“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers”
Daniel J. Boorstin
A great PR campaign has the power to save or grow a business. If executed well, it can influence the public perception of a company and enable it to reach new heights.
However, during the planning of the campaign, PR’s can often set unclear goals and which makes it difficult to monitor success. It seems strange that in an industry where your diary is your bible, there can be fatal planning errors which cause the dreaded yet common practise of high over-servicing.
Last week I attended a PRCA course taught by the brilliant Trevor Morris. He gave efficient and strategic ways to ensure a PR never overlooks any aspect of a campaign, and how to stay on track with your brief. Here we learnt a few tricks of the trade and were given a whole lot of acronyms to make planning easier- who doesn’t love those?!
Let me introduce you to P.O.S.T.A.R…
1. POSITION – Where are you now?
The initial analysis of the current situation is crucial for any campaign. In this part you have to look at your company or your client as a whole. What type of organisation is it? What kind of customers or consumers do they attract? Who are there competitors and where do they sit in their market? A P.E.S.T.L.E (I told you there were acronyms) analysis is great for looking at the external factors.
2. OBJECTIVES – Where do you want to be?
At this point you should have clear goals and outline what you wish to achieve. Your objectives should be measurable and not too complicated to avoid further complications down the line. The PR objectives can be expressed in terms of coverage, attitudes and audience behaviour with the big 3 O’s.
- Output: To secure 20 pieces of favourable coverage within target publications over the next 6 months.
- Outtake: To increase awareness amongst A, B females aged 21-25 by 15% over 6 months.
- Outcome: To increase sales by 10% in 2018.
3. STRATEGY – How are you going to get there?
Who is your target media? What messages do you want to send them? What media do your audiences consume? What events do they go to? What methods should you use to reach them?
4. TACTICS – What are you going to do?
In this stage of planning you think about what creative tactics to use to implement your strategy. Will you use a stunt? An event? An exhibition? This is part where you use your out-the-box thinking and conjure up original and interesting ways to grab the attention of your audience.
5. ADMINISTRATION – What do you need or have to get there?
This section is often the most begrudged by those creative PR brains but is highly crucial. You will need to figure out what resources you have and what you need. You can almost always whittle these down to 3 key considerations; manpower, money and minutes. You have to think very realistically about the time and expense it will take you to achieve your goal. It is better to slightly overestimate and leave your client impressed you have reached the aim faster than to underestimate and leave them disappointed.
6. RESULTS – How will you know when you’re there?
The final stage is evaluating your work to determine if you have reached your goals. It’s not always easy to measure exactly how successful a campaign has been and this is where very clear initial objectives can come in useful. By returning to the OBJECTIVES section and using the big 3 O’s, you should be able to measure the results of your campaign.
It is important to remember that you can’t predict everything whilst planning your campaign. As we all know there could be many curveballs thrown that will be completely out of your control. This is why it is a good idea to have a well-constructed plan in place that allows you to stay on track whilst being flexible where necessary and have clear objectives to keep you focused.
You can read more about POSTAR in PR Today: The Authoritative Guide to Public Relations