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Revolutionary pr- episode one - pr


THE Characteristics OF MEDIA

Thirty years ago, Marshall McCluhan, the minister of avant-garde communications, wrote the immortal words, "The channel is the message. " Today I would amend that to, "The average is the media. " Our development is utterly dominated by the force of media. After our own families, no change holds superior sway in shaping the text of our being than do the media that cloak us like an electronic membrane.

We all think of ourselves as unique, dissimilar any character past or present. Indeed, what gives human life its divine spark is the conspicuous characteristic of every individual. Yet in many ways we are all the same. The task of bazaar analysts, pollsters, and demographers is to classify those characteristics we share, and group us accordingly. If you are in your early forties, male, Caucasian, a member of the clergy of two, earn $50,000 or more, and pay attention to a Top 40 radio station, there are total strangers out there who know an awful lot about you.

That's as they appreciate a lot about your upbringing. They know you watched "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the fifties, "The Man From U. N. C. L. E. " in the sixties, "Saturday Night Live" in the seventies, became environmentally conscious in the eighties, and were in all probability sorry ABC canceled "Thirtysomething" in the nineties. They've got your add up to for the reason that they be au fait with the role the media have played in your life from the instant you Boomed as a Baby.

Today, in America, we tune in to over 9,000 ad radio stations, 1,100 television stations, 11,000 periodicals, and over 11,000 newspapers with a combined flow of almost seventy million. These are the sources of our opinions on the lot from nuclear disarmament to Madonna's love life. Nobody likes to be told what to think, but all of us, every definite day, are told precisely what to think about.

As Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson show in their astute book, Age of Propaganda, the mass media are most effectual in terms of persuading the public for two core reasons. First, they teach new activities and, second, they let us know that a selection of behaviors are legitimate and appropriate. So, if the media are heartening a few exchange patterns, create trends, modes of thinking, the assumed communication we catch is "It's okay for me to like that, do that, feel that. " In this way, our cultivation evolves, is accelerated, and disseminated.

Like the transcontinental railroad of the last century, the media link every city, gully, farmhouse, and peak in North America. Regionalism is fading. The American accent is more uniform; our inclination for migration and joining together in is like the smoothing out of a great countrywide blanket. We are fast appropriate one.

A collective grammatical error occurs when associates say "The media is" moderately than "The media are" ("media" being the plural of medium"). Yet I sense people who say "the media is" are on to something. They perceive the many arms of the media-TV, newspapers, radio, etc. -as part of one monstrously monolithic creature. The media are "one" too.

Consider "Baby Jessica" McClure, for whom my firm donated communal relations services. Jessica was the child from Midland, Texas, who fell down a narrow pipe in her patch in 1987. For thirty-six hours, America was mesmerized by press coverage of her rescue. Drama as a afraid neighbor, the media conveyed Jessica's light to the nation. The clandestine agony of the McClure ancestors became the anguish of all America.

Think of it: the brief anguish of one "insignificant" diminutive girl blocked the world's most authoritative land dead in its tracks. (Then, to bless the experience, the TV movie description of Jessica's story made it to the small screen surrounded by a year. )

Without those cameras there to catch it, and those TV stations to advertise it, Baby Jessica's nightmare would have made completely no bang on anybody other than her children and those who saved her. Since of the media, all of America for two days became part of Jessica's family.


Journalists and talk-show hosts like to claim they're in the in sequence business or the news business. But you know and I know they're in the money affair just like all else. As as good as all media are privately held profit-making ventures, they perform much like any other enterprise, looking for ways to become more intense the base line.

To do that they must get bigger their consumer base, that is, their audience. They must give the consumer what he or she wants. So if your local news station runs a few too many five-part specials on the criminal sex lives of nuns during "Sweeps Month," consider they're only difficult to choose the viewers.

Creating a lucrative creation means citizens may not at all times get the information they need. A Harvard researcher found the arithmetic mean arrangement sound byte from presidential campaigns dropped from 41. 5 seconds per broadcast in 1968 to just under 10 seconds in 1988. That translates into roughly sixteen words a night with which to make up our minds on who should run the country. We absorb more information, yet absorb less than ever before.

This is a commonsense end result of big media. Their continuation depends on keeping the interview tuned in. If TV locate "A" covers aspirant "B" droning on about farm subsidies, most of the addressees will maybe beat to station "C" in succession a story about the stray cat raised by an demonstrative pig. Station "A" would be wise to ditch contender "B" and send a crew out to film Porky and Tabby.

Along with this abbreviation of in order is a analogous development of media. Because communal scientists have us so correctly categorized, outlets embattled to specific groups flourish. Lear's caters to mature, high-income women. Details appeals to middle-income, fast-tracker men. Essence aims for black women.

Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary, tells a great story in his stage show to illustrate how barely all ears we've develop into as a society. In the 1940s and 1950s we had the all-encompassing Life magazine. Then, we cropped our vision down to Ancestors magazine in the seventies (all of Life wasn't good enough anymore). Clothes tightened up even more with Us. Now we have Self. Somewhere, there's just gotta be a magazine just for you. I can just conceive of it: on sale now, "Fred Morganstern Monthly. "

Not only do we see more media outlets, but the flow of in order has likewise amplified dramatically the past few years. Fax machines, cellular phones, modems, fiber-optic cables, Low Power TV, satellite down-links, all have reshaped the way we get our information, when we get it, and what we do with it.

During China's "Goddess of Democracy" protests in 1989, the students kept in touch with the exterior world via fax. Instantly, China seemed to leap forward from feudal empire to current nation. Vietnam was the first "we'll be right back after these messages" war. As napalm rained down on the jungle, we saw it live as it happened. We had no time to deal with in order or analyze procedures as we were barraged by them. Since of superior communications, the Gulf War had the same effect, only with infinitely more drama.

The media may have accelerated the course of dissemination, but as we found out in the days of the first supersonic jets, infringement the sound barrier did not, as some scientists feared, cause planes to disintegrate. Likewise, instant news did not cause us to expressively disintegrate.

There's no way to assess what this means to society. To be carpet-bombed by in sequence must have far-reaching penalty to our civilization, but that's for forthcoming observers to sort out. Today, we face an daunting media- driven culture. Any person looking to achieve something in big business must first master the fundamentals of navigating the media. To reach customers, donors, or investors-to reach the public-one must rely on the media as the prime intermediary. The line to accomplish this is known as Civic Relations.

THE Character OF Communal RELATIONS

Half the world is calm of colonize who have a touch to say and can't, and the other half who have nonentity to say and keep on maxim it.

-- Robert Frost

I'm often asked whether communal relations is a knowledge or an art. That's a valid question. In science, two plus two equals four. It will constantly equal four whether added by a Republican from Iowa, a spiritualist from New Guinea, or an alien from Globe X. However, in broadcast relations, two plus two may equal four. It may equal five. It may equal zero today and fifty tomorrow.

Public relations is an art.

Like an art, there are rules of form, proven techniques, and values of excellence. But, overall, it's a mercurial enterprise, where instinct is as legitimate as convention.

Public relations was once clear as the capability to afford the answers ahead of the community knows an adequate amount to ask the questions. A new P. R. authority once stated, "We don't convince people. We cleanly offer them reasons to persuade themselves. " I delimit what I do as gift-wrapping. If you container a bracelet in a Tiffany box, it will have a privileged perceived value than if presented in a K Mart box. Same bracelet, atypical perception.


Don Burr, previous CEO of Colonize Convey Airlines, once said, "In the airline industry, if passengers see auburn stains on the food tray, they believe the engine maintenance isn't done right. " That may seem irrational, but in this game, perception, not the objective truth, matters most.

How one comprehends given in rank is all-important in communal relations. For decades, baby harp seals were bludgeoned to death by fur hunters, but until the broadcast saw the cute barely critters up close and individual and perceived the hunt as unacceptable, the challenge didn't exist. Ahead of that, it was a be of importance of trappers preserving their hardy way of life. The seals ultimately hired the beat publicist.

This also works in depressing ways. The congressional check-bouncing scandal was a case in which characteristic congressmen's visibility skyrocketed, while their credibility plummeted. The Tobacco Institute, a Washington-based lobbying and P. R. outfit, spends its time and money claiming cigarettes are okay. Naught they do or say will ever make that true, but they may go a long way in varying communal perception of their product. A few years ago they sponsored subliminally that no-smoking policy disobey on our basic liberties. How's that for a P. R. stretch?

Ultimately, the goal of any community relations crusade is to each reorient, or solidify, perception of a product, client, policy, or event. From there, nature takes its course. If the communal perceives the effect as good, the movie star as sexy, the pet rock as indispensable, then the civic will fork over its money. As the brilliant commerce biographer Dr. Judith Bardwick explained, "To be perceived as detectable increasingly means one is perceived as successful. "

Some may accuse that stressing perception as certainty is identical to sanctioning falsehood. I disagree. As the great historian Max Dimont argued, it didn't affair if Moses exceedingly did have a chat with the Lord up on Mount Sinai or not. What matters is that the Jewish associates held it and imprinted their distinctive place in world civilizations as of it. Perception became reality.

Likewise, on a more mundane scale, one will be a success in a P. R. canvass only if the perception fostered truly resonates with the public. I do not have faith in people are by a long shot duped. You may try the lot in your bag of tricks to get the broadcast to see effects your way. You'll pull it off only if the perception you seek to convey fits the certainty of the public, the realism of the times. As Pretkanis and Eronson argue, credibility today is manufactured, and not earned.


Often, the terms "public relations" and "publicity" are used interchangeably. They shouldn't be. Exposure is only one manifestation of P. R. -specifically, achieving dishonor all through accumulated press exposure. A publicist knows newspapers, magazines, and TV talk shows. Community Relations is much more than that. The Broadcast Relations knowledgeable is as well versed in human character as in editorial and sound bytes.

P. R. can be as macro as a battle to change somebody's mind external governments so buy U. S. soybeans, or as micro as a warm handshake. The notion that P. R. is simply a be relevant of mailing press releases is nuttier than a squirrel's breakfast. As producer, manager, and publicist Jay Bernstein says, "P. R. is getting a front table at the right restaurant, being paid you invited to the right party, and being paid into first class with a tourist ticket. "

A man who has critically pretentious my thinking, the revered affair dramatist and lecturer Tom Peters, tells the story of a visit to a environs convenience store. "American Articulate was being a diminutive user-unfriendly," Tom recalls, "and it took a good three action for my AMEX card to clear. When it after all did, the banker bagged my purchase, and as I crooked to go reached into a jar of two-cent foil-wrapped mints. He pulled one out, dropped it in my bag, and said, 'The delay you qualified was inexcusable. I make an apology and hope it doesn't crop up again. Come back soon. ' For two cents, he bought my constancy for life. "

This story is about one small commerce owner and only one customer, but it's a complete case of good P. R. But what about bad P. R. ? I doubt there's anyone on the scene who has mastered that ambiguous craft develop than sometime-billionaire Donald Trump. This is a man who has lost be in charge of of his own gilded ship. His lurid infidelities, his immoral spending, his precipitous fall from fortune, and, worst of all, his challenge to exploit the Mike Tyson rape tragedy to promote a prize fight, cooperatively paint a likeness of a comprehensively boorish mind.

The Donald doesn't care what you say about him, as long as you spell his name right. True, at any time he opens his mouth or makes a move, the press is all over him. But his considerable fame has made him only a eminent fool. You are not apt to do the grade of fame that Mr. Trump has, but, given his discreditable image, I would congratulate you on that.


With Rebel P. R. (and P. R. in general), you do not tell the broadcast that your new digital fish cleaner is the maximum invention since the dawn of time. You could by a long way do that in an ad. Your goal is to lead colonize to draw that same conclusion for themselves. Otherwise, you're engaging in good old-fashioned- or is it new-fashioned?-marketing strategy.

Companies often consign community relations to their marketing departments. That might make sense from a corporate point of view, but there's a apparent difference connecting P. R. and marketing. Going back to the "science vs. art" analogy, while P. R. is the art, marketing is the science.

Bob Serling, Leader of the Stratford Marketing Group, an L. A. -based marketing firm, has written, "Marketing is all you do to make sure your customers find out about, and buy, your foodstuffs and services. " That's a tall order, and to go about inside it, marketing executives lug about a hefty bag of tricks.

To a large degree, they rely on surveys, demographic analyses and established sales and promotion procedures to accomplish their goals. But in Community Relations, intangibles play a far superior role. How do you appraise a feeling? It's not easy, but in P. R. we trade in the realm of feelings every day. We may use the media as the vehicle, but the landscape we go over is contoured by human emotion.

Marketing often goes hand-in-hand with advertising. The indisputable advantage with promotion is that the supporter retains full control. He knows closely what his letter will say and correctly when it will be seen. But bear in mind this hardly fact of life: most top ad agencies believe a 1-2 percent answer rate a triumph. That's all it takes to make them happy. And, like it or not, most colonize don't take ads as critically as advertisers would like. Each one knows they're bought and paid for.

I favor the odds with major media exposure. True, you do lose a large measure of control, and you never know for sure when or how your letter will be conveyed. But the civic is far likelier to agree to what it gleans from the news media over what it sees in commercials. If Dan Considerably says a new sports shoe is a daring innovation, ancestors will give that more acceptance than if band spokesman Bo Jackson says it. The news, certainly the truth, is what Dan Fairly says it is.

So who tells Dan Considerably what's news? The media like to boast they rely on ace newsgathering staffs; but in fact they depend a great deal on communal relations people. That doesn't mean the journalists of America are saps. They're just looking for good stories. A hungry reporter and a smart publicist is a match made in heaven, and it's been that way since the dawn of the Communication Age.

FROM THE Insurrectionary P. R. FILE

In Amarillo, Texas, you'll find the Big Texan Steak Ranch, where the owner issues the subsequent challenge:

If you can eat a seventy-two-ounce steak in an hour, you get it free. News of the deal traveled far and wide, even to the skies where I first read about it in an airline magazine.


The civic relations business flourished with the augmentation of twentieth-century mass media, though sensitivity to communal attitude on the part of communal information is nobody new. Even Abraham Lincoln got into the act, declaring once, "What kills a skunk is the exposure it gives itself. " The fathers of contemporary P. R. knew the value of down-to-earth descriptions to convey brawny messages.

Edward Bernays, break down of current P. R. , definite his mission as the engineering of consent. He was a nephew of Sigmund Freud, and he strikes me as having been just as aware about human description as his respected uncle. Bernays displayed a genius for concocting deep-seated images, a little good P. R. campaigns require. In one early triumph, he approved for young debutantes to smoke Lucky Strikes while strolling in New York's 1929 Easter Parade. What Bernays sold to the press as a bold opinionated account on women's civil rights was no more than a trick to sell cigarettes.

Pioneers like publicist/film producer A. C. Lyles set the pace for generations of publicists to follow. A new innovator, Ivy Hill, is often attributed with inventing the press release. Hill alleged forceful the "truth" in journalistic fashion would help shape communal opinion. He sensed editors would not dismiss press releases as ads, but considerably would perceive their real news value. He was right.

The publicist's aptitude to allure to newspapers proved invaluable to captains of conscientiousness in the hunt for to shore up their images. Back in the 1920s, Hill masterminded businessman John D. Rockefeller's much-ridiculed habit of handing out dimes to every child he met. Ludicrous but effectual in its time. (Imagine T. Boone Pickens annoying that today. )

Occasionally, clients got less than they bargained for. In the late 1950s, the Ford Motor Circle hired P. R. trail-blazer Ben Sonnenberg to help overcome the denial argue from the Edsel fiasco. He emotional Ford $50,000 for a foolproof P. R. plan, and after three days submitted it in person. Sonnenberg looked the puffing executives in the eye and intoned, "Do nothing. " With that, the neat publicist pocketed his check and walked out, much to the slack-jawed shock of the Ford brain trust.

Even nations every so often need help. For the duration of the 1970s, Argentina urbanized a little P. R. challenge when its command kidnapped and murdered thousands of its own citizens. Buenos Aires hired the high-powered U. S. firm of Burson- Marsteller to tidy effects up. For a cool $1,000,000, the firm launched an extensive canvass linking opinion-makers from about the world: a stream of press releases stressed, among other things, the Argentine regime's best in fighting terrorism. From time to time the truth can be stretched until it tears itself in half.

I don't wish to give the brand that P. R. is austerely a polite description of lying. That's not the case. As I said, P. R. is gift-wrapping. Whether delivered in fancy or plain paper, truth is truth, and the civic at the end of the day comprehends it. The trick is packaging the truth on your own terms.

How often have you read about a big movie star night raid off the set of a film because of "creative differences" with the director? We all know the two egomaniacs in all probability hated each other's guts. But if the id written that, we'd perceive the circumstances very differently. By our soft-pedaling the row with words like "creative differences," the movie star's reputation carcass intact, even all the same inkling tells us he's "difficult. "


Thus far, when referring to the public, I've global to mean the population at large: We the People. The advanced advanced art of P. R. encompasses many more "publics" than that. In fact, selective targeting is a primary tactic in sound P. R. strategies. As you will see, larger is not all the time better.

Depending on the goals, a publicist could aim any one of a number of business, consumer, or legislative communities. An patron in the hunt for fiscal back up aims for the fiscal press and appropriate trade publications. A rock musician zeroes in on the local music rags. A campaigner might need naught more than a friendly critique in the Washington Post, a dealer only the residents of his immediate neighborhood.

Though I've found a few clients by a long shot dazzled by quantity, in P. R. attribute is what certainly counts. A seven-inch stack of press nail clippings means nonentity if the objectives of the canvass have been met. The autograph album makes a great Mother's Day gift, but I'd moderately see my clients' careers cutting edge in the right direction.

Figuring out which community to reach is one of the most decisive decisions a publicist makes. My orientation-and, I hope, yours-is geared about the most important listeners vis-à-vis your objectives, which is not inevitably the widest. You may want to aim the ancestors you buy from, the citizens you hope to sell to, the citizens you work for, the associates that work for you, and so on. It's a big world full of a small amount worlds when you look closely.

In most cases I spell out correctly who and what I'm going after, and then proceed aggressively. Don't go for the moon all at once. Set a goal, accomplish it, then build on that base. Any good conniver knows the return of thinking three steps ahead while proceeding one step at a time.

FROM THE Revolutionary P. R. FILE

The history-making Dignified 1991 revolution in the earlier Soviet Union began when then-president Mikhail Gorbachev left Moscow for a holiday on the Crimean Sea. As the whole issue had a happy ending, each one laughed when, only a few days later, the leader of an al fresco announcement company in Detroit ran a run of large ads all over town reading: "Welcome Back, Gorby! Next Time Break in Michigan. "


Never be boring. Never!

Know your area of interest thoroughly.

Know the media you contact. Read the paper, watch the newscast.

Cover you bases.

Don't just take "yes" for an answer. Abide by up, admire through.

Never feel satisfied.

Always argue your composure.

Think quite a few moves ahead.

Be persistent, but move on when you're confident you're in receipt of nowhere.

Remember, this isn't brain surgery. Don't take by hand too critically (like too many publicists I know). Have fun.

Michael Levine is the come to grief of the prominent broadcast relations firm Levine Communications Office, based in Los Angeles. He is the dramatist of Mutineer PR, 7 Life Instruction from Noah's Ark: How to Continue to exist a Flood in Your Own Life.

GuerrillaPR. net is a reserve for citizens that want to get celebrated in the media, without going broke. http://GuerrillaPR. net


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