Duffey: concerns vary by US region

ATLANTA: PR firms planning campaigns across the country need to be aware of the divergence of concerns in various regions, according to Lee Duffey, president of Duffey Communications.

ATLANTA: PR firms planning campaigns across the country need to be aware of the divergence of concerns in various regions, according to Lee Duffey, president of Duffey Communications.

Duffey's firm has just completely a quarterly survey of attitudes that shows while Americans are very concerned about terrorism, other concerns vary depending on region.

That means PR campaigns that might resonate in one region could fail in another, he noted.

Working with RoperASW, Duffey in July polled 1,500 opinion leaders across the country.

Asked "what concerns you personally, the top answer in all regions was terrorism. Crime and lawlessness followed at number two in the Northeast and Midwest, but "having enough money to live right/pay bills was second in the South, while "quality of public school education was second in the West.

"Relations with foreign countries was third in the East, but ranked far lower everywhere else. "Sentiments relating to 9/11 are much stronger in the Northeast, Duffey said. "The healing process in this country is in different stages."

That means campaigns emphasizing patriotism will play well in the East, he said. It also means the type of in-your-face PR and advertising popular in the tech world two years ago won't work in the East today.

The South seems most concerned about the recession, Duffey said. Unemployment ranked fourth there, higher than in other regions. The rising cost of healthcare also ranked highest in the South. With economic concerns high, the South is not a good region to test programs revolving around high-cost items or luxury goods, Duffey contended.

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