With all due respect, Sheila Dixon, who is running for mayor of Baltimore, appears to have a limited view of what’s involved in a public relations strategy. Which makes this an important opportunity to clarify what PR is about. (Ms. Dixon was also the city’s mayor from 2007 to 2010.)
“Sure, we can do a (PR) campaign and say, ‘Hey, Baltimore’s safe now,’” Ms. Dixon says in a Baltimore Business Journal story, “But come on. People have to see for themselves. They have to go back up on Pennsylvania Avenue – CNN news, whoever, – and see people getting on the subway going to work.”
Actually, a sound public relations strategy includes all the other elements in the Business Journal story as well: The well-publicized rebuilding of the city’s damaged neighborhoods and a better approach to protecting the neighborhoods, along with well-trained police officers visible there, the retention of police officers, and re-attracting officers who have left “because of whatever happened within the police department.”
In other words, apply PR’s four-step process: Define the problem and develop a vision, plan a program to achieve the vision – objectives, strategies, tactics – take action and communicate and, then, evaluate the results. Next, redo the process as needed.
Public relations is, indeed, a process-based discipline, not a “quick fix” for anything.
(The Baltimore Business Journal Photo by Jaclyn Borowski shows Sheila Dixon campaigning for Mayor of Baltimore.)
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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