Disorganized public relations campaigns telegraph incompetence to your customers. A lack of focus can be interpreted as amateurish and may cause your business to be dismissed in the public’s eye. Despite the fact that perceptions about a company and its products strongly influence consumer behavior, many small business owners do not have access to trained public relations personnel. Research and organization can help you carve a positive niche into your community without a dedicated PR team. Start by developing a strong set of goals and objectives.
Global vs. Specific
Public relations goals describe global, abstract plans for your company. For example, you may want to develop a relationship with the local preschools. Objectives are the specific steps you take to realize your goal. In this case, you might create a set of objectives targeting local schools, including publicizing teacher discounts, creating a teacher shopping day or teacher wish-list program and offering a preschool fundraising program in your store. Each of these specific steps, or objectives, targets a different element of your goal by reaching out to different people: parents, teachers and administrators.
Time represents a significant distinguishing factor between goals and objectives. Goals are indefinite, such as “developing a relationship with the senior citizens in the community.” Objectives, on the other hand, are time sensitive. For example, an objective meeting this goal might read “the business will host a series of free game nights for residents of the local senior center over the next six weeks.” Your goals are intended to communicate ongoing attempts to strengthen your relationship with a certain community, and your objectives articulate how and when you will work toward them.
Because goals are abstract and ongoing, they are rarely measurable. “Improve,” “increase” or “reduce” typically describe a company’s public relations goals. Objectives, on the other hand, provide the measurable elements used to achieve your goals. Therefore, if your goal is to “reduce your use of fossil fuels,” the supporting objective might read “replace 25 percent of delivery trucks with electric cars within one year.” This is a measurable objective that helps improve your company’s environmental image.
You can distinguish between goals and objectives by considering the focus of the statement. Goals focus on your company’s image. They typically describe reaching out to a community or increasing the public’s interest in your company. Objectives, on the other hand, focus on your target audience. Your public relations goal might be to increase your visibility in your community. This is important to your company and consistent with your corporate vision. The objectives support this focus on your customers. They might include a poetry contest for the local elementary school or the sponsorship of a local sports team. Both of these outreach efforts don’t directly benefit your company — they benefit your customers, but they help you meet your goal to increase your visibility.