Make an appraisal
Granted that “with public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed,” as Lincoln pointed out, what steps should the publicity man take to arouse, develop, and maintain public confidence and support? First, he should make an appraisal of the situation in which he finds himself; second, he should develop a publicity programme adapted to that situation; and, third, he should put that plan into effective operation as soon as possible. These steps are necessary whether he is interested in a temporary campaign or in a permanent project.
Appraisal of situation
First, and with the critical approach of the scientist, he should make an impersonal and objective study of the cause, movement, business, or institution he is to publicize. Unless he understands and appreciates fully the nature and scope of his probe he may make mistakes that will offset all of IDS efforts. He must be aware of policies and personalities, routines and regulations, practices and procedures, adding to that a knowledge of his client’s past. Moreover he must have a definite and positive concept of what he is trying to do.
This fact should be noted too: an organization or institution is its own best publicity; that is , before it deserves publicity it must have something to publicize. After all, actions out-shout words. Hence. the railway that urges the public to enjoy its superior accommodations and service makes its publicrelations counsel a liar when it provides its passengers regularly with dirty and antiquated coaches, inadequately heated, ventilated, and illuminated. Once a passenger has been fooled, he may be fooled again, but not again and again, for the testimony of his experience will refute the eloquence of the highest- paid publicity expert.
In other words, no publicity specialist can offset policies or practices that are fundamentally wrong. The truth will out about a store’s sale of shoddy goods, a factory’s unfair treatment of labour, a principal’s insistence on pedestal pedagogy-that is, his insistence that teachers are infallible, even oracles-a hospital’s refusal to admit a dying man, a public utility firm’s attempt to avoid paying taxes. Hence, in 80 far as he can, the publicity man should find out to what extent his “house is in order.
Planning the programme
Second, the publicity expert should develop a programme to m his situation. What is his purpose: to elect a new mayor, collect money for a scholarship, obtain money for exterminating rats, abolish legalized murder–technically designated as capital establishment–popularize a young actress, or attract tourists to Camel? This purpose, whatever it is, will be an important factor but not the only factor. Certain restrictions may be imposed upon him by his client, and his resources will not be inexhaustible.
Moreover, if he is wise, he will make a study of the people at whom his publicity is to be directed in order to determine the extent to which various media may be effective.
Every business and industry, every civic organization and social welfare society. every foundation And corporation hr S its own specialized needs which cannot be met merely by duplicating a programme that has been successful in a similar organization.