By: Rachel Schultz
“A potential friend (connection), is only a hello away” – Paul Liebau, Canadian Best-Selling Author
I remember when I was a sophomore in college, there was this tall, dark-haired man who visited my track practices. Drew was a 32-year-old man who had an attention-getting smile. After many random appearances, I began to talk to Drew. I learned that he graduated from the same program I am currently enrolled in, and became a two time All-American in track and field, all while raising two kids.
A year passed and the regular drop-by visits continued. I was always eager to say “hello” and be the first to greet Drew. As fellow public relation enthusiasts, this gave us the chance to network. Yes, even at a track practice.
Before we knew it, my junior year of college finally arrived. Public relations students at the University of Central Missouri are required to complete at least one internship before graduation. Drew was already familiar with this process. One of our typical chats resulted in me landing an interview for an internship the very next morning. This was perfect timing and Drew opening the door for me was all because I was the athlete who always greeted him with a hello.
Throughout my internship, I expanded my knowledge in many different areas. Specifically, the art of communication & networking (two areas where Drew truly excels). By attending large events and maintaining open conversations in the office, I have yet to regret a hello. The joy I find in greeting others is priceless and the benefits are endless. The biggest lesson I have learned throughout my coursework and experiences is to never be afraid to speak to anyone. There is a surprising power in hello.
The purpose of this blog is to showcase the importance of the word hello. As communication and business professionals, we should all be eager to greet others, strangers or friends. Hello serves as a greeting, not a conversation. Yes, it may lead to a conversation but what exactly is the harm in that?
Somehow it has become socially okay to ignore others when passing by. It seems we are now in an age where people would rather avoid eye contact, just because they may have to speak to someone…why?
There appears to be a major disconnect in thinking that simple things are unimportant things.
There are endless opportunities in this world and by simply being personable to others, it could truly open doors for you. Sure, we all get anxious sometimes. Sure, we all aren’t a “people person.” Sure, our mothers told us not to talk to strangers. However, didn’t our mothers also encourage us to step out of our comfort zones?
This simple word is not an overused and unimportant gesture. It is an often underappreciated greeting. Hello is a sign of respect. A sign of being friendly. A sign that you acknowledge someone’s existence.
If I told you saying “hello” could earn you your first dream job, would you do it?
The game has changed. Written material is on its way out and its replacement? Video content. With the numbers on its side, it’s no surprise people prefer this fresher form of content over its older, outdated counterpart. Keep reading to see why and how you can take advantage of this movement before it’s too late.
Why such a shift to video?
So what’s so great about video content? Well, the reasoning has to do with its ability to captivate an audience on two playing fields. Where text only has the ability to capture our attention via visuals and is forced to rely heavily on punctuation, word choice and visual cues to convey a message, video has the ability to appeal both visually and auditorily. Although adding sound and movement may seem like a minor shift, according to Medium, an average viewer is able to remember 95% of a message when it is watched, whereas only 10% when read. This huge margin of retention rate plays a significant role in this shift to video, but it isn’t the only reason.
According to a study shared on Wyzowl, the average attention span of an individual has significantly dropped. What was once 15 seconds has now dwindled down to a measly 8.25. Dwindling attention spans have been recognized already by ad agencies across the world causing 77% of them to view video ads as an essential business moving forward into this digital era. As new technologies emerge, the more options advertisers will have when it comes to video advertising.
How can I apply this?
Video campaigns aren’t going anywhere, so how can you effectively apply them to your business? There are many platforms where video campaigns can be utilized, but this list highlights the best of the best and goes over ways to truly optimize both your campaign and your viewer’s experience.
With 2.3 billion users per month and $19.7 billion in revenue in 2020, according to BusinessOfApps, Youtube is the front runner of this evolving marketing tactic. Both creating original content for YouTube and running video advertisements are effective ways to expand your consumer reach and brand awareness via video campaigns.
A. Original Content – Creating original content is already a difficult enough task for most, however, properly optimizing your content is another beast. Detailed below is a list of tactics you can use to take full advantage of what YouTube has to offer in regard to future video campaigns.
a. Promote Interaction – At the end of each video invoke the viewer to do something. A simple “Click here to learn more” hyperlink can do the trick and, depending on your goal, can be adapted to virtually anything. Notifications, such as cards, should also be used throughout the video to promote interaction as
well as hold viewers’ attention.
b. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals – One of the key components to optimizing your YouTube
videos is to have an eye-catching thumbnail. According to a study done by BestSeoCompanies, “88% of thumbnails
c. Promote Subscriptions – Obviously the more subscribers you obtain the better, so simply reminding viewers at the end of your videos to subscribe, and supplying a hyperlink to do so, creates the opportunity to increase your following.
d. Partner Up – Collaboration promotes a synergistic outcome for both parties and allows new horizons to be introduced via new viewers. Partnering with companies or individuals with similar personalities and audiences leads to the best outcomes for both parties.
B. Advertisements – YouTube offers a wide selection of ads for advertisers to choose from. Each ad choice depends on the budget and goal of the advertisement so it’s important to consider how you want to reach and impact viewers.
in 2020 were colorful and averaged more views than thumbnails with a more
minimalist color scheme.”
a. Skippable In-Stream Ads (TrueView Ads) – Because they can be skipped, it’s critical these ads grab and hold the viewer’s attention while still informing them about your product or service. These ads can vary in length from as short as 12 seconds to as long as 3 minutes. Payment for the ad only occurs if the viewer interacts with it or watches more than 30 seconds of it.
b. Un-skippable In-Stream Ads (Pre-Roll Ads) – Up to 15 seconds long, these advertisements offer a great way to quickly promote a brand. A call to action is important in order to generate more leads to a website. Bumper ads are another form of un-skippable in-stream ads that are six seconds long and could leave viewers interested in learning more.
c. Video Ad Sequencing – This more extensive type of ad allows advertisers to tell a story through a series of videos strung throughout one or multiple YouTube videos. This type of storytelling often leads to more engagement from the viewer. According to AdPresso, this type of advertisement has been shown to produce a 107% higher ad recall and a 134% higher purchase intent when compared to the other types of ads.
d. Youtube Ad Extensions – Ad extensions offer a call to action, usually in the form of a “Learn More” banner alongside a video ad. By implementing this, you offer a simple way for the viewer to learn more about your product or service. This type of ad generally leads to more interaction from viewers due to its simplicity.
analyzed from the most popular videosDespite its relatively new conception, TikTok has become one of the most regularly used and visited social networks of this generation. With over 1 billion active users per month, according to WallroomMedia, TikTok is also one of the fastest-growing social channels this decade. Brands on TikTok can easily blend in with every other creator on the app which, in turn, helps with brand exposure. Videos highlighting important elements of an organization’s product/service while remaining consistent with trends on TikTok are the most effective in creating exposure.
Similar to that of TikTok, Instagram Reels can be used to create a variety of content strategies. By properly applying Instagram Reels, a brand has the ability to diversify its Instagram posts, leading to not only more impressions, but new ones, expanding brand awareness. IG Reels can be used as a “bridge” to your Instagram profile, ultimately leading a potential consumer to your homepage.
With a video length limit of 2 minutes and 20 seconds and a daily user base of 166 million, according to Hootsuite, the proper application of Twitter’s video capability has the potential to greatly increase brand awareness. Twitter’s latest update also included the addition of “Fleets.” Similar to that of both TikTok and Instagram Reels, Fleets allows the user to post short videos that are then placed at the top of your follower’s feed. This addition can be used to highlight important dates, upcoming releases or sneak peeks in regards to your brand.
By: Derek Caswell
Over the past few years many of the normalacies in life have changed. Masks, for example, are now a normal fashion accessory, and having temperatures being taken as we enter buildings is now a part of our morning routines. However, there is one thing that has been significantly impacted due to the COVID outbreak, and that is where we do our work.
Many people across the world have had their daily lives changed. In many cases, the commute to work or school is now a simple walk to the kitchen to start our morning coffee! People have been working from home for about a year and half now and, from what I’ve seen online, have enjoyed the change.
However, work routines are starting to go back to what they were before. Thankfully, through vaccinations and the hard work being done in the medical field we seem to be moving back to the “normal” lifestyle.
People online are expressing their dislike of having to go back to working in an office. Many of them seem to really enjoy working remotely and having the luxury of not having to be in an office. Many Gen Z/Millennials who entered the workforce are making jokes about finding a new job after receiving the email about returning to the office. According to bloomberg.com, when surveying around 1,000 adults nearly 40% of them said they would consider resigning if they’re supervisors weren’t flexible about working remotely. When concentrating those results to include just Gen Z/Millennials, the number jumps to nearly 50%.
As someone who has gotten used to doing a lot of work from home, I definitely understand the struggle. There’s just something special about waking up ten minutes before a meeting and logging in while sipping your morning coffee on your couch. At first, it did feel a little weird to be inside one building all day instead of going to school/meeting in person. Sometimes I wonder why we even had to go in person in the first place. Need to have a group meeting? Great, let’s all hop on a call in 10 minutes and discuss everything. You can stay in your pajamas while watching the newest episode of “Love Island” from last night.
Now, I have to wake up earlier, think about an outfit, and make sure I have enough time to get to my destination. This all sounds ridiculous right? Who knew it would take a pandemic to make people appreciate the small things in life. But, eventually routines will return to normal again and we will have to go back to working in person full time. I’m curious as to how this time will affect “office” culture with what is or isn’t allowed. With graduation in just a couple of months, I’m excited to enter a world that is somewhere in between. It will make the first couple of years interesting to say the least.
By: Diana Eads
There are many reasons why a public relations career might appeal to adult learners. Some people may wonder what an adult learner is. An adult learner describes anyone who is not a student in the traditional sense. It could be someone who has decided to go back to school after being out for several years because they want to finally finish it up and earn a college degree. It could also be someone who has an opportunity to get a promotion at work, but first they must learn some new skills. There are many reasons why people decide to go back to school. Becoming an adult learner can be challenging at times, but it also has many advantages. By going back to school after you have had some time to experience life, you will likely have an advantage over younger students because you will have gained real world experience. You have held jobs and had to meet deadlines. You know what it’s like to have to properly manage your time in order to get many things done. You will have developed a level of maturity that will help you to be able to handle yourself in most situations. All of the things you have learned during your adulthood can help you out immensely in college.
Public relations is a very hard field to succeed in but once you do, you will have achieved a lot. To be a great PR professional, you need to possess a strong variety of skills. If you are new to studying PR, it definitely helps if you have already achieved some of these skills. This is why an adult learner is a great candidate for studying and excelling in public relations. Below is a list of some of the skills needed to excel in public relations as well as some of the reasons why this career might appeal to adult learners.
You must have very strong communication skills in order to be a great PR professional. This includes verbal and logical thinking, public speaking, and written communications skills. Most adult learners will probably have experience with some or all of these communication skills already because they can be developed over time by working at many different jobs. Having all of this communication experience can be an advantage to adult learners if they are interested in a public relations career.
In the public relations profession, you must be familiar with all types of social media and have the skills to know how to use them. According to a study done by Regis College, nearly 70% of all U.S. adults have at least one social media account and the average American user has seven. This proves that most adults are very familiar with how to use social media, so this is a plus for them if they were to choose a public relations career.
Time Management & Multitasking
As a PR professional, you must be able to juggle multiple clients or projects at the same time, so you must be good at multitasking. Most adults have had jobs that have deadlines and that require them to do many things at once. Lots of adults also have to drive their children to and from various events in addition to their jobs, which has helped them learn to manage their time well. These various job and life experiences that they have had will benefit them in a public relations career.
Relationship Building Skills
The ability to build relationships is definitely one of the most important skills needed to be a great public relations specialist. It will help you build up your professional network by possessing this skill. Adult learners will have already created many contacts throughout their lives and careers which is a very good thing. This could give them a head start above other entry level public relations professionals.
As you can see, all of the various job experiences that an adult learner has had and all the life lessons they have learned could help them immensely on the path to becoming a very successful public relations professional. You can study this profession online which makes it very nice because it can allow you to continue to work as you are learning. The nature of this industry is always changing, and when it does, it evens the playing field in terms of experience. Lastly, if a working professional gains expertise specific to an industry, that expertise can almost always be applied in a PR setting in that same industry. Your knowledge in that industry doesn’t become irrelevant if you do PR in that industry. These are the reasons why I believe PR might appeal to adult learners.
By: Emily Schaper
Being a Part of the Table
We’ve all been part of a conversation where we have no idea what is being talked about. It sets you apart from others and can become difficult to get to know more people. When it comes to global issues, reading the news or checking the media every day can set yourself a spot at the table. Plus, if you know about what’s going on in the world, you can start up a conversation about almost anything.
How to Get Started
There are so many amazing websites that will send the news to your email every morning. It doesn’t take any time at all to be up to date with what’s happening around you. All you do is enter in your address and the top stories for each day will be sent straight to you. Some beneficial websites include:
Why It’s Important
The news is important for a number of reasons within society. Not only does it inform the public about events, but it connects everyone together. Plus, if you’re interested in Public Relations, the news should already be of importance to you. Continuing on, the media can be broken down locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Local: News from a local area helps advise people about activities that may have an impact on the community. Decisions can be determined and people can be brought together
- National: When news becomes more of interest, it will have a broader perspective. This can become tricky because of the differing time zones. However, it can be of value to know the situations of other cities and towns
- International: When it comes to the global economy, news from other countries becomes vastly important. It gives us a sense of other perspectives and lifestyles/cultural differences
As a Public Relations major, my professors would always tell the class, you never want to be the last to know about anything. If you’re not up to date about what’s happening around you, you probably need to find a new job or area of interest. If you ever want to lock in a seat at the C-Suite Table, you’ll need to define your role, show your ability to think strategically, elevate your game, and act like you belong there. All of these can be achieved by reading the news every single day and knowing what’s happening around you.
By: Ashleigh Horn
Research is the key to all successful public relations strategy. It is the defining factor in how we choose to tell our client’s story and helps us identify how our target audiences will react—long before they are ever exposed to any messaging.
But why is research crucial? How can it single-handedly define the effectiveness of our PR efforts? Isn’t research a little bit…old school?
No! Before I continue any further, I would like to emphasize that research is not old school. Call me a nerd for thinking it’s cool, but you actually need it to be successful in this industry. Here is why:
Beyond identifying an objective, research is the first step in defining what steps should be taken to solve a problem. A need may be increasing brand awareness, avoiding a crisis, or launching a campaign. The list is endless. However, used strategically, research can be conducted to meet needs, elevate your client’s brand and create lasting mutually beneficial relationships.
On the other hand, failure to conduct research may lead to indecision, inaction or financial loss. It may also make identifying key publics and their needs difficult. In many cases, actions taken without sufficient knowledge about who or what they will impact can even lead to tarnishing your brand’s overall image.
One brand whose reputation was tarnished because of its failure to conduct any research was Digorno. In 2014, the frozen pizza brand received major backlash for inappropriately using a trending Twitter hashtag to advertise its product. The company’s Tweet, “#WhyIStayed You had pizza” was ill-received by Twitter users who were disgusted that the company would poke fun at domestic violence to encourage pizza sales.
The company could have avoided the situation altogether by researching the nature of the hashtag before Tweeting. While research may frontload your efforts, it helps prevent mistakes later on. Doing so allows you to preserve your brand and may even save you money.
I will be the first to admit that research is not always sexy. In fact, anyone who has taken University of Central Missouri’s PR 3605: Survey of PR Research & Theory with Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn knows that research can be tedious and seemingly mundane at times. However, it can also be exciting and provide key insights that will make decision making easier down the road.
Research allows us to strategically gauge information about our key publics. It helps us identify possible reactions and outcomes of our efforts and avoid unnecessary costs. It also equips us with the tools to measure the impact of our efforts from the get-go. At the end of the day, it takes out the guesswork and lays a solid foundation from which you can build—without fear of total failure.
You may be thinking, “Gee, that sounds great. However, I have no experience conducting research. I would never know where to begin.”
But you do!
May I ask if you have ever had a friend tell you that they have begun to develop feelings for someone? If you are like me, this small piece of information often triggers Sherlock-Holmes mode. Within the next hour you have scoured up a list of their hobbies, identified their grandmother’s name, and searched through all of the accounts they follow on Instagram.
Does this activity sound familiar? Don’t lie, I know you have done it too.
Curiosity is in our nature and whether we recognize it or not, we conduct research every day. We care about our friend and use research to ensure that the one who has them so smitten is actually right for them.
But where should you start?
Certainly there are methods to help guide how we research. However, there is no set protocol for how it should be conducted, especially in PR as we deal with all things human. I advise formulating one single question and allowing your curiosity to fuel any questions and quests for answers that follow.
You may think research is boring. It’s not! It is a vital element in the daily life of a PR pro. Ask questions, find the answers, then ask more questions that lead you to solid strategy and valuable decision-making.
By : Emily Schaper
When it comes to opening new doors and opportunities, networking should be a top priority. It’s not just about trading information, but establishing long-term relationships with mutual benefits. Networking, however, may not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list. People may find it time-consuming, awkward, or out of their comfort zone. This can be understandable if you already have a lot on your plate and the last thing you want to do is make small talk with strangers. Although, if you don’t take the time to prioritize networking throughout your career, you may miss out on some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Now, you may be wondering how to become an effective networker. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be expanding your professional network in no time!
Find Your Networking Style
Now, you may be wondering how to become an effective networker. First, you need to determine what style works best for you. If you are energized by being around people, for example, you could network at a large social gathering instead of just one-on-one. Be aware, however, Covid-19 may alter these plans. Organizations are utilizing Zoom, so if you happen to enjoy engaging with others online, this could potentially help a lot.
Network Outside the Box
Second, don’t be afraid to network outside the box. Think of events and organizations to attend that you otherwise wouldn’t consider. Sometimes, being able to volunteer around people of similar interests is enough to advance your career. It’ll show you really value helping others and have a passion to learn new skills/abilities.
Do Your Research
Don’t forget to do your research before you connect with someone. It’ll help the conversation flow better if there’s a base understanding of their interests, education, work history, and more. Plus, it’ll show you genuinely care and respect the other person. They’ll remember that about you later on.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Next, always follow up. The time you invest in speaking with someone won’t benefit your personal and professional development if you fail to follow up afterward. This can easily be done by utilizing social media platforms, such as LinkedIn. Just sending short, personalized messages helps differentiate you from other individuals. According to Deena Baikowitz, chief networking officer and co-founder of Fireball Network, “The worst networking mistake you can make is not trying at all.”
Pass It On
Last, but certainly not least, don’t be afraid to pass it on. If you have the opportunity to help someone who has taken time to reach out to you, act upon it. Your referral has a lot of power and can help them land a job. You were once in their shoes and what goes around comes around.
Utilizing these tips will set you apart from others in the long run. Remember, if you’re not stepping out of your comfort zone, then you’re not growing. Now’s the time to reach out and stay connected.
By Ashleigh Horn
There’s no denying that each generation is different. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Xennials, Millennials, Generation Z, I’m sure as you read each of these titles, you may have recalled your own thoughts toward each group. During a time where as many as five different generations are working together in the workplace, it’s important to understand how they all function and what each brings to the table.
Though I could certainly cover all five of these and the impacts they have in the workplace, I want to instead provide first-hand insight into a generation that is seemingly misunderstood by its predecessors. This is a generation with a desire to create change; a generation that I have nearly 21 years of experience being part of.
Who are we?
Although the lines defining the age range of my generation are a bit blurry, the Pew Research Center identifies this group as having been born after 1996 (Parker & Igielnik, 2020). Today, some Gen Z-ers walk the halls of middle schools, whereas others are hunched over books in their dorm rooms, working full-time agency jobs or even preparing to vote in the upcoming presidential election. There’s no doubt we’re all at different stages in our lives; however, somehow, some way, there are a few common desires and passions we all seem to share.
How is this generation different?
Generation Z is the largest generation to date. We also have access to more technology, media and quite honestly, each other, than any generation before us. It may be our sheer size, or it quite simply may be the comfort we feel in sharing our thoughts and ideas through Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, that compels us to reach for our dreams and to stand up for what we believe in. Politics, social injustice, sustainability, ideas for new products or businesses, we Gen Z-ers are a researched, opinionated, innovative, change-making group.
The Target Incubator
A few years back, the Target retail chain set out to better connect with this next generation of consumers. One way they did so, was through directly engaging with young Gen Z entrepreneurs in what they called the “Target Incubator.” Inspired by these young adults’ big ideas about “better for people” and “better for the planet” products, the company selected eight business pitches, created by students, to help become a reality.
You may be asking, “Why would the company do this, and what was their reward?”
Generation Z is often referred to as the “Changemaker” generation. Target recognized that many of its Gen Z consumers have big plans to change the world and sought to help make their dreams become reality. The students’ ideas ranged from producing compostable single-use products to using juice pulp waste to create healthy snacks. These eight businesses were not only unique—they did not simply provide innovative products or services—rather, they were all created as solutions to a number of the social and environmental issues we face in the 21st century.
I think James Sancto, founder of We Make Change, hit the nail on the head when he described Generation Z’s passion as “not willing to accept the world as it is, [who] believes [it] can address the challenges the world faces today, and [who] will do whatever [it] can to make the change [it wants] to see” (Sancto, 2019). The product of the Target Incubator is a testament to Gen Z’s eagerness and willingness to ensure the changes we wish to happen are made.
Gen Z’s not so breakthrough solution to creating change is to have a purpose. Whether you’re a business, college institution, or just someone we pass on the street, Gen Z-ers want to know what you’re all about.
What are your goals?
Who or what do you stand for?
Does your vision align with what we believe?
Generation Z prioritizes purpose and “[looks] to engage with brands and organizations that have a higher purpose that goes well beyond a simple transaction” (Beal, 2019). Unlike generations before us, we don’t simply purchase a product or rep a brand because we like it or it’s “convenient.” Rather, we use the power of reviews and our access to technology to compare prices, product availability, to research a company’s CSR practices and what it values, in order to make educated purchases (Salesfloor, n.d.).
Google, Netflix, Spotify and the Walt Disney Company are all examples of some of the most loved brands by Gen Z consumers. It’s no coincidence that all of these same companies placed in the Digital Marketing Institutes (2020) list of the “Top 16 Brands doing Corporate Social Responsibility Correctly.” Generation Z values these brands because they do more than provide their specific products and services; these companies use their platforms to create change on issues important to their employees and to each company as a whole.
As I mentioned earlier, Gen Z-ers look for ways to impact our own corners of the world. In fact, we often make decisions with long-term consequences in mind. We’ve been called lazy, self-involved, tech-dependent, and more (The NPD Group, 2020). Yes, some of these monikers may be partly true. But, we are also a passionate generation focused on standing up for only those issues or movements that align with our interests. Our passions drive our actions. We just might change the world.
As each new year has passed onto the next, Generation Z, or the “Changemaker” generation, has become older and older. With this age has come new responsibilities, both in our own lives and in contributing to the world around us. We are growing up, entering the workforce and making an impact in our own generationally-unique way. Slowly but surely, we are revealing who we are, what we value, what our goals are, and are debunking the generational stereotypes that have defined us since we were babies. In turn, we are using these differences to provide new perspectives in both the workplace and in society, and are doing all in our power to create change.
By: Rebeka Dickerson
Public relations is a fairly new profession compared to other jobs, first being established in the 1920s. However, it is more important now than ever. Why is that? The issues of this world are on full display and people are paying attention to every step organizations and individuals make. Additionally, cancel culture is especially prevalent.
A term we are hearing more frequently in the PR world, cancel culture, is “the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.”
With social media, it is much easier for anything someone does “wrong” to be scrutinized on a worldwide scale. This is why organizations must understand their audiences and the topics/issues they care about. Organizations must find a way to incorporate those topics in a way that will not backfire, which can be easier said than done.
There are countless examples of attempts that were made to resonate with an audience that ended up backfiring. One of the most well-known ones, though, was when Pepsi and Kendall Jenner teamed up to create a commercial meant to promote peace and unity, but that came off completely tone deaf (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/pepsi-ad-kendall-jenner-echoes-black-lives-matter-sparks-anger-n742811) . More recently, Nike sold out of Kobe Bryant merchandise, frustrating people who thought they did not honor him, but instead attempted to profit off of his death (https://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2020/8/24/21399059/nike-kobe-bryant-shoes-limited-snkrs-drop-lakers-resellers-jerseys-mamba-day/comment/530751649).
Clearly, citing these examples, it is crucial for plans to be made and extreme care to be put into everything that is placed online and offline. Even something that is meant to come across as a positive statement or message can be completely misconstrued, and your organization could be put in a position no organization wants to be in.
So, to have a trained professional involved in every part of the public relations process certainly cannot hurt. Organizations need someone with a keen eye who will speak up when even the smallest of details seems off. Any concerns the public has should be responded to as soon as possible, and in an empathetic manner. Lying or attempting to hide a mistake will not be accepted.
Although public relations may not be one of the most effortless jobs in our current times, it is a job that is needed in today’s environment. Once one person is distressed about something your company did or put out, you should be prepared for many more to follow. People are smart and they have high expectations. It is now the company/individual and PR professional’s job to meet those expectations.
By: Shayna Polly
The Edelman Trust Barometer is the largest global survey on trust in the media, government, NGOs, and business. This year’s shows that trust is at an all-time low across the board. How do we get people to trust us? There is no exact formula, but here are a few tips that should help.
Whenever speaking or releasing any kind of content, a PR professional should always be sure that what is being communicated is accurate. Misinterpretation is inevitable, but it is best to be sure the speech is clear with as little room for speculation as possible. Your message should be consistent throughout the corporation. The last thing you want is to seem condescending to your audience. While usually unintentional, the use of jargon can seem intimidating to many people. When addressing mass numbers of people, the plainer you speak the better. This does not mean that speech or writing cannot be eloquent or well- worded. This simply means to avoid language your audience won’t understand.. How is one supposed to communicate effectively if the audience does not understand half of the words they are using?
Everything you do should have meaning and sincerity. This should be thought out through several strategic planning methods. These plans are flexible as things do arise but should still cohere to one solitary message or meaning. For example, an apology is a typical course of action after a problem arises – but consumers can tell when an apology is not sincere. Even if viewers cannot credit this feeling to a specific action or sentence, they identify a gut feeling when a talking head is being insensitive. Being that there is already a trust gap between corporations and the public, consumers are already looking for instances to confirm what they already believe. This is what’s called confirmation bias. The same way that someone who believes the earth is flat will seek out facts to confirm this and ignore facts that dispute.
INSTILL ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES.
Customers become very frustrated when a business breaks a promise. If it is said that customers will be reimbursed; reimburse them. It is unfortunate that this has to be said, but this is a common trend among corporations, especially big ones. This also says a lot about a company’s values. These values should be communicated from the time an employee is hired; throughout the entire time they are with an organization. For example, and airline passenger’s flight is canceled and in order to accommodate the airline offers another flight free of charge. The passenger thinks to themselves “awesome, I’ll just use the free flight to fly home for the holidays.” When the consumer goes to redeem this offer, however, they are informed that the offer was only redeemable for 30 days after the canceled flight. While this might have been mentioned before, a lot of time it is in small subtext and may not be verbally mentioned at all. This sends the message that the airline is simply trying to get out of losing more money. It is understandable that the airline needs to make money, but this should not come at the expense of its customers, especially loyal ones.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Of course, this does not mean that every aspect of business needs to be disclosed, but it is best to uphold as much transparency as possible. Public relations is all about the information. Consumers are much more at ease when they have and understand as much information as you can possibly give.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC.
Do everything in your power to ensure the comfort and happiness of customers. “The customer is always right” is a very popular saying, and while it may not always be true, customer service should forever be doing their best to make the consumer comfortable. This includes employee training and should be instilled in everyone associated with the company. A good organization should make sure that every employee, no matter how little, gets consistent training on both customer service and the overall messaging of the company. Don’t forget, your employees are your first, most important public. They need to be happy as they reflect the values of the organization. For example, if the company donates to an advocate for wheelchair accessibility, but an employee is seen being less than accommodating to a customer in a wheelchair, that could be a very bad story being shared all over the press and social media, and these days, things like that take flight quickly. After all, that is where all the revenue comes from. Happy customers = $$$.