Steps to ensuring successful PR campaign
For a public relation campaign to achieve its set objectives Mr. Alimi Olawale Banire has said that it must involve a thorough planning process so that whatever results that are achieved it would be a deliberate one.
To however achieve a thorough planning process in a campaign, he argued that would involve 12 steps. He listed them to include research, situation analysis, objectives, identifying the publics, identifying stakeholders, messages, strategy, tactics, timescale, budget, crisis management issues and evaluation.
According to Alimi, it is important to start with research and it should be the core of the process. This he said is primarily about finding out first-hand information about the issues involved. “Depending on what you are doing, different research methods can be used at various times.”
The second step he said is situation analysis. “The research carried out should clearly define the current situation with regard to the campaign. Depending on what is involved, this might include an organisation’s current situation in the market, how it is perceived by customers or staff. Whatever is got, he said could be further put to empirical test through having a SWOT and PEST analysis. While a SWOT analysis gives the strength, weakness, opportunities and threats in the process, the PEST analysis provides some political, economical, social and technological insights about the situation.
For him, after having a good grab of the situation, the next step is to set the objectives, which are what is hoped to be the end result. He however said that the objectives must be guided by the following principles. It must be measurable, achievable, realistic and has a time frame.
Having done this, Alimi said the fourth step is to identify the target publics, who are the people to be engaged in the process of executing the campaign to ensure the objectives set for the effort is achieved. This stage he said is followed by identifying the stakeholders.
The sixth step, he said, is the key messages to be delivered which should be clear, concise and readily understood. “The key messages are important for two reasons. They are an essential part of the attitude forming process and secondly they demonstrate the effectiveness of the communication.”
This step, according to him, is followed by strategy, which is the foundation on which a tactical programme is built. “It is the theory that will move you where the current situation is now to where you want it to be. The strategy is usually the overlying mechanism of a campaign from which the tactics are deployed to meet the objectives. He argued that many often confused strategy in PR with tactics.
The step eight, he said, is tactics. “The PR profession has a number of tactics in its armoury. The challenge is choosing the right tactics to meet the objectives. Remember, don’t use any tactics because it is perceived to be cool, cutting edge or the in thing. Only use the tools that will best help you meet your objectives, although creativity is always paramount,” Alimi stated.
He said this is followed by timescale, which is allocating a time to execute the campaign. For him, a timescale allows coordinating the tactics appropriately as well as helping to be aware of certain deadlines.
The tenth step, he identified, to be budgeting, which is allocating the cost implication for the campaign. This step is followed by crisis management issues. “Crisis management is one of the most essential tools of the pursuit of an effective PR campaign exercise. Putting in place contingency measures for any envisaged crisis in the pursuit of a campaign is very important.”
The last step he said is evaluation which should be an on-going process, especially in a long-term PR campaign. “Evaluating a campaign should be done in two ways; on-going and end respectively. On-going review is what will be carried out throughout the campaign. If certain elements of the campaign are not working as effectively as thought in the planning stage, it can be re-focused or changed to fit. The end review takes place after all PR activity has been finished and where the final result is compared against the campaign objectives. To do this, the tactics for each objective is analysed critically.”