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Articles / practice / Image of a Region Among the Public: Reality and Prospects
14 April 2010
Image of a Region Among the Public: Reality and Prospects

 

 
Image formation is not an easy task. The term “image”includes many components. It's not a matter of one month and not even one year. Not surprisingly, image formation of celebrities involves hard work of highly professional specialists.
The term “image”means an attractive image that contributes to the goals. It can be used not only for celebrities, products, companies but also, for example, for cities, regions and countries.

Aims of image formation for regions may differ. "
Each region, city, country or group of countries have their aims: attracting investment, tourist attraction, an increase or decrease the number of immigrants, attracting high-level professionals, etc.", said CEO of Publicity Creating, Vice-President of Ukrainian PR-Alliance - Valeriy Kureiko.
These objectives can be met, but require development and implementation of appropriate strategies, an integral part of which is PR-communication program.
"
While creating a communications program for the region, we need to define goals and objectives, the period and target audience of a campaign. Use a variety of channels, forms of communication. First of all, it is important to develop key message - that is, the main message across that you want to convey to the audience. This message depends on the "positioning" of the region, as they should inform about main USP ," says ValeriyKureiko.That means that PR-communications collaborate with marketing of the region.

It is important that at the initial stage of defining the unique advantages of the region were involved in PR-professionals with sufficient experience of working with diverse audiences. They will help decide which areas should be included in a communication programs to promote the region in media.

"Trends are mass media relations. Conducting press tours, round tables, press releases writing and distribution, writing of scenarios and articles —are essential elements of such campaign, which must be conducted continuously. As a result, city or region will be represented in media (quantitatively and qualitatively). And consequently, media will form a certain image of the city or region ", says the expert.
 
At the planning stage it is very important to identify the target audience, which will receive key message: "Depending on objectives, communication program includes instruments that affect the target audience. For example, to attract tourists, as a rule, cooperation takes place with travel agencies, while communication is carried out for consumers (tourists). We watch advertisements on TV and newspaper articles about Turkey and Egypt because they need tourists from Russia and Ukraine. This campaign is carried out for years. Target forms and methods of communication are planned for other audiences - for example, investors, officials, sectoral organizations, etc. " shared with experience Valeriy Kureiko.
The expert believes that by geography
means can be identified four groups of the public, with whom we should communicate to create image of a region.
 
Firstly, these are citizens of a city (region). The importance of this category shows a recent example - the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Thus, worldwide were broadcasted not only the Olympic Games, but the protest of local residents against costs of the country and city for these competitions.
Secondly, we must consider an audience across a country in order to inform, and build ownership of problems and needs of a region in attracting investment. The region can not be attractive to foreigners, if there is a bad reputation among inhabitants of other regions of a country.
The next group
of target audience - a nearest foreign countries bordering region and country. This is understandable - good opinion and attitude of neighbors are always important.
 
And, finally, audience may include any countries of interest, such as potential tourists, investors, partners in economic and political projects, etc.
The impact will increase or decrease on these four groups, depending on objectives of a region.
 
Regarding target audiences, formed by other means, they are determined on the basis of marketing of a region, positioning the city or region. For some, a target audience includes major investors and business community, for others - international and cultural organizations. Media and the central authorities will be among prior target audience in any case.
 
Who better to entrust implementation of such project? In many countries planning and implementation of such program are done by local agencies, as well as local well-known experts in the field of communications. The experience of these countries shows efficiency of such system. Probably, Ukraine should introduce the practice of attracting specialized organizations with experience in strategic communications. Involvement of experts ensures professional planning and implementation of a campaign, report and analysis of results.
 
According to Valeriy Kureiko, "Regional authorities are often tempted to entrust promotion and communication to their subordinates. But often neither deputy, nor press secretaries do not have the necessary qualifications, and can not cope with so much work. So here is the most effective combination scheme: a strategy planning should be made by consultants, while implementation can be shared between the external structure (a specialized PR agency or consulting firm) and employees of authorities. More global, responsible, labor-intensive parts of campaign need to be outsourced, and others, including overall coordination and control - to direct to internal departments of an authority. It is worth to train staff in the special training before the start of PR-campaign.
Of course, apart from the PR-agency, which acts as the main contractor for such project, it is important to engage other specialized structures - in the first place, think tanks, which will monitor and analyze media, conduct surveys and public opinion research.