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How do you influence perception so that it becomes reality?

Although the 2010 mid-term elections are long over, Wednesday, Jan. 20, marked one of the first milestones in the outcome of those elections: the Republican-led House voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Though many view it as a largely symbolic vote, for many voters, it makes good on an election promise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Republicans believe they succeeded in the mid-term elections in portraying healthcare reform as an over-reliance on big-government solutions. With the vote, Republicans have succeeded in creating a perception about the new law. Yesterday’s vote is the first step (on what promises to be a long road) in turning that perception into a possible new reality.
Influence perception, versus reality.

In our firm’s extensive work with healthcare organizations, we work to establish or change perceptions. Helping an audience to see, hear or experience an issue in a new or different way is the essence of public relations.It’s all about helping to shape perceptions.

To achieve their goals, our healthcare clients understand it’s important to be perceived in a particular way. Many of them have legislative agendas. Regardless of the specifics, they look to public relations as a key strategy in reaching their goals. By telling their stories through traditional and social media, our clients understand that the stakeholders they hope to reach – whether they are lawmakers, investors, customers, prospects, employees or government officials – can be reached, engaged and mobilized to support their efforts.

Just as we saw in the run-up to the passage of healthcare reform, we’ll continue to hear more messages and see more demonstrations about why the new law is either good or bad policy, depending on which organization is telling the story.

Regardless of your view on reform, what do you think are effective communications and public relations strategies to create the perception you want when it comes to healthcare reform? Social media has exploded, and the power of the media is great. How do you bring those together to advance your goals and agenda? I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

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