The Goals of Communication
Communication also known as Execution is the most visible part of public relations work. The goals of the communication process are to inform, persuade, motivate, and achieve mutual understanding.

Implementing the plan
A programs strategies and tactics may take the form of news releases, news conferences, special events, brochures, viral marketing, speeches, bumper stickers, newsletters, web casts, rallies, and posters.
To be an affective communicator a person must have basic knowledge of: (1) what constitutes communication and how people receive messages (2) how people process information and change their perspectives (3) what kinds of media and communication tools are most appropriate for a particular message.

PR media planners must now address some of the same questions that confront advisers: What media best meet a program’s objectives? How can media be combined to enhance program effectiveness? What media are most efficient to reach key audience?

A Public Relations Perspective

When planning a message on behalf of an employer or client a communicator should determine exactly what objective is being sought through the communication Patrick Jackson –editor of the pr reporter believes that the communicator should ask whether the proposal message is (1) appropriate (2) meaningful (3) memorable (4) understandable and, (5) believable to the prospective recipient.

James Gruing –professor of PR at the University of Maryland lists five possible objectives for a communicator:

1. Message exposure

2. Accurate dissemination of the message

3. Acceptance of the message

4. Attitude Change

5. Change in overt behavior

Paying Attention to the Message

The formation and dissemination of a message must account for understanding the audience and what it takes to attract their attention to that message.

"All who receive [the message] won't publish it, and all who read or hear it won't understand or act upon it." Walt Seifert, Ohio Sate University
Theoretical Perspectives
  • Media uses and gratification theory
    • The communication process is interactive
      • The communicator wants to inform and pursuade
      • The recipient wants to be entertained, informed or alerted to opportunities that can fulfill individual needs
    • Some reasons that audiences pay attention to messages have to do with the purpose for which they use mass media, including:
      • Surveillance of the environment to find out what is happening locally and/or globally that has some impact on them
      • Entertainment and diversion
      • Reinforcement of their opinions and predispositions
      • Decision making about buying a product or service
    • Two kinds of audiences to factor when designing communication strategies to attract attention
      • Those who actively seek information
        • These audiences are already at the interest stage of the adoption process and seek more sophisticated supplemental information
        • Tools may include brochures, in-depth newspaper and magazine articles, slide presentations, video presentations, symposiums and conferences, major speeches before key groups, and demonstrations at trade shows.
      • Those who passively process information
        • In most public relations campaigns, communications are designed to reach primarily passive audiences
        • These audiences use communication channels that can be utilized while they are doing little else
          • Examples include billboards, radio announcements, TV advertisements and information available in a doctor's office
          • Passive audiences need messages that have style and creativity -- This can be accomplished with photos, illustrations, catchy slogans, press agentry, the dramatic picture, the use of celebrities, radio/TV announcements and events featuring entertainment.
    • Multiple messages and a variety of communication tools should be used in a full-fledged information campaign to reach both the passive and active information seekers since the intended audience can include both at any given time
    • Public relations personnel have two ways by which to determine strategies
      • Audience analysis to determine attitudes which can give insight into the extent of group interest in, or apathy toward, a new product or idea
      • Audience segmentation allows the practitioner to select the appropriate communication tools
Other Attention-Getting Concepts
  • Communicators should think in terms of the five senses
  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste
    • Communication strategies should include vehicles of communication designed to tap the senses of sight and/or hearing
      • 83% of learning is accomplished through sight
      • 11% of learning is accomplished through hearing
      • Seeing and hearing accounts for 50% of what individuals retain
    • Employing a variety of communications tools assists learning and retention and provides repetition of a message in a variety of forms that accomodate audience needs
      • These tools can include news releases, publicity photos, slide presentations, video, bilboards, newsletters, radio announcements, video news releases, media interviews, and news conferences
  • "Hook" an audience's attention by beginning the message with something that will make its members' lives easier or benefit them in some way.
  • State the major point of the message at the beginning of the message when the attention of the audience is at its highest.Give details in the middle, and end with a summary of the message.
  • Begin a message with a statement that reflects audience values and predispositions. People pay attention to messages that reinforce their predispositions.
  • There is an increased chance that an audience will pay attention if a message taps current events or issues of public concern already in the news. Prior knowledge and interest make people pay more attention to messages.

Believing the Message
One key variable in the communication process is source credibility.
Sources must be precieve as knowledgeable and expert on the subject, the source should be honest and objective. otherwise audiences won't believe you as a creditable source.
For example ascreibe lower credibility to statements in an advertisment then to the same information in a news article, because the news articles are selected by media gatekeepers.

The sleeper effect also influences source credibility even if organization are perceived initially as not being very credible sources, people may retain the information and eventually separate the source from the opinion.

A second variable in believability is the context of the message. Action speak more then words.
Another barrier to the believability of messages is the audience's predisposition can't change an mind that already is made up their belief unless the communicator can introduce information that can cause them to question their beliefs.

Cognitive dissonance can be created in at least 3 ways.
1. Make the target audience aware that circumstance have charged.
2. Give information about new development or discoveries.
3. Use an unexpected spokesperson.

Involvement is another important prediposition that impacts how messages are processed by audience members.
Involvement can be described in simple terms as interest or concern for an issue or a product.

Remembering the message
For several reasons, many messages prepared by public relations personnel are repeated extensively:
  • Repetition is necessary because all members of a target audience don't see or hear the message the same time.
  • Repetition reminds the audience, so there is less chance of a failure to remember the message.
  • Repetition helps the audience remember the message itself.
  • Repetition can lead to improved learning and increase the chance of penetrating audience indifference or resistance.

Researcher say that repetition, or redundancy, also is necessary to offset the "noise" surrounding a message.
Communicators often build repetition into a message.
The key to effective communication and retention of the message is to convey information in a variety of ways, using multiple communication channels.

Understanding the Message

Communication can only take place if the sender and receiver have a common understanding of the symbols being used.

  • Effective use of language-Words are the most common symbols.
  • Factors like education, social class, regional differences, nationality, and cultural background must be consider when communicating effectively.
  • Companies that have global operations must consider that for many employees English is their second language.
  • Must write for clarity. Ex. to test on a target audience before released in order to make sure the message is received the way it was intended.
  • Clarity and simplicity of the message are enhanced by they use of symbols, acronyms, and slogans.
  • Avoid Jargon. Jargon interferes with the message and impedes the receiver's ability to understand it.
  • Avoid cliches and hype words. Highly charged words with connotative meanings can pose problems,and overuse of cliches and hype words can seriously undermine the credibility of the message.
  • Avoid Euphemisms. Public relations personnel should use positive, favorable words to convey a message, but they have an ethical responsibility not to use words that hide informations or mislead.
  • Avoid discriminatory language. Public relations personnel should double check every message to eliminate undesirable gender, racial, and ethnic connotations.

Acting on the Message
The ultimate purpose of any message is to have an affect on the recipient.

  • The Five-Stage Adoption Process
  1. Awareness: a person becomes aware of the idea that is trying to be coveyed to the audience
  2. Interest: the person is now aware, and has taken an interest in the idea or product and will seek more in-depth information on the matter. They may do this through the use of brochure, a pamphlet, or an in-depth article of some kind.
  3. Evaluation: a person will now evaluate how the product fits their needs and how well it does so.
  4. Trial: a person will now try the product or put the idea into motion. The person experiences the advertised idea or product.
  5. Adoption: based on the steps above, the person will either adopt, or choose to implement this product or idea into their lives, or will chose not to. This is the step of the process that is often excluded because of a number of factors.
The Time Factor
Communicators need to remember that based on what message or idea they are trying to make the audience aware of, the time it takes for an audience to adopt and respond to that message or idea will vary. For example, a message designed to sway a voter on their vote for a political candidate may take longer to adopt than a message designed to get people to buy a certain type of soda at the grocery store.

How Decisions Are Influenced
Some mass media vehicles are more influential than others when it comes to the different stages in the Five-Stage Adoption Process. Advertising, news articles, and news announcements are most influential in the awareness stage, while people at the interest who are seeking more in-depth information on a product or idea may turn to longer, more detailed articles and specialized publications. Decisions on adopting an idea or product are also influenced by friends and family, and some are may either adopt or not adopt an idea or product just because a close family member or friend did so previously and experienced a certail level of satisfaction. As a communicator, in order to be effective, all angles must be viewed and all audiences must be considered.