Establishing a PR Plan

In a survey of 100 top and middle managers in the communications field, over 60 percent said their PR programs involved little more than press releases, press kits for trade shows, and new product announcements.13 Further, these tools were not designed into a formal public relations effort but rather were used only as needed. In other words, no structured program was evident in well over half of the companies surveyed! As we noted earlier, the public relations process is an ongoing one, requiring formalized policies and procedures for dealing with problems and opportunities. Just as you would not develop an advertising and/or promotions program without a plan, you should not institute public relations efforts haphazardly. Moreover, the PR plan needs to be integrated into the overall marketing communications program. Figure 17-2 provides some questions marketers should ask to determine whether their PR plan is workable.

Cutlip, Center, and Broom suggest a four-step process for developing a public relations plan: (1) define public relations problems; (2) plan and program; (3) take action and communicate; and (4) evaluate the program.14 The questions in Figure 17-2 and the four-step planning process tie in with the promotional planning process stressed throughout this text.

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