Honesty. My mother’s words , borrowed from Sir Walter Scott, ring in my ears to this day, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” When I was a little girl, I loved the imagery of the intricacies of the spider web and fully understood the message. Honesty matters, a lot.
When it comes to corporate failures or scandals, dishonesty is a common thread. Brand building begins with an honest assessment of a company’s strengths and vulnerabilities. Effective message development depends not only on identifying the key benefits your company brings to the market, but requires a candid assessment of internal operations and external influences in the marketplace. A good brand advisor or public relations consultant will be willing to flag shortcomings and opportunities for improvement.
When a worst- case scenario strikes, the PR team is called in to help tidy the image, and inevitably the “truth issue” comes up. Even the best PR strategy in the world cannot overcome damage that involved deceit, lies or dishonesty without a sincere corporate commitment to transparency and honesty moving forward.
Civility . While sarcasm and ridicule may grab headlines, they also alienate, and in the long run, risk doing more harm than good. Restraint, discretion and respect for your audience are cornerstones of smart PR strategies. The old saying that “any press is good press” is just not true. If you come across a “brand guru” who encourages publicity stunts, outrageous claims or other behaviors designed to shock your audience, run the other way. Take the high road. Be kind, always.
Commitment. My mother assured me that any job worth doing was worth doing right. Her formula for success included planning, meticulous attention to detail and follow through. It’s simple, but remarkably effective. And so it goes in the business world . Hastily arranged or random PR efforts may spike immediate results, but for the long-term, a measured, strategic plan and execution will win.
A successful public relations strategy relies on an “all-in”, inside-out commitment to providing customers with a pleasant experience that enhances the value of the service or product provided. You can’t spin sincerity.
Gratitude. A simple “thank you” goes a long way, especially when delivered by hand-written note. Appreciation is an essential element of a customer-focused brand culture; everyone wants to feel appreciated. And, it must be authentic. A company’s customer service team is on the front lines of their PR and branding efforts. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you treat people. Don’t just thank your clients. Respect them with excellent service.
Big thanks to my mother for guiding me with a steady stream of life lessons that have helped me in countless ways, and for teaching me that everything matters.