Readers: A favorite blog post of my students was titled “PR is for lovers” which was written for Valentine’s Day two years ago. I’ve updated it slightly and am re-posting it. Enjoy!
“When a person brings flowers to a date, that’s good public relations.”
As we attempt to define public relations, we can agree on the premise that PR seeks to accomplish one of three responses: to create attitudes, to reinforce attitudes, and to change attitudes. And a comparison to dating and relationships works well.
For example, consider online dating. Two people create profiles–comparatively what PR practitioners call backgrounders–to describe their history and current personal and professional status. When one spots a potential match they contact the other, usually with a clever, enticing online note–in effect, a pitch letter. If the “pitch” works, a first meeting will take place at a mutually selected venue. One of the first get-togethers will involve event planning for which schedules are coordinated, clothing is selected, and grooming is completed so the presentation (date) goes exceptionally well. As the relationship takes root, networking begins, first with friends and then with family. All of these actions are designed to create positive attitudes among the couple’s various publics.
The following weeks and months contain acts of caring and kindness, sharing of new experiences, and a calculated effort to compromise. This, much like PR, is done to reinforce positive attitudes.
Eventually a crisis may occur. Someone says or does something they shouldn’t have, and now an all-out effort is made to change negative attitudes. This again may include flowers plus a significant number of “I’m sorrys.” Various crisis management tools must be employed if there’s any chance of success. After the crisis, good behaviors must be sustained because, as I tell my students, good PR is more than clever words or window dressing. Maintaining positive attitudes from your audience must be supported by consistent performance.
So as Valentine’s Day approaches, remember that when your date brings you flowers, that’s good PR. And if your date brings flowers for your mother, that’s outstanding PR! Your thoughts?