One of the key methods of maintaining a successful image for your business or personal pursuits is to have a decent grasp of how Public Relations work. Managing Public Relations is an important facet of several different career fields, because many successful people will at one time or another find themselves in the public eye. This attention can catch some by surprise, therefore it is a good idea for anyone seeking upward mobility to at least learn some PR basics. By following a few simple steps, even those who seem to suffer from perpetual foot-in-mouth syndrome can become a Public Relations maven.
Take Stock of your Public Relations Situation
The first step to improving the public image of a business or individual is to perform a Public Relations Audit. It may sound complicated or even scary, but this audit is basically a list of pros and cons. To complete a PR audit, compile 2 lists: Things which have the potential to help your public image, and things which have the potential to hurt it. After the information has been organized, it can be compared in order to assess your Public Relations Risk Factor. There is no particular scale to follow in regards to how high your risk factor may be. They key is to simply work on decreasing the items which may have a negative impact.
Moderation is Key
Once you have identified potential Public Relations risks, the next step is to work on increasing your general appeal across the board. This is useful for politicians, business owners, and public speakers alike. In general, you want to at least appear to be very “Middle of the Road” in your dealings. Any political poll from the last 50 years of elections will show that moderate candidates do better across the board in elections. Of course candidates who express fervent approval for special interests will gain a great deal of attention and press, but they rarely get elected, why? The answer is simpler than you might think. Human nature tends to lead people to prefer leaders whose behavior can be easily predicted. Being outwardly moderate indicates to those observing that you are more considerate, intelligent and trustworthy.
Who Are You Trying to Impress?
The third basic step to maintaining good Public Relations is to identify your key demographic. This is the group of people you most wish to attract to yourself or your business. Certain demographics will be attracted by certain behaviors and repelled by others. It is useful to learn which issues and features are important to your target demographic and use them to your advantage. Consider the current 18-30 year old urban demographic: This group, more so than any other is attracted to representation. They want to know that you not only want to sell a product or idea to them, but also that you consider their ideas and interests to be a valid contribution to the culture at large, and not simply things to by laughed at and chalked up to youthful silliness. For the current generation this typically involves the integration of technology into your business model. However, the need for representation is not a new facet of this demographic.
In Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing”, an Italian-American business owner operating in an African-American neighborhood ends up losing his restaurant to vandalism that was the direct result of his refusal to acknowledge that his business’s success is due almost entirely to the Black customers that frequent it. A running theme throughout the film is the idea of escalating events, in that several scenes which nearly became violent (and one that did) could have been avoided by simply acknowledging the value each group represented to the other.
Managed Public Relations = Increased Expectations.
Managing Public Relations can be an incredibly rewarding skill to master. Though traditionally considered to be more a part of political and big business environments, even everyday people are increasingly beginning to realize the benefits of having a few PR tricks up their sleeves. By learning to conduct business in a more organized and image conscious fashion, anyone can increase their personal profitability improve their public image.