Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In A World of Puppies and Kittens

There I've got your attention.


I learned a great deal when I left broadcasting in the mid 80s to venture into the world of public relations and marketing. I quickly learned that Beef was not what's for dinner in many households and that healthy eating messages weren't going to change people's habits much. I learned that consumers generally think farmers are good, honest people and the products they produce are for the most part healthy.  I learned that many people dream of striking it rich through gaming and never give up but do give up millions in the quest. I learned that consumers generally do not trust big business and their government.  I also learned that advertisers and marketers will never completely reach their target audience because the target constantly moves and changes its face. I also learned how important one word could be.

I remember a time when companies separated marketing functions from public relations and most of the time had separate agencies doing the work without having contact with each other. Bizarre. Thankfully, some of that has changed in the last 20 years.  Some say that social media is changing the face of public relations and for a PR practitioner to survive and be successful, a focus on social media is imperative. I think the problem is much more basic than that.

I'm not going to go in to a long tirade here on the subject.  However, it is my belief that somewhere along the road oft traveled, the word “relations” was dropped or misplaced.  We used to hear these terms:  media relations, public relations, customer relations, employee relations etc.  When the industry started using abbreviations like PR and MR I think they managed to forget the most important word in the phrase: relations. 

I used to speak to college groups about my experiences, offered suggestions and often talked about that very word.  Young students, wide eyed and idealistic had all sorts to grand ideas on how they planned to change things once they obtained that parchment to hang on the wall and ventured into the world.  I doubt if my opinion changed very many of them. But, I told them that they should never forget or misplace the word “relations” and that it would be the single most import word to ever impact their career.  Without a focus on relationships, success can never be obtained. It's true in our personal lives. It's true in our business lives and it's certainly true in social media.

So, I say to a world that loves puppies and a kittens, remember you need have to have a relationship with that big clumsy elephant in the room or you might get stepped on.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT article Jerry! You hit a home run with this one. Social media or old school PR, you are 100% correct. If you don't establish a relationship with clients, consumers, or your own team, even your greatest idea is dead in the water!

    -Derek

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