4Models of Communications Strategy
(Copy sent to MN legislature, House Speaker, Steve Sviggum and Senate President Roger Moe and others: Roy Terwilliger, Larry Fitzgerald, John Marty, David Jennings, Otis Courtney, Sarah Psick, Victor Moore, Tom Hanson)
The how's and why's and the "art" of public relations as communications strategy by level of individuals and events In terms of macro and micro negotiations for communications success in building the desired image/perception.
- "Communications as the Ultimate Exercise of Power"
- "Communications as a problem solving discipline"
- "No Teflon, even for the formidable."
- All three statements are by Robert L. Dilenschneider, From his book A Briefing for Leaders: Communications As The Ultimate Exercise of Power Former President and CEO of the world's largest PR firm: Hill and Knowlton Now: CEO of The Dilenschneider Group
The 47 Models
The 47 proven models listed below will serve any organization or individuals within an organization, or both, whether corporate, nonprofit, or for a political campaign.
The discussion must center on that what best fits the organization as a whole, the organization, and then in its parts: the Chairman, the CEO, the COO, the various senior executives and middle management managers, as well as all staff professionals, support staff, etc. If a political campaign, then the candidate and the candidateªs agenda are the focus.
All 47 models provide solid ground on which to build the communications strategies needed to meet desired communications' goals, and fit (1) any company or company organization (and the individuals within them) of any industry, from manufacturing to service to retail to entertainment to sports, etc., (2) any political campaign, whether national, state, or local, and (3) they fit any organization or entity (and the individuals within them) in the realm of politics and society, be it the United Nations, an individual country, conflict between nations, nation-wide, a state or city or county within, etc. Whether for positive events, or to turn negative events positive, these models will enable the development of positive relations, whether public (external, exogenous) or private/in-house (internal, endogenous).
1. John D. Rockefeller I: Going from the most hated man in America to the most loved man in America. After he retired and experienced a religious conversion, he sought help in changing his public image. His PR consultant (not called PR then) developed a plan: wear a wig in public so as not to look like the bald grim reaper; give away dimes to gatherings of kids at events to which the press and photographers were invited, gave money to worth causes (always in front of the invited media), and created philanthropy and private foundations for the purposes of doing good. All was part of the message. All was geared to his public appearances. His image was completely reversed. This was the first of two events which launched the industry known as "public relations," this one being at the micro level.
2. GE's 50th Anniversary: held world wide. Millions of light bulbs in major cities. Neither name of company (GE) nor inventor (Edison) were mentioned, but they didn't have to be: all knew. Presidents and heads of nations were enjoined in the anniversary celebration. This was the second of two events which launched the industry known as "public relations," this one being at the macro level.
3. Ronald Reagan's vision strategy: Mike Deaver met with a special group at the Blair House, across the street from the White House, every Friday, to strategize the message they wanted over the horizon of the next 100 days. They came up with messages for each day for the next 100 days, and for each hour of the next two weeks, all of which were reviewed every Friday. This was the best way they felt they could combat the attacks and hostilities aimed at them in both print and broadcast media, in order to give them an chance to influence their desired outcomes. This was the strategy that caused Reagan to be called "The Great Communicator." The group articulated the vision Reagan had and then outlined the steps they needed to take to sustain the vision, coordinating appearance by various administration officials on the Sunday morning talk shows, Sunday editorial pages, etc. Note: I recommend that all clients have at least a different major emphasis each month.
4. George Bush's visionless strategy: he said "I'm not into the vision thing," and dismantled Reagan's communications apparatus. His Chief of Staff, John Sununu was so confident of their success, that he said "we are so popular we could have a depression and still win re-election." They paid dearly for not having a vision and then for not strategizing getting the messages out that were part of that vision.
5. Bill Clinton's first two years had information leaks all over. Once they settled down, developed administration wide messages and established when they were to be coordinated, they tightened up their process: no more leaks. Clinton keeps "motoring on" to get his message out there. He has more speech writers than any President in history and he gives more speeches and presentations than any President before him. He was able to stay out in front of the Impeachment process, using critically damning information about those "across the aisle", as he took it before the public, and was able to win public support and keep his office. He used his video taped deposition not to talk to the judge or grand jury but rather to the public at large who he knew would be watching it later on TV. Bill Gates did not, and Bill's performance was so bad that the Judge decided nothing he or any of his people who would follow him could be trusted or believed, and thus should be punished with a breakup, despite the fact that the evidence he lists will be reversed on appeals. So, even when Microsoft wins, they have paid a high price for not believing in nor having a communications strategy (something common to the innocent, who don't understand why "truth will out" is often not true).
6. Al Gore stays ahead of the "event horizon" curve, having been ahead of many of his colleagues and competitors in matters of the environment, the Internet, and other areas, turning them into favorable communication messages for himself and for his own agenda wish list.
7. Roger Ailes, author of You Are The Message (he counseled George Bush in his first successful presidential run but did not his second, as Bush's advisors didn't feel they needed any help until it was too late; again, they were very wrong). Ailes understands public role playing very well. He also coached Ronald Reagan in his successful debate with Walter Mondale. His book title sums its: You are the message. His key emphasis is on how to handle the press while they're trying to hang you.
8. Robert L. Dilenschneider, author of A Briefing for Leaders: Communication as the Ultimate Exercise of Power: briefing method model. He gives us our three most important quotes:
"Communications as the Ultimate Exercise of Power"
"Communications as a problem solving discipline"
"No Teflon, even for the formidable."
9. Or, as Ben Padrow used to say, "You cannot not communicate."
10. The model of event horizons, looking at both near term and far term horizons of events that will affect the organization, whether positive or negative, and communicate accordingly, based on what is called "futures research."
11. The constituent engagement model. of congresspersons who return every weekend (an excellent example is, I believe, Wisconsin, where the constant repeated return and mingling with constitutes enabled a Jewish Democrat in a Wasp Republican district to keep getting re-elected), as discussed by Edwin H. Friedman.
12. The "mastermind" model of Andrew Carnegie: discussed in detail in Napoleon Hill's books Think and Grow Rich and Succeed and Grow Rich Through Persuasion, and in the Hill book with W. Clement Stone: Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. The "mastermind" is the name for a collective group one always turns to for advice and counsel. With an office at 9 West 57th as well as at 261 Madison Avenue, in New York City, this is a function I used to provide executives. Indeed, the development of Presidents clubs is precisely to give guys at the top a sounding board among other Presidents, to speak off the record and get ideas for developing the kind of communications they need to be successful with their organizations in both internal and external communications. As posted (6-16-00) on the SpiritualityRx.com web page, we read "We need to a faith community of friends to inspire, challenge, tease, and call us to be all we can be without unduly embarrassing us for being where we are now."
13. FAQ book model for use by key spokesperpsons, as they prepare for both formal interviews (planned), and informal (all non-planned situations in which they are asked questions).
16. The perfect "presentation of self in everyday life" (Goffman's term and book title) of Michael Jordan. Knowing he would be seen mostly in news shots going to and from whatever arena in which he was playing, he always made sure he was wearing his best suits. He knew his perception depended upon it and he knew the success of his many ventures, especially advertising of products, depended upon it as well. .
17. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (book title) of Stephen Covey (which spent 250 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and which is still a best seller), proposes focusing oneªs communications on oneªs circle of influence (things/people one can influence) rather than oneªs circle of concern (things one can do little about). The 7 habits are essentially about obtaining self-knowledge and control if one is to effectively deal with others. Called common sense by others, Covey says Whatªs common sense just isnªt common practice.
18. Use King Arthurªs Knights of the Round Table approach: an internal approach to gathering the leading heads without suggesting any one is the head or inferior to another.
19. Use Katherine Grahamªs Nights of the Round Table approach: gathering those of different mind sets, parties, ideologies, societal sector (private/corporate, public/governmnet) around a round table holding 12, in her home, and, as publishers of the Washington Post, doing so to break down gthe barriers of formality and self-importance, as she tried to provide an open communications channels among those around the table, to make communication less transient and more anchored.
Adapting the above to create Corporate Models
20. Always remembering Peter L. Bergerªs famous dictim about adaptation: Reality is Áof course,ª‹‹‹until further notice.
21. Corporate Tradition Book or booklet (and possibly also a Video/DVD). Offer them for sale on the web site. Before all voices are silenced by age and death, prepare a set of questions that play to the positives of the organization's tradition/values/myths, and ask them of significant past and current leaders. Create an "US" approach, as opposed to an "us vs. them" approach. Include positive things said over the years by all of the media, including those positive things said before from those who are now critical.
22. Get 3rd party spear carriers/water carriers: prominent businesspersons or government officials, columns or lead stories in local/national/world newspapers and magazines.
23. "Damage Control Rapid Responses" to events, controlled and uncontrolled, meeting lies or innuendoes with facts, and, where errors have been committed, acknowledgement coupled with steps taken to correct and steps to take to prevent repetition.
(1) The lies can't be allowed to go unchallenged. Any time a falsehood is made a response with the fact is then added to wherever you keep them: web site, press releases, etc.
(2) Yet you don't want to get defensive.
(3) In terms of particular chief executives who are targeted, pose it as a non-issue; not even mentioned; not honoring it with any kind of statement. Sticking strictly to the falsehood countered by fact approach. No defense of the traditional kind, either in terms of position, race, religion, etc. (unless absolutely necessary, although the approach is to do all that is possible to avoid having to do so.
24. Responding to the reality that most organizations have crises (from Robert Landauer, The Oregonian, 11-14-01, p. B7:
(1) Donªt deny: denial of a problem is the most rfrequent mistake, an often the biggest. Cover-ups donªt last. Press and public react angrily to that form of deceit.
(2) Donªt lie: you may never regain the public-s faith if you do.
(3) Donªt withhold nor give too much too soon: reveal information as a crisis emerges. Its OK to withhold comment until the pucture clears and responses are decided. A bunker mentaility ¯ refusing to communicate -- invariably works to your disadvantage.
(4) Donªt react slowly: react fast. Gossip, rumor, misinforatmion and specutlation travel farther, faster and in more ways than ever before. The thrive when not blunted by official news. Responses delivered ive by rankning officials carry mor weight thatn press releases do.
(5) Donªt play the blame game: place blame where it belongs. Be first to say youªre wrong when you are. Itªs the policy most likely to earn trust or at lest reduce hostility.
25. Hold backgrounders for media representatives who are straight with the facts and information. Donªt let rumors or suspicions build.
26. Use selected printed materials: (1) "Tradition Book" and video/DVD to tell the story of the organization, accomplishments and glory and significance. ; (2) "Tail Gate Guide" for use by fans to celebrate, with advertisers limited to those with products, services, stations, or publications that could be used at a tail gate party.
27. Develop materials for key members of the organization likely to be quizzed by the media: (1) an FAQ book, and (2) a "How to deal with the media" pamphlet.
28. Use the "Work Out" method of GE to get the message to all in the organization, top to bottom: three books to look at: one on Jack Welch, one on GE, one on using the work out method.
29. Create a weekly audio or video tape subscription service, which would be mailed to fans each week, and which include both commentary and highlights of the game, as well as the selected Viking Communication Strategy message of the week.
30. Take advantage of the INTERNET with an interactive, flexibly changing web page:
(1) Use the 1-2-3-4 knock out punch of reach of audience/exposure; richness of content (quantity and quality); affiliation for loyalty, and navigational control/influence (which is changing things faster than we can sometimes comprehend, so why not create a parade rather than follow someone else's), with interaction in ways that are still being explored and discovered.
(2) In other words: Exploit the differences in communications channels by adapting to each accordingly: the far-reach-here-for-a-moment-and-gone-just-as-fast-TV and radio; sound-bite and highlight needs of TV, the extended debate needs of talk radio, the reach and information richness of local newspapers, the vast reach and lesser richness content format of national print media, the excitable point needs of columnists (take the offensive and turn controversies into positives, and the Internet, as noted above, which brings three new dimensions/dynamics to the communications strategy party: (1) transparency (all is open), (2) speed (blur), and (3) the 1-2-3-4 knock out punch noted above of reach, richness, affiliation, and navigation.
(3) Have post-event interviews in live web-cast format, where callers can cal in to talk about the event, the industry/activity/sport, or other format/purpose to be determined.
(4) Web Stream news conferences and game highlight on the web site, so media, fans, etc., can hear from the organization's key people, and talk about subjects close to their heart without having to be edited to a too short piece or edited by media where the message is considerably different from the unedited version.
(5) Maintain an updated pamphlet, either print or Email (latter is quicker, cheaper, easier) to provide any news outlet that asks or fans who write in.
(6) The Web page can also create the "perfect" periodic, easily changeable pamphlet to reflect the Communications Strategy approach being followed at the moment, as well as enable the providing of "examples" of what is undermining and sabotaging the otherwise fine relationship between the organization and the people.
(7) Use the medium to provide rapid responses to negatives news/columns about the organization: Use parallel columns. In the column to the left = falsehoods. Column to the right = the facts, citing the source for each. Archival research would be prominently displayed, and added to as new material is developed. When this is a sensitive issue, hold an on-line contest to see which visitor can find the most blatant and obviously false statements, and award event tickets as prizes.
(8) Develop an FAQ list, updated regularly on the Internet site.
(9) Have a chat room on the site. Chat rooms are what keep AOL the largest and keeps customers from switching. Chat rooms create repeat visitors, called stickiness.
(10) Use an intranet for the organization and its consultants, on which can be placed schedules, commentaries, favorable media pieces, and provide navigational links to appropriate information, sports, shopping, etc. sources (see layout of www.ceoexpress.com
(11) Develop streaming on the Internet site of key communications pieces.
(12) Use an extranet for vendors, suppliers, and the media
31. Establish on-line communities:
(1) One such entity is Neighborhoods Online, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Civic Values. Run by old associate of mine, Ed Schwartz. Web address is http://libertynet.org/community/phila/natl.html
(2) Ed has also written a book called Net Activism: How Citizens Use the Internet. He writes about how to use the Internet to return political power to the grassroots. You can do the same with your project.
(3) Net Gain : Expanding Markets Through Virtual Communities: Hagel and Armstrong make the case that business success in the very near future will depend on using the Internet to build not just relationships, but communities. They also discuss how noncommercial Web communities could use content, chat, andbulletin boards to promote e-commerce. In our case, it is to promote acceptance of a new stadium
(4) Hosting Web Communities: Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty, and Maintaining A Competitive Edge: Figallo shows the advantages businesses can gain from creating or supporting online communities, plus what types of expectations are unrealistic. He believes, for example, that creating online communities is not a reasonable way to directly boost sales or provide a highly profitable income stream. He does show, however, that it can offer major corporate advantages in the same way that good public relations or other indirect marketing activities do, which, again, is what we are advocating here for the 49ers.
When conflicts arise, internally or externally, use one or more frameworks of conflict resolution
[These response frameworks are to be used deliberately for advance planning, as well as for immediate rapid responses needed in crisis or for the unexpected. These 14, in turn, are part of a larger piece by Jessen, both available upon request.]
8 MACRO level models
32. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #1: Masada: doomed to failure as it was loveless, so one side committed group suicide before the other side could kill them.
33. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #2: West Germany's evangelical academies: love based communications leading to creating West Germany and later reunifying with East Germany.
34. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #3: the universal Helsinki Accords: upholding basic human rights, the Achillesª heel of the totalitarian state.
35. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #4: Visions, Strategies, and Realities of/for the Future: a love based approach to end apartheid in South Africa in order to achieve elections based on majority rule.
36. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #5: Middle East Oslo Accords: doomed to failure, as love less, based on hatred and broken promises; on its way to being a "Masada"
37. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #6: The Politics of Love, of Michael Cassidy.
38. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #7: the third track diplomacy contributions and structures of the Roman Catholic Church, especially in Mozambique, Central and South America, and South Korea
39. Macro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #8: putting top representatives of conflicting organizations in the anchoring environment of a round table, as was used by Katherine Graham, Publisher of The Washington Post, to foster open communications where suspicioned communications existed before.
8 MICRO level models
40. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #1: Movement toward collaboration, compiled by Peter Jessen, based on Ken Thomas.
41. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #2: empower people to be responsible model of Mary Pipher.
42. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #3: keep people geared to overcome adversity through the CO2RE and LEADing formulas of Paul Stoltz.
43. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #4: Managing conflict for individual and team success, by Sam Imperati and JoAnn Houck.
44. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #5: Serve others, as admonished by both Jesus and the Buddha. Albert Schweitzer: I donª know what you will do in life, but I do know you wonªt be happy until you learn to serve.
45. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #6: Love each other, as admonished by both Jesus and the Buddha. Hannah Arendt says the human condition requires forgiving others, as words and deeds are irreversible, and keeping promises, as that keeps chaos at bay.
46. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #7: Lists/Recipes for empowering both sides to achieve success, compiled by Peter J. Jessen. As human beings have no instincts for social interaction (Berger's phrase), they "create instinct substitutes" (Gehlen's phrase). They create habits. These habits are said to follow the recipes needed for success. People seek "recipe knowledge" (Schutz's phrase). Model #5 contains over 30 pages of lists/recipes for success for all occasions, macro and micro.
47. Micro Conflict Resolution/Communication model #8: putting top conflicting members of the same organization together in an anchoring environment of a round table, as was used by King Author for his Knights of the Round Table, to get team members not acting as as a team to act as a team again.