The early days of a PR program exude excitement about what’s possible. Bold, creative ideas—developing surveys, starting podcasts, launching multi-pronged influencer campaigns—fill the V2 air. As they should: while PR program success is evaluated by metrics and KPIs that are grounded in a clearly communicated set of strategic goals and objectives, momentum is fueled by out-of-the-box thinking. Companies hire V2 to guard against stalled PR programs. We set Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs).
Assessing what BHAGs make sense requires PR teams to critically think about the organization’s strategic plan and translate those goals into PR milestones. What is the organization trying to do? Change its reputation, elbow out competition to emerge as the leader or create a new market category? The answer not only drives the direction of the PR program but helps teams zero in on what BHAGs to set. BHAGs have varying timetables for achievement based on what they are.
- An organization aiming to disrupt and create an entirely new market category might work toward having a cover, feature story in a leading outlet on this impending shift, or a segment on a highly coveted show to create excitement, buzz, and demand among key audiences.
- An emerging brand about to launch a new consumer product might set a BHAG to have the product covered or discussed on a national news or entertainment show or used by leading influencers on social.
So how do you put BHAGs to work?
While setting BHAGs isn’t groundbreaking for PR, teams often lose sight these goals as they inevitably get laser focused on what the next big initiative might be in the business, or the day-to-day of issues management, thought leadership pitching, product launches, events, and news that consume the day.
But remember, BHAGs aren’t something that the team can focus on once – with one pitch, one event or one product launch. They need to be curated and cultivated over months, quarters, and even years to achieve. It’s about building momentum and working towards that goal, and it requires a multi-pronged approach that includes building relationships with key reporters and influencers, packaging news and use cases, and showcasing success and proof points that underscore the message you are trying to covey.
By clearly outlining and communicating BHAGs to the team at the start of program planning, and then building in reporting mechanisms to regularly discuss progress and brainstorm next steps, PR teams can ensure that they are delivering the big wins for the business and not just chipping away at incremental metric gains.