Marijane Funess August 18, 2014 | 11:26:46

Making PR A Priority In The C-Suite

As PR execs strive to  keep public relations front and center with CEOs, consider some “prep work” that will make the case to decision-makers and keep smart, results-driven PR in the forefront.

What  defines executive-championed work? Programs that support leadership goals, like enhancing corporate reputation and increasing sales or profits. Issues that resonate with the chief executive. To successfully sell in a PR campaign,  all of the above should and can be addressed in a proposal.

Find out what matters to leadership. Some simple sleuthing will help determine leadership’s feelings about PR and how involved they have been in the past. Play to a CEO who likes the spotlight by bolstering a thought leadership campaign. You can also determine how a CSR program may best flourish by ferreting out a pet CEO cause.

Seek input from others who matter – even known naysayers.  Talk to other key staffers who have “touched” PR at the organization. Do this ahead of time so you can benefit from their experience and are  prepared to deal with anticipated objections.

Design the strategy to reflect what has been learned. Tie objectives, strategies and tactics to key learnings and research for an airtight presentation to senior management.

Create reasonable expectations. CEOs need KPIs! Without overpromising, present a thought-out recommendation with clear, manageable expectations for results.
Be willing to compromise and yes, even sacrifice. It helps to present more than one (well thought out) option, know the risks and be very clear on the objectives.

Marshall all resources. Does it make sense to have presenters from other teams help make the case? Be judicious but absolutely consider strong players with successful track records to join in the presentation.

Demonstrate skills and “stickiness” —  an ability to keep the audience tuned to the presentation. Present creatively, forcefully and briefly! Make each message count by offering compelling visuals, meaningful examples and ideas that can be easily grasped without a lot of explanation.

Have the four “A’s” in your back pocket.  Speak C-level language and offer up a plan that includes the following: a needs Audit, a sound Approach, detailed Action plan and a methodology for Analytics.

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