Work it Out: Implementation in Public Relations
The third step in the four-step Strategic Communications process is implementing what you’ve planned. This is where the rubber meets the road, and you see all your hard work come to fruition.
Plan your Work, Work your Plan
In the implementation phase, you execute your strategies through your chosen tactics. Pay attention to your key messages and where they are going. You will begin evaluating their effectiveness in the next stage, but it’s important to remain flexible during this phase in case one of your tactics isn’t well-received. Don’t be so locked in to your chosen tactics that you can’t make corrections during implementation or seize upon new opportunities for reaching your audiences/publics.
How do I implement?
You should use your research to determine what strategies and tactics will best reach your audiences/publics, and then let your creativity flow. The only limit to the variety of strategies and tactics you can use in a Strategic Communications plan is the limit of your imagination.
Got something interesting to say? Issue a press release, call a press conference, set up a subject matter expert interview, or host an interactive media day. There are so many ways to interact with the media, and remember you reach your target audiences/publics through the media. Check out how one reporter gets some hands-on experience while covering a story.
Want to connect with your employees and stakeholders? From your company newsletter, intranet and other in-house channels, you can reach your audiences/publics with your key messages. Be creative and find a way to connect the employees to the company brand. Edelman’s Living in Color program gives employees time off to pursue charity and other personal work important to them and then features that work in the company’s internal communications channels.
Have a message to get out? With the advent of Web 2.0, you’re missing a great opportunity to connect with audiences/publics if you’re not on social media platforms. There are lots of platforms to connect on and plenty of creative ideas beyond just posts to embrace. Coca-Cola recently launched its “Let’s Eat Together” app on Facebook to encourage more people to eat with friends and families. The app offers recipes, dinner party ideas, and even a personalized invitation to send to dinner guests.
Want to support your community? Forming a partnership with another organization is a commonly-used strategy to promote awareness of social issues and establish a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, such as the Save Lids to Save Lives program by Yoplait. Be sure your company’s values are in line with the mission of the organization you’re partnering with.
Have something special to show? Hosting an event can be a great way to meet your objectives. It offers the opportunity for brand recognition and exposure to your target audiences/publics. The annual Van’s Warped Tour is a signature event that accomplishes just that. As in partnerships, your event should be in line with your organization’s image.
Got a new product or service to promote? From campaigns to raise awareness about social issues to programs encouraging energy conservation, campaigns and programs use a variety of strategies and tactics to reach the ultimate goal of the Strategic Communications plan. Campaigns, such as P&G’s Moms of the Olympics, are usually shorter in duration than programs, like USDA’s Choose My Plate, which are a constant in the organization’s structure.
The implementation stage is a lot of work, but as long as you have the imagination and creativity, it can be a lot of fun. What strategies and tactics do you most like and use?