We let the facts do the talking.

Specify a public, not ‘the public’

Part 2

 In this part, I will cast light on stakeholder communication

Communicating to a public is science, not an art. To select a public, firstly identify all the stakeholders in a client’s organisation that may include customers, constituents, opponents, competitors, consumer groups, employees, and shareholders. In effect, they can be any group that influences or is influenced by the actions of the client’s organisation. Stakeholders are the potential publics.

From these groups, you will select one to be the target public of your campaign. You must consider all the associates concerned when selecting your target public or risk omitting the one public that could be most easily influenced or that could do the most to help meet your client’s organisation objectives.

When considering potential publics or stakeholders, do not forget those groups we call latent publics. Publics can be divided into three general categories. They are active publics, passive publics, and latent publics. Active publics are already taking action to either support or oppose your client’s organisational objectives. Active publics are the ones that we as public relations practitioners think of first. However, active publics are usually already committed to a course of action and are, therefore, difficult to influence. Active supporters are either helping your client, and you waste resources trying to changing them, or they are already taking action against your client and may have strong opinions that are impossible to change- regardless of the creativity of the public relations sources. Passive publics in my humble opinion are groups that simply do not care about your client’s organisational objectives; regardless of the information you give them, they will not act. Again, it is a waste of your client’s resources to support a public relations campaign directed to a passive public. Latent publics are these groups who, if given a piece of information can be converted to active supporters or opponents of your client’s organisational objective. These groups who would act if properly motivated, are the best publics for most campaigns.


Ahmed Malik is Account Manager at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |