PR and the Decline of the Empire
There are some who believe that the Public Relations department should be the conscience of an organization – and I happen to be one of them. Forward thinking companies are adopting that attitude and soon, other companies will not have a choice. The people will demand it.
It used to be that PR was a one way street. Companies pushed messages out that would encourage consumers to buy their product or services.
Complaints and suggestions were managed, either dealt with or dismissed, all with an eye to ensuring control over the brand.
Now, of course, whether you like it or not, public relations is a two way street. Everyone is connected, wired — and talking.
At the same time, there is an underlying rage just below the surface of our society, bubbling ever closer to the top with each new Fortune 500 corporate executive perp walked into the limelight for financial evil doing.
Others are handed golden parachutes while customers and staff are left behind on engineless planes.
Of course, many executives at now disgraced former giant companies were honest and hardworking – but far too often, their voices were ignored or worse silenced.
And now we are left with the perfect storm, a public distrustful of business at the very time confidence needs to be restored.
There is little incentive for vision within companies or governments and the end result is most are scrambling to do what they need to do to get elected or make this quarter’s numbers. Rome wasn’t built in a quarter. But it could fall in one. And it almost did.
I have long thought that sometimes the best thing PR people can do for the companies that employ them is to stop thinking like PR people. Sometimes, we need to forget we are company people too. Sometimes, the best thing PR people can do is to think like the people they serve and design every aspect of their company’s communications and public relations strategies and actions accordingly.
It will serve your company better in the long run.
It’s time to get back to basics. It’s time to get back to business.