Course recommendation: Creating a PR Strategy @ The CIPR
Dennis Kelly, Director of the Centre for Public Relations Studies at Leeds Business School, facilitated the workshop and reminded us of the importance of planning in strategy creation. We had rather a long discussion about definitions, with the key takeaway being that the terms aims, objectives, strategy and tactics all being using fairly interchangeablely (and inaccurately) in practice.
He outlined why strategic PR (or communications) was important, and what we stood to gain personally and professionally if we throught and operated more strategically. He walked through 4 simple steps for strategic planning - the audit, creating the strategy, implementation and evaluation. We worked on a case study throughout the day that illustrated the key points, and were quite surprised at what we could collectively come up with for an area that for pretty much all of the participants, was out of our area of expertise.
It was also interesting to hear the participants talk about what continues to be a common theme amongst PR and comms types - how to measure what we do effectively. Dennis outlined the different levels of measurement; inputs, outputs, out-takes, outcomes and outflows, and we all estimated we were measuring our efforts around Level 2 (output). We did however, have a good brainstorming session about how we could get more creative in measuring results - using hard metrics, rather than the "fluffy stuff", as Dennis was adamant we avoid.
The workshop was a timely reminder that every now and then it's worth looking up from the mountain of media queries, internal requests and day-to-day stuff, and take a big picture look at your entire communications program and it's objectives. Much food for thought!
I'm doing the CIPR's Reputation Management workshop in a couple of weeks, which I'm also looking forward to.