Public relations pros are asked this same question over and over from the general public, “So what exactly is public relations and what do they do.” It’s a question that is almost too broad to answer, but if I were asked the question, I would respond by asking what isn’t public relations. I believe that we witness PR everyday, and in this day and time, it has never been more essential to our daily lives. The problem is that PR pros, in my opinion, do not get enough recognition for what they do. They’re basically doing the important work behind the scenes, while the client gets all of the recognition.
To break it down in the most simplest of terms for the person who does not understand public relations, I would introduce to them a model that all PR pros use: the traditional four-step model. The four important steps are research, planning, implement and evaluation.
Let’s take an actual case and implement the traditional four part process to it.
A Chipotle executive recently blasted fast food chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s as “irrelevant”, and said his company, Chipotle, will eventually replace them. “The predominant goal [for traditional fast food chains] is the cheapening of the raw ingredients, the automation of the work such that anyone could do it… so that they turn over their employees without any care for them, where it’s a game of value meals and cheapening the food experience,” Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran said in an interview with Belus Capital Advisors’ Brian Sozzi.
I wouldn’t consider Chipotle to be a bigger brand than the traditional fast food chains, but let’s say it does want to hire a PR agency to help reach its goal of becoming the number one food chain. The agency must execute its strategy through the traditional four-step model. Here’s how it works.
Research– Research is not the most glamorous part of public relations, but it is definitely important. The PR agency may need to find out the pros and cons of Chipotle and what the public likes and dislikes about the company.
Planning– Planning is where the agency may view the goals and opportunities for Chipotle. It needs to figure out how the target audience should be reach and decide on what the theme will be for Chipotle’s campaign.
Implementation– Implementation is the most important part of the process, in my opinion. This is a part of the process the public will actually see. It could determine whether Chipotle’s campaign is successful or not.
Evaluation– In evaluation, the agency determines what it did right and what it did wrong, but most importantly, it learns from the process. If the agency wants Chipotle to become a bigger brand than the mainstream fast food chains, it will have to learn from the previous tactics and improve upon it for the next time. This may require for the agency to do the four step model all over again.
The four step model is basically the bread and butter for PR pros. Unfortunately, it may not work the way the agency intended it to the first time. But the good news is that the four step model is meant to be used over and over again. If a brand such as Chipotle wants to become bigger than McDonald’s, its agency must learn how to effectively used the four step process model.