By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Effective public relations (PR) begins with good planning. How best to communicate with and positively influence your market depends on many factors including what your audience is thinking or doing now and what you want them to think or do. In wartime, there’s good and bad news when it comes to communicating with your publics.

The bad news is that we’re all brooding about and preoccupied with the war. The good news is, we all want the best for the world, no matter what end of the political or philosophical spectrum we’re on. Somewhere in between that good and bad news lies the fact that we’re all in this together, and therefore, no industry, business or person will escape the impacts of war and terrorism.

This is where planning comes into play. Every business will feel different ripple effects from the war. The key is to start thinking about the range of impacts war might have on your business. Here are some things to consider: could your business experience reduced employee productivity or customer interest as a result of travel delays, emotional distraction, or military duty? Will a slowdown in nationwide delivery services affect your product or service delivery? Are your products and services more or less desirable in wartime? If the battles are protracted, how long can your business sustain itself without cutting budgets, services or staffing? Will the war reduce or change your current customer base and if so, do you need to reach out to a new group of potential customers?

So think of the right questions, answer them as best you can, and develop some creative and positive ways to address the issues facing your business, from both a communications and an operations standpoint. Finally, communicate any resulting service changes to your primary publics.

The video game industry has already found its niche in wartimes. CNN/Money’s Chris Morris reported on March 25 that military-themed video games have been on Top Ten selling lists for months now and their sales have increased since the war in Iraq began. The industry has done a great job publicizing this, and is even developing new versions and games to address the demand.

Making your own battle plan in the midst of wartime will help you determine what you need to do, if anything, to keep your business afloat and communicate appropriately with your publics.

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