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“When I think public relations, I think scandal!” said a woman I just met. I had told her I was part of the public relations team at Brocade. I actually laughed a little at the response. The role of PR isn’t just crisis management. It has always been more than that. PR actually began decades ago with the singular goal of influencing public opinion.
Public relations is a lot like dating. It’s better to have other people talk about how great you are, but you still want to look and sound your best. So you talk with your friends, your family and others who know you and hope that if they think you’re interesting and fun, they’ll introduce you to other people who are interesting and fun. The end goal may be the same, but the tools are certainly different. Thank you internet!
The days of the 24 hour news cycle are long gone thanks to social media. But at the end of the day, public relations is still about communication. Getting the right information to the right people, and possibly influencing opinion, with more listening and engagement, and less of a ‘listen to what I have to say’ attitude. Remember that date with the person that just wouldn’t stop talking about themselves? No one wants to hear that.
How else is dating like public relations? Awareness and research. Before people make a purchase, they research. Before you go out on that date, tell me you don’t Google the person. The truth is, before an individual contacts a sales person or visits a company website, most have already decided on their purchase. Chosen their brand and selected their widget. Decided if they will go out with you or not. Public relations is influencing certain audiences, whether it’s a reporter, analyst, blogger or customer.
What do you think when you hear the words Public Relations?