Readers: Many of my students have told me their favorite post here is titled “PR is for lovers” which I wrote for Valentine’s Day three years ago. I’ve updated it slightly for 2016. Enjoy!
“When a person brings flowers to a date, that’s good public relations.”
As we attempt to define public relations, we can agree that good PR strategies seek to accomplish one of three responses: to create attitudes, to reinforce attitudes, and to change attitudes. Well, isn’t that what dating is all about, too?
Consider matchmaking, set-ups and online dating, for example. People create profiles–similar to a PR practitioners’ backgrounders–to describe their personal and professional status. When one spots a potential match he or she contacts the other, usually with a clever, enticing online note–in effect, a pitch. If the pitch works, a first meeting may take place at a mutually selected venue. These early get-togethers will involve planning the event 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 will 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 wrong or hurtful, and now an all-out effort is made to change negative attitudes. This may include giving flowers plus a number of “I’m sorrys.” Various reputation management tools must be used 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 consent from your publics must be supported by consistent, positive performance.
So on this Valentine’s Day, remember that when your date brings you flowers, that’s good PR. If your date also brings flowers for your mother, that’s even better PR! Your thoughts?