It's a basic principle in public relations, but it can be interpreted and applied in so many ways.
At Thursday's Puget Sound PRSA Program on Communications and Diversity, our panel discussed understanding and overcoming social, cultural and language barriers to effectively and efficiently deliver messages.
The one piece of advice they all shared: Know your audience-- really KNOW your audience.
- Read the ethnic or specialty publications you're pitching if you can.
- Build a relationship with those publications by, not only sending news releases and pitching, but by purchasing ads when your budget allows.
- Get to know who the community views as leaders. Don't just look to the five or six mainstream ethnic leaders you hear about in the media all the time.
- Recognize the best ways to gain entry into a community. If you haven't built a relationship with a community, partner with groups the community trusts for your initial entry.
- Really take time to build relationships. Don't just pop in and out of a community when they have something you need.
- Work with public affairs specialists who know the community and can help you communicate effectively with them.
- Make a long-term commitment to building new relationships. If your budget only allows you to translate a news release or two, work to increase efforts in the future. It makes no sense to reach out to a non-English speaking community with one news release in their language then have no one available to answer questions if they try to follow up with your organization.
- Panelist Vivian Phillips, (pictured above right), owner of her own PR and publicity consulting firm, Family Business, and recipient of awards for her dedication to community service and work toward racial harmony.
- Panelist Tim Wang (pictured above center), founder and principal of T.D. Wang Advertising Group, LLC., a full-service marketing and advertising agency focused on assisting companies and organizations targeting the Asian and Asian-American populations of the Puget Sound region.
- Panelist Rebecca Sears (pictured above left), who coordinates statewide consumer outreach and education efforts for Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office.
- Panelist Michael Marchand, the director of public affairs for The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), representing Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington) from the Seattle office.
- Puget Sound PRSA President David Blandford, with Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau, who moderated the program.
- Puget Sound PRSA Vice President of Programs, Tara Darrow, with Starbucks, who pulled together this excellent panel.
- The Seattle Times for providing an excellent venue.
Share examples of your best practices in our comments section!