One of the primary dictums of any profession that deals with large numbers of people is to know your audience. It is common for groups in charge of essential social structures to change suddenly and drastically. Although there are important surface differences that may occur in any “changing of the guard,” the structural similarities often overwhelm the disparities. By careful attention to what changes and the nature of what stays the same, it is possible to direct a message to an important audience with great specificity.
The recent turnover in the United States Congress is a wonderful example. There is no need to dissect the specific ideological differences between this Congress and the last one, although they are very significant. It is more important, from a public relations perspective, to note that this has occurred before and will again. For reasons that are poorly understood, the party of practically every two-term President has lost control of the Congress in the second midterms. The only exception known occurred in 1946, under Harry Truman. This fact is so well known in American and other two-party political systems that it is almost axiomatic.
This demonstrates that in the case of Congress, change is the only constant. Therefore, one of the first tasks for any public relations strategist is to eschew excessive identification with any one faction. Although they may sometimes ascend, it is virtually certain that they will fall out of favor. As pilots say, “Takeoff is optional, landing is mandatory.” Therefore, any excessive allegiance to one temporal faction has the possibility to severely damage all efforts in the future. This is as equally true in politics as it is in the business world.
It is also wise to address public relations attempts to the structure of the job, instead of the particular inhabitants of a particular position. Democrats, Republicans and Independent politicians all have very different worldviews and ways of processing information. However, it is almost universally true that they are ambitious, organized people with an interest in understanding the world around them and a job that puts them in contact with the public on a regular basis. This means that, no matter what the political persuasion of the specific person in question, they will want practical information, hard facts and polls that show what percentages of people hold a particular opinion. They will want to hear about things that have direct application to the problems before them. Within that framework it is possible to convey a great deal of public relations information.
Interest groups may benefit from studying the language of the incoming group. It is often helpful to note key terms and phrases and try to work them into presentations. There are always ongoing dialogues within any given social group, and people who speak to the specific concerns of that group in language they find comfortable and familiar will almost always find a more receptive audience. However, people find it easy to detect when someone tries to use unfamiliar jargon in order to fit in. It behooves anyone with interest in lobbying or delivering public relations information to discuss the concerns of their audience, but in their own terms and with their own authentic voice.
The most important principle that can be conveyed is the importance of research. Knowledge and familiarity will unfailingly open communications between disparate sets of people. The better that a lobbyist knows the people that they need to talk to, the better they will be able to talk to them. Knowledge will allow them to prepare information more fully, to anticipate specific concerns and to have intelligent answers ready for pertinent questions. Their message will be amplified by their ability to speak more clearly.
Everyone wants to know the “secret” of business success. Guess what, no matter how many self-help books you see and how many “how to” articles you read, there really is no “secret.” However, there are some behaviors that can help you become more productive, more respected and more successful. Yes, “behaviors.” These are things YOU must do. Frequently and with excellence. Your results will depend almost entirely on how well and how consistently you perform these behaviors. So, if you aren’t willing to “do” in order to “become” just stop reading now. Go do what you always do and wake up exactly the same tomorrow. Or not…it’s entirely up to you.
First, no matter what the issue is, before coming to anyone with the problem, consider it yourself and develop a working solution. If you are working with a team, don’t fall into the role of “support” staff, unless that’s where you want to stay. You need to be seen and understood to be a problem solver if you ever want to be given more responsibility than what you are currently entrusted. And, if you are already a leader, it can pay to listen to your subordinates, but never depend on them entirely to turn problems into successes. They are looking to you for leadership, and that includes having a direction in mind before you start moving.
Next, own it. Whatever “it” is at the time. A problem that needs to be solved, a success that needs to be shared or a process that needs some guidance. If you are involved, you need to BE INVOLVED. Be obvious, be present and be impactful. If you are not contributing you are either part of the problem or, at best, getting in the way of a solution. Stop simply recycling oxygen and get in the game!
Finally, be time conscious. People have things to do, so if you are interacting in a business scenario, you need to be brief and be impactful. Then get on out of there. Say or do what you need to say or do, and be sure to do so in a way that makes a definitive positive impact on whoever. Then leave them be. You should have stuff to do too, right? And even if you do not value your own time, make sure “they” realize you value theirs.
Again, this is an incremental process that should be accompanied by specific, short and long term goals. This is not some random or ephemeral “idea” of success. This is a plan, and one that will require both commitment and follow through.
In February 2013, cloud-storage guru and founder of the now defunct MegaUpload Kim Dotcom began dropping hints that his new venture, Mega, was destined to be much more than a successor to MegaUpload. He said that in the coming years, the new company would expand to include, among other things, video, chat and calling services.
After Megaupload was shutdown as a result of the United States reporting Dotcom’s alleged copyright infringement to other countries, he decided to strategically locate his new venture in New Zealand. The relocation, Dotcom believes, is an affirmation of the company’s commitment to privacy. He felt that user data would be better protected in New Zealand which was important because, as Dotcom hinted, future Mega applications would require encryption. In fact, he criticized the popular video chat Skype for not having sufficient encryption to protect their users’ privacy. Mega received funding from BitCoin, a nearly untraceable payment platform that fit well with Mega’s theme of privacy and protection from the government.
Dotcom is currently battling to avoid extradition. His New Zealand mansion was raided in 2012, and he was subsequently arrested after being charged with criminal United States copyright violations. Dotcom countered by saying that the warrants used in the search were not legal and was able to get them invalidated in a June 2012 hearing. This bought him some time, however, the ruling was overturned, and he is now facing the possibility of extradition.
In late December 2014 ,nearly two years after that he had plans to go head-to-head with Skype by launching a fully encrypted video call service, Dotcom announced that he had done just that. MegaChat is a fully encrypted, in-browser video chat service in which registered users can enjoy end-to-end video and audio communication for free.
According to Dotcom, over half a million Mega users made encrypted video calls using MegaChat in the first hour following its launch on January 21, 2015. Dotcom also said he will roll out MegaChat beta one feature at a time. He stated via Twitter that text and video conferencing are on the way. MegaChat is expected to have over 100 million users by the end of 2015.
Since the Snowden debacle in which in was suggested that NSA has had access to users’ Skype chats since 2011, the future of the platform has been on shaky ground. With the proliferation of other web-based video and voice chat mediums such as Firefox Hello, a Firefox plug-in that allows ad-hoc anonymous, Skype-style chats and now the heavily encrypted MegaChat, Skype will have to reevaluate its models if it wants to say on top. Currently, they are working on a Web RTC-based plug-in for in-browser chat.
Pundits believe that since MegaChat’s end-to-end encryption gives it a clear advantage over Skype, it could very well turn out to be the “Skypekiller” that it claims to be. So far, its usability has proved fine, but only the coming months will tell whether or not MegaChat will live up to its lofty security claims. If it does, users might just find themselves hanging up on Skype forever and opting to use MegaChat instead.
With few exceptions, successful PR campaigns aren’t the result of dumb luck. A PR effort that achieves its objectives is almost always the result of careful planning and savvy execution. If you take the time to lay the groundwork, the second part of the equation will be far easier. There are at least four major elements that form the foundation of a winning PR campaign.
If you don’t know what you’d like to accomplish with your PR campaign, it’s going to be pretty difficult to hit any specific milestones. Before you do anything, come up with one or more concrete objectives that your campaign should achieve if all goes well. Consider factors like budget and time frame when you’re putting together a list of objectives to guide your strategy.
Knowing whose favor you’re trying to curry is one of the keys to a fruitful PR overture. Campaigns that are too broad tend to fizzle out since they’re trying to reach too many different target demographics. Campaigns that are too narrow in focus often deliver lousy ROI. Do some serious market research and figure out who you’re trying to influence before you begin.
Honesty and Transparency
Whether a PR campaign is meant to promote a business or deflect criticism, establishing trust and credibility should be a top priority. If you’re dishonest with your intended audience, it’s more than likely that they’ll find out about it sooner or later. Playing it fast and loose with the truth is a surefire way to see your campaign go down in flames.
Prudent Channel Selection
Nowadays, there are hundreds of ways to reach an audience thanks to the rise of the Internet. Everything from traditional press releases to social media contests can be used to move a PR campaign forward. Carefully selecting the appropriate message delivery methods for your PR campaign is the final piece of the puzzle. Fortunately, analytics and market research can show you what channels are most effective based on your target audience.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Establishing a solid foundation for a PR campaign before pulling the trigger is essential for several reasons. First off, a campaign without a clear vision is difficult to keep on track. Furthermore, it’s difficult to change horses midstream if you need to switch up your campaign’s focus. Once you have your blueprint worked out, stick to your itinerary and follow through.
These days, more and more business owners are realizing that attaining excellent PR services can help them take their companies to unprecedented levels of success. At the same time, many PR professionals and executives are realizing that they need to maintain a cutting edge perspective to ensure that they are offering their clients the most effective, expedient public relations services available.
As many PR experts know, the upcoming year should bring forth a plethora of new trends as well as established methodologies that public relations professionals will need to implement to stay on top. If you want to ensure that you know exactly where the PR industry is heading in 2015 so you can excel in this sector, consider the following three facts:
Content Is Still King.
Ever since web articles and blog posts became effective internet marketing tools, PR professionals have recognized an important truth: “Content Is King.” This old maxim references the fact that writing creative, compelling content that effectively advertises a brand’s products and services is likely the single most effective digital strategy that a PR firm can employ. And according to recent reports regarding which PR strategies will prove the most effective in 2015, content is still king. In a world where digital advertising has become increasingly competitive, PR professionals who are determined to get their clients’ names out there will have to work exceptionally hard at putting together innovative, identity-building content that stands out amidst a sea of other web articles and blog posts in the public domain.
Public Relations And Social Media Will Marry.
Numerous studies indicate that marketers are waking up to the fact that the worlds of public relations and social media are connected. Insomuch as public relations predicate their work on connecting with the public in meaningful ways, it makes sense that they would make use of engaging platforms such as social media to accomplish this objective. Since this is the case, public relations firms that are interested in making the most effective use of their resources should note that making social media advertising an integral component of the work they perform on behalf of clients is a good idea.
PR Firms That Help Mom Will Win.
Research indicates that mothers are gaining more economic power than ever. In fact, studies indicate that moms are now the primary source of income in almost half of homes with children. To capitalize on this fact, public relations professionals need to recognize that these mothers tend to be quite busy insomuch as they are juggling their work life and the domestic activity that takes place once they enter the home sphere. With that reality in mind, PR professionals should focus their marketing campaigns on providing mothers with goods and services that make their lives easier. Helping moms make the process of shopping, dining, sleeping, and exercising easier will enable PR firms to win their business and brand loyalty.
Summing It All Up
If you’re a PR rep who is serious about advancing your company’s interests in the year 2015, you should note that there are a plethora of new trends that should affect the shape and substance of your strategy for the upcoming year. By carefully considering the direction that the PR industry is heading next year, you can set your company up for a financially successful season. Good luck!
Who is Ronn Torossian:Ronn Torossian 5WPR CEO, Founder of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, Author of best selling PR book 'For Immediate Release' and a frequent contribituor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything PR and more!
Ronn Torossian at the NY Observer
Ronn Torossian at Everything PR
Ronn Torossian at Wired Innovation Insights