) Reinforcement is the fourth
Characteristics of successful campaigns characteristic in successful campaigns. It means
Identification of successful campaigns that public perceive in value of the campaign
can be indicated in many characteristics. and general public increasingly agree with
Newsom, Turk and Kruckeberg (2004, pp.302-303) the campaign. For instance, the Smokey Bear
point out that there are five characteristics campaign which concerns with preventing
of successful campaigns which are explained forest fires is one of the most successful
in the following paragraphs: campaign in the United States. It is 50 years
(1) The first characteristic is educational. old and it still remains so today.
The organization should publicize information (5) The fifth characteristic is evaluation.
which the public have not known before At the final stage of public relations campaigns,
including giving different information or proce- evaluation is a significant characteristic. It can
dures in issues that the public have already help the PR practitioners to examine the
known. campaign s success and accumulate informa-
(2) The second characteristic is engi- tion about the effectiveness of the media as
neering. This characteristic has effect to change well as describe the changing attitudes and
in human behavior. This is an important objective behavior of those whom the organizations
in most of the campaigns. Engineering deals are called public that is the most important
with the means that are convenient for public reason to succeed in campaign. Identifying of
to do something that the organization wants successful campaign can be presented in five
them to do. For example, if the organization characteristics.
wants public to throw garbage in the bin, they
will provide the bin to serve in the areas that Conclusion
are easily accessible to the public. A public relations campaign consists
(3) The third characteristic of success- of seven basic elements. Each element is
ful campaigns is enforcement. This character- necessary in operating campaign. Starting of
istic encourage public to be aware of the public relations campaign is situational analysis
important of the campaign that leads to by researching that provide useful information
change of human behavior. Even though many for planning campaigns. Then, PR practitioners
campaigns are successful in educational and define public relations objectives that the
engineering level but they failed to change organization expects to accomplish. Certainly,

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public relations objectives must support business evaluation is a systematic measurement of a
objectives. Next, identification of the target public campaign s effectiveness. If PR practitioners
that directly relate to campaign. After identifying consider all these elements completely, they
the target public, PR practitioner can design will understand the dynamic process of
messages that are reiterated in all the media communication that is termed as public
to increase recognition of public. Timetable is relations campaign that is the most important
one of the element that provide guideline to reason to succeed in campaign. Identifying of
public relations activities in the right sequence. successful campaign can be presented in five
So PR practitioners can allocate realistic budgets characteristics - educational, engineering, enforce-
to suit with the various activities. Finally , ment, reinforcement and evaluation.

References:

Baskin, Otis W., Aronoff, Craig., & Lattimore, Dan L. (1997). Public relations:
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Cutlip, Scott M., Center, Allen H., & Broom, Glen M. (2000). Effective public relations
(8 th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Gregory, Anne. (2000). Planning & managing a public relations campaign: A step-by-
step guide (5th ed.). London: Kogan Page.
Matara, Fran R., & Artigue, Ray J. (2000). Public relations campaigns and
techniques: Building bridges into the 21st century. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Newsom, Doug, Turk, Judy V., & Kruckeberg, Dean. (2004). This is PR: The
realities of public relations. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.
Seitel, Fraser P. (2001). The practice of public relations (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice-Hall.
Wilcox, Dennis L., Ault, Phillip H., Agee, Warren K., & Cameron, Glen T. (2000).
Public relations strategies and tactics (6th ed.). New York: Longman.

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