One of the most challenging things is trying to figure out exactly where public affairs should be headed. Recently, a friend on FaceBook posted a message: Wondering who is at the helm of the HMS Public Affairs. The reference was not to a person, but rather the concept. In other words, what direction is public affairs taking in regards to what we do.
For one thing, public affairs needs to get on a more strategic course and get out of the tactical focus. Use of social media to engage in indirect influence and awareness of brand is a good start. I recently visited some bases where people are starting to take a more strategic view of their outreach programs and using the new SM tools to their advantage. In these times of lean resources, leveraging social media is a great way to effect the communication sphere. It was interesting to see how one base was very proactive and willing to try new things and another base was rooted in the past. You could see the difference not only in the office, but even in the people themselves. One office had the old guard way of doing PA, some what reactive to what would happen, the other had a blended capability which had a focus on advertising the wing’s mission and getting the word out before things happen.
The earlier post by David Sparks talks about advice, I think the advice here is go out on a limb, try something new, change the focus of the program and execute it. The important thing is to go back and evaluate what was done to see if it was effective and then re-adjust as needed. To do nothing and leave it as it always has been, is not the way to go.