By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
Loyal followers of The PRDude know that I believe in the power of public relations to do good. So, I’m offering the following framework of a strategic public relations plan to our elected leaders in Washington, D.C. as an instrument to help end the current legislative stalemate better known as the “shutdown.”
I’ll follow the storied four-step process, which I addressed way back in September of 2009. The communications industry changes rapidly in today’s technology-driven world, but the four-step public relations process should not be one of them.
What follows is, as noted above, just the framework of a plan. (I’d be delighted to expand upon this further — for a hefty fee, of course — but I don’t believe there’s anyone in Washington still on the job who could cut a check, much less have the funds available!)
Step One: Define the threat or opportunity. In most cases strategy would guide communications to address one or the other. With the impasse underway in our nation’s capitol, I maintain there’s the potential to craft messages that address both: a) The threat is continued deterioration of the American economy and way of life, and a decline in the nation’s stature on the world stage. b) The opportunity is to bring to the forefront the fact that the two-party system clearly no longer works and we probably need to fix it. (Independents, are you listening?)
Step Two: Conduct research. In a real-world situation, we’d conduct primary research and review secondary sources. But based on two online news sources, I maintain that the no one really knows when or how the shutdown will end, and everyone is blaming the President and Congress for this fiasco. That’s sufficient research for now.
Step Three: Develop a Plan and Communicate. Strategic public relations plans are based on realistic goals, sound strategies and measurable objectives. Here’s what I recommend: Compromise and end the impasse (goal), have each side walk away with something (strategy), get people back to work tomorrow and bring business back to normal (objectives). Communicate this through a joint news conference and issue a news release. Hey, I’ll write the release and talking points for you. For free!
Step Four: Revisit The Plan and Make Revisions. Most strategic plans are revisited after several weeks or perhaps months. But in this case, my proposed plan to help bring the United States back to some sense of “normalcy” should be revisited a lot sooner. Like tomorrow.
Whether you’re in public relations or some other profession, why not share your thoughts on how the nation’s leaders can do their jobs and govern. So we all could get back to “normal.”