Public Relations as popularly defined is “deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding and excellent communications between an organisation and its public.”
This well-established definition suffices, I believe, to explain why insight is critical to public relations effort. Keywords from these definitions; deliberate, planned and sustained are essential in explaining this.
Using this background, I will explain why insight is critical to the practice of public relations.
1. NOTHING DELIBERATE HAPPENS BY CHANCE: Every activity executed during a public relations campaign (for example, during a crisis communication) need to be deliberate. In other words, nothing happens by chance or is left to chance.
Deliberate means that a thought-process is applied to whatever strategy, tool, communication, choice of words, mode or mannerism used in tackling a situation or for any other communication-related goal intended.
Now, an effective or reliable thought-process depends on knowledge because if the mind is ‘tabula rasa’, (clean slate) as the psychologists would put it, then there is no mental background to ponder and produce ideas. Although it can be argued that the thought-process can be shallow, critical thinking remains the very foundation upon which insight is built.
2. PLANNING REQUIRES KNOWLEDGEABLE INSIGHT: Insight, in the simplest of definition, is new knowledge on something or a subject area that is useful or can be applied to solve a situation. Planning requires knowledge –enough knowledge at that. Insight provides the direction and understanding of subjects using precedence. So, insight-led planning is critical to successful PR.
3. SUSTENANCE IS DEPENDENT ON EMERGING KNOWLEDGE – INSIGHT: Because of the dynamics of multiple audiences, environment, and humans generally, no successful public relations effort can be sustained without enough understanding of all contributing variables that account for inconsistency – and how to approach them. In other words, understanding all moving parts that can influence your communications plan is important.
Summarily, therefore, without insight, nothing deliberate, planned or sustained can be achieved in public relations not to talk of striking that stage where you achieve mutual understanding and maximum comprehension with your publics.
Without insight – which is enough, unique or resourceful knowledge – a public relation practitioner is only a blind man; a PR firm is only a convocation of blind fellows.
Public relations, whether for an awareness campaign, crisis communication or other PR activities, thrives on insight the practitioner or firm has on the complex demography of its audiences, their communities and their peculiarities.
The following points encapsulate why insight is critical to PR:
- It helps us understand what motivates the publics
- It prevents ‘blind’ spending of scare resources or budget.
- It provides a pool of ideas on the best approaches to employ in solving an issue or reaching the desired end.
- It forestalls the repetition of previous mistakes.
- It supports effective awareness campaigns, crisis communication or other end-products of public relations.
- It foresees and prevents disastrous ends, e.g. the impact of a campaign, or certain choice of word(s) may have on communications efforts.
- It provides better-informed management of PR efforts
- It serves as learning precedence for future activities.
- It helps practitioners develop the right strategies, tools and integrated communications mechanics.
- It helps practitioners achieved the goal of PR – sustained mutual understanding between an individual or organisation and its public, through DELIBERATE, PLANNED and SUSTAINED efforts.
Modion Communications provides insight-led campaigns and marketing communications solutions to help organisations achieve their strategic communications goals. For more on this, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +234 9011 6777 777
Piece written by: Winifred Okafor