Strategy is the heart of planning for public relations, marketing communication and related areas. All the embodiments of strategic communication are rooted in the research already undertaken in the previous phase and growing toward the eventual choice of communication tactics. Just as rushing through the research phase would have jeopardized the foundation on which to build your public relations or marketing communication plan, failing to give adequate attention to strategy can result in weak messages and pointless activity.
Simply stated, strategy is the organization's overall plan. It is the determination of how the organization decides what and how it wants to achieve. Strategy has a dual focus: the action of the organization (both proactive and responsive) and the content of its messages (theme, source, content and tone). Refer to strategy in the singular, because each program should have a single, unifying strategy.
The entire strategic process is interrelated and interdependent: Goals guide the development of objectives, which in turn help drive decisions about what persuasive strategies to use and what tactics to employ to address the problem or opportunity.
I. Establishing Goals and Objectives
This step is about looking inward and deciding what you want to achieve. To better understand this step, you need to understand the twin concepts of goals and objectives. It should be noted that public relations and marketing strategists generally make the distinction that goals are general and global while objectives are specific.
A goal is a statement rooted in the organization's mission or vision. Using everyday language, a goal acknowledges the issue and sketches out how the organization hopes to see it settled. A goal is stated in general terms and lacks measures; these will come later in the objectives. In their classic book Public Relations Management by Objectives, Norman Nager and T. Harrell Allen (1984) used the...