First of all don’t trust your syllabus.  Please read chapter 10 rather than what is stated in the syllabus.  (Good thing that I have a disclaimer at the end of the schedule).  We’ll work on and think about planning.

First of all, a couple of quotes to open this presentation.  Something I picked off the web this week was a promotional piece from the Bulldog Reporter’s PR University.   Not sure who I’m quoting but it’s this: 

 “ I believe the greatest challenge facing PR and corporate communicators is proving that our results tangibly contribute to the company’s objectives.  One thing has become clear: The C-suite is not overly impressed with hits, impressions and ‘buzz.’  They’re looking to tie PR to the bottom line.  The good news is you can connect your PR results to corporate goals — if you’re tuned into metrics that can help top management see the connections between their concerns and your work.”  Then the promo sentence: “How would you like to learn which PR metrics most impress the C-suite – and how you can define for campaigns from the outset so that they address and meet company objectives?”

If you’re interested in this webinar, check it out with the Bulldog Reporter.

As I was preparing to write this, I also reviewed the text I used last semester in teaching J 465, the PR capstone course, where student teams are required to develop a PR or communications plan.  In true form, many of the teams would find a project, fit tactics to it, then scramble to find research that would justify the tactics the team wanted to use.  All of this in spite of class lectures and readings about the nine-step plan (Smith: Strategic Planning for Public Relations, 4th edition):

Analyzing the situation

Analyzing the organization

Analyzing the publics

Establishing goals and objectives

Formulating action and response strategies

Developing message strategy

Selecting communication tactics

Implementing the strategic plan

Evaluating the strategic plan.

And, somewhere after the tactics were decided, the team would develop strategy and objective statements to support the already-decided tactics.  You can imagine the trouble teams had in developing research and situation analysis to fit.  Is this the way to run a public relations program?  Not terribly enlightening or innovative, either.

Then, from your text (Page 104):

“Reactive organizations are always slightly behind the curve, have to respond to the lead of others and have a current reputation that reflects that.  Proactive organizations are future-oriented, see opportunities as well as threats in the future and have opportunities to lead, not only because they see possible futures, but because they help shape them.”

One of the things I like about this passage from your book is the second sentence.  To the extent that you are able, as leaders, be sure to always operate in the second sentence – be proactive.  If you can get in front and define the issue, you’ll also define – and lead – the solution.   To the extent that you are good at surveying the internal and external horizon, you’ll minimize the need for crisis communication.  Think of national/public policy issues that if you were able to define, the solution might be easier.  Gun control.  Gun Registration.  Pro Life.  Pro Rights.  Indiana’s marriage issue.  I’m not advocating any positions on these issues, but to get you to think about getting in front of issues.  Issue advocacy/management and public policy advocacy are neat areas I which to work.

Last week, I provided you information about student debt and the economy.  I also provided that information to Dean Lavery because it could be an issue or opportunity for Ball State.

Again from your text (page 104):

“As this book has already shown, understanding and analyzing organizational context is critically important since public relations is both a buffer and a bridge to the external world and it is through communication in its broadest interpretation that stakeholders make sense of it. 

 I also encourage you to review DeWit and Meyer’s web of relational actors on page 106 and Cutlip, Center and Broom’s planning model on page 108.  Cutlip and Center have been a team for a long time – I remember using their text in college last century.

Finally, make sure you understand aims and objective and the three kinds of objectives.  And remember how I started this diatribe.  As you book says, messages are one way – very easy to measure.  “Collaboration and cooperation are in the long run and with most stakeholders, the most effective way to build lasting relationships. But, how do you measure collaboration and cooperation.  There are ways.   Figure it out and you’ll win!

Your success as a public relations leader, in large part, will depend on being able to spot opportunities and issues affecting your organization and respond to them.  It also will depend on your ability to turn negative issues and problems into opportunities.

Your Assignment:

I want you to think about an issue or information that you may have read or saw that you believe will have an impact on Ball State University.  Define why you think that and propose a way to become a leader in the issue or opportunity. 

You’ll need to define the issue/opportunity and why and what you think will be the impact to the university.  It could be an action/policy.  It could be reputational – such as the groundwater heating system.  It could be the opportunity to expand the BSU at the Games idea.  You’ll need to define as well as suggest what the impact will be and why/how BSU should get involved.  And you’ll need to make this argument in five pages or less.  I am not looking for a PR plan, I’m looking to see if you can be a PR planner.

Remember that you value is being able to see and define things that others can’t.  And convincing leadership that it is important.  

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