Why you’d be stupid not to use PR to reach your business goals

In my PR graduate seminar class this past week, we discussed the strategic planning aspect of public relations. Using ConAgra’s food fake out as an example of how poor PR planning can produce less-than-desirable results, we discussed how strategic planning is arguably the most important element of PR.

People tend to think of PR as only media relations (I’ve been guilty of such PR blasphemy myself), but it’s important to understand that PR can be an invaluable tool for reaching your business goals.

Earlier this week, I tweeted about this video about PR planning and how PR practitioners are more like “strategic counselors” than press release-writing zombies.

Heather Whaling, president of Geben Communication, discusses how her boutique agency steps in to tell clients, “Here’s where you are, here’s where you want to be…and here’s how you can use communication for those business goals.”

Developing a proper strategic plan for your business’ communications leads to successful programs that are preventative and proactive, rather than simply reactive.

One of the key ingredients missing from ConAgra’s plan for their bait-and-switch marketing ploy was to know your audience. If you want to convince people to buy preservative-laden frozen foods, maybe – just maybe – you shouldn’t invite health-conscious food and lifestyle bloggers to be your guinea pigs and, ultimately, your product endorsers.

Those angry bloggers took to their sites to scold ConAgra for their blatant attempts to trick them into liking their products. What ConAgra failed to understand was that most of these bloggers viewed “healthy” and “natural” as the most important factors in the food they ate. Therefore, no matter how delicious their reheated lasagna proved to be, it was still from a box. To me, that would be like a chef hiding meat in a casserole, serving it to a vegetarian and saying, “See! It still tastes good!” How ConAgra didn’t see this while planning this elaborate ruse just baffles me.

What other advertising schemes had you saying, “what the hell were they thinking!?”

Happy blogging,

Katy Hartwick




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