Typically, when people think of PR practitioners they think “These people are going to scam me into getting my business” – and sometimes that is the case. However, there are several ways for a PR practitioner to persuade people through communication, in an ethical manner, to get the outcome they desire.
In my opinion, I think one of the most effective ways for practitioners to use persuasive communication is through audience analysis. In order to know what and how to sell, you need to know who you are selling to. If you are the PR rep for Justin Bieber’s newest fragrance, what age demographic do your commercials need to appeal to? What stores will that audience most likely shop in? What television channels will they most likely see commercials for the fragrance? If you show the commercial at 11am on a soap opera, then your chances of sales are not going to be very high, whereas if you air the commercial on ABC Family during Pretty Little Liars, then you will probably reach your desired audience.
Another aspect of effective persuasive communication is timing. Timing is everything. How effective would it be if Walmart sent out their annual holiday toy catalog in July? Kids would forget and/or changed their minds on what they want by the time Christmas rolled around. That is a situation in which you might wait for advertisement, however, it is different in situations like hollywood blockbusters. If you are watching tv and see a movie advertisement for the first time for a movie that is coming out that weekend, what will your thoughts be? Mine would definitely be, “Oh, they sure haven’t advertised that well, it must not be that good” – but – movies that come out in December that have been advertised since August will make you say “Wow – they really are trying to talk this movie up – it’s got to be good!” That is a situation in which you would promote early.
Both of these tactics are great ways for PR practitioners to effectively and ethically persuade an audience. So go ahead, give it a try!