Public opinion and persuasion are key factors involved with PR. A public relations professional should be able to understand the public’s opinion of different subjects, especially when their client is involved; and a professional should be able to persuade the public opinion, especially when their client is involved.

 

 “One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda.” -Douglas MacArthur

 

From the Textbook “Public Relations: strategies and tactics” by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glenn T. Cameron.

Public opinion is the sum of individual opinions on an issue affecting those individuals. Opinion leaders are people that are knowledgeable and articulate about certain issues. These people may be highly interested in the subject, be better informed than the average consumer, be early adopters of a new idea, or avid consumers of mass media. They usually have a college degree, are active in the community, earn a relatively high income, and are regularly informed on the news.

Persuasion is used to change negative opinions or conserve positive opinions. Factors of persuasion include:

  • Audience analysis
  • Source credibility
  • Clarity of message
  • Timing
  • Audience participation
  • Persuasive Speaking

Sometimes there just aren’t ways to effectively deliver the desired message. There are many times when limitations in the communication process hinder a firm’s ability to reach the eyes, ears, minds, and perceptions of the target audience. Some of these limitations are lack of message penetration, competing messages, self-selection, and self-perception. There will be times when one will not be able to change the minds of certain individuals. It is important, in my eyes, for the company to focus on the percentage of people that are undecided on an issue or willing to listen, instead of the hardheaded individuals or groups that will most likely never change their minds.

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