Readers: Students have told me a favorite “PR Nation” post is one written for Valentine’s Day in 2013. I’m continuing a tradition of updating and re-posting it each year. 🙂
“When a person brings flowers to a date, that’s good public relations.”
When finding ways to define public relations, we can agree that good PR strategies seek to accomplish one of three responses: to create opinions, to reinforce opinions, or to change opinions. Well, isn’t that what dating and romance is all about, too?
Consider matchmaking and online dating, for example. Whether it’s on Tinder, Match.com or OKCupid, people create profiles — similar to the PR profession’s backgrounders — to describe their personal and/or professional status. When one senses potential romance, he or she contacts the other, usually with a clever, enticing note — in effect, a pitch letter. If the pitch works, a first meeting takes place at a mutually agreed-upon location. These early get-togethers involve planning significant events for which schedules are coordinated, clothing is selected, and grooming is completed so the presentations (dates) go well.
As the relationship forms, networking begins, often with friends first and then with family. Each action is designed to create positive opinions among the couple’s targeted publics and influencers. The following weeks and months contain acts of caring and kindness, sharing of new experiences, and efforts to compromise when necessary. Such actions will yield results, both quantitative and qualitative. As in social media, there will be likes, shares, interaction, feedback, and analytics. This, just like PR, is done to reinforce positive attitudes.
Eventually, a crisis may occur. Someone says or does something wrong or hurtful, and then an all-out effort is made to change negative opinions. Various reputation management tools must be used if there’s any chance of success. This often includes apologies and flowers. After the crisis has passed, favorable behaviors need to be sustained because, as we know, good PR is more than just clever words or strong appearances. Maintaining consent from your publics — or your partner — must be supported by consistent, positive performance.
So as another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, remember: When your date brings you flowers or a gift, that’s good public relations. And, more importantly, if your date brings flowers for your mother, that’s exceptional PR. Your thoughts?