The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same

by Ashley Pinder

When meeting with one of our favorite digital media clients yesterday, firm president Roger Pynn and I handed out a piece of paper with four short questions printed on it.  We explained, “This is how we start every public relations plan – these four questions.”  It seemed so simple. 

  1.  Who do we want to communicate with?
  2.  What do they know about us?
  3.  What do we want them to know?
  4.  What do we want them to do?

The client showed his dismay, “Really, this is it?”  Showing he was fairly unimpressed with our elementary approach.  How could these four questions that seem so basic provide needle-moving ROI for a large company in one of the most innovative and evolving industries in the world? 

But as we walked through the questions and the client was able to talk through them without wondering what was the right answer, we ended up with the raw data and insight needed to help us develop a full-scale strategic public relations plan with the basis of messaging and objectives for various audiences.

Endless industry experts are turning blue in the face as they try to predict the game-changing new world of “social media.”  In fact, Advertising Age’s Chris Perry has even suggested companies need to delegate separate teams to approach this new space because it is so revolutionary that public relations departments may not be able to handle it.  That may be so.  But, the more things change the more they stay the same.  You still need to plan; we know that no matter what strategies we employ including traditional, social, or the yet-to-be-discovered latest form of media, in order to achieve your goals for building a community or connecting with your audiences you have to start with this one simple exercise. 

Would you like to know more about this approach? Roger Pynn has shared these questions in a White Paper, and we live by them. 

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