Planning: Audiences, Media and Networks
Digital has been painted both as the future and as a threat to the role of the public relations practitioner. However, digital tools provide techniques to enhance campaign planning and messaging for both on- and offline PR. This chapter provides new ways for the PR practitioner to plan and introduces some of the online tools available to facilitate this process.
Public relations as a profession arose with the industrial age and mass media. A founding father of the industry, Edward Bernays, is known as the pioneer of publicity; he used principles of the emerging discipline of psychology to help mould audience attitudes. Publicity is a one-way message process that mirrored the command-and-control structures that appeared in early mass production.
Many of Bernays' techniques would be familiar to the PR practitioner:
Bernays himself described his work:
This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas. (Heath 2004 p. 78)11
Bernays' planning, whilst taking into account psychological effects, had a limited insight into the consumer audience he was trying to reach because marketing research as we know it was in its infancy.
Public relations up until recently hadn't ...