Goals and Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

Many students struggle with the concepts in Public Relations planning regarding Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics (GOST).  As you begin with the RACE Formula consisting of Research, Action Planning, Communication/Implementation, and Evaluation…  GOST comes into play in the Action Planning section.  Now, everyone understands research, understands the importance of planning, implementing and even benchmarking during evaluation, but when it comes to describing HOW TO PLAN using a GOST outline…  many of the students stare at me like deer in headlights!

Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics are simply put a way to strategize a hierarchy of a plan.  Remember when you were asked to outline a chapter?  This is very much similar to this process.

How do you outline or what does an outline look like?  The Purdue Owl can help with this…  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/1/  or http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/544/03/.

Next, what is the difference between a goal vs. objective…  what is the difference between a strategy and tactic?  AND WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A SUB TACTIC??

According to the article (Goals, and Objectives, Strategies and Tactics written in 2006) at http://propr.ca/2006/goals-and-objectives-strategies-and-tactics/, the description can be described as the following BUT it is my professional argument though that they have the strategy confused with an objective.

Once you set the Goal, you create objectives that are SMART (another article for another day).  A SMART objective is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.  Being SMART with your objectives says how you plan to achieve your goal.  Who, what, when, and where.  The How comes through as you further outline this plan in strategies and tactics.

According to http://propr.ca/2006/goals-and-objectives-strategies-and-tactics/…  GOST are defined as…  (and remember, I BELIEVE they confuse Objective and Strategy!!)

  • Set a goal: the business outcome. What you want your communications to achieve.
  • Establish strategies: The broad approaches you are going to take in order to achieve the goal.
  • Define objectives for each strategy. Objectives are the measurable tasks that will be undertaken in order to realize the strategies.
  • Develop tactics – the tools that will be used in order to achieve the objectives.

Wilma used the example of World War II in order to illustrate the application of these concepts.

  • Goal: Win the war.
  • Strategy: Surround Germany to choke off the resources that fueled its military force.
  • Objective: Invade France. This is measurable. You’ll know if you’ve succeeded and to what degree.
  • Tactics: What will you use to do this? e.g. ships, planes, soldiers, etc.

In summary:

  • Goals = the broad outcomes
  • Strategies = the approaches you will take
  • Objectives = the measurable steps to achieve the strategies
  • Tactics = the tools you will use

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