Book review: Unleashing the power of PR

“I believe that PR is as much a science as it is art and I further believe that the science upon which effective public relations can be based actually enhances the creative process, by focusing creative resources on the most compelling and credible messages as proven through research,” says Mark Weiner in his new book “Unleashing the Power of PR: A contrarian’s guide to marketing and communication (IABC/Jossey Bass, 2006).

Weiner is president of Delahaye, a provider of PR research, analysis, and consulting.

The difference between unenlightened and enlightened PR program evaluation, he says, is the difference between a report card and a tutor. Evaluation helps decision makers link PR results to objectives. Evaluation provides opportunities for continual improvement. Evaluation constructs a framework around which future PR plans can be built.

A successful evaluation will tell you how your PR program performed against objectives and in light of your strategy and tactics. But better still is the type of evaluation that tells you more than just what happened: it tells you why it happened, if it will continue, and what should be done about it.

In Part One Weiner provides an overview of the changing landscape of marketing and corporate communication. Part Two discusses using research to strengthen public relations. Part Three walks you through the steps to transforming a PR program.

“I would argue that refusal to set specific goals is a form of malpractice,” he says, “especially when you consider the affordable new tools at hand, the newfound recognition and still huge upside for PR, and the increasing scope of activities for which PR people are now held responsible.”

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