THE FORGOTTEN ELEMENT
In the noisy world we live in many PR professionals have forgotten the one basic element of their trade, the one that drove them into the business to begin with: people. Amidst the social media expertise, demographics and highly specialized statistics are human beings, motivated by many different tastes, preferences--and fears.
The first word in "PR" is "public"--and if you do not know how to relate your clients ideas to the public, or rather, a specific segment of the public, you might as well take down your shingle in front of your office with the logo you worked so hard on in order to make a good impression.
If you cannot judge character, evaluate needs, and learn how to bottle it and sell it, you might need to change industries.
While clients want a tech savvy PR firm on their side, they would do well to see if the firm in question knows what makes people tick. Often, PR becomes a series of templates that products or services are plugged into--it's the old, "One size can fit all," or two or three sizes can fit all mentality.
So how to we get to the core of our clients needs, and the desired results they want, alongside of the needed technical abilities that today's PR firms must have? That is, how do we get to the human element--the thing that will move people off the dime and create buzz?
The answer is to get back to basics; basics that may have been lost in the shuffle during the transition from a "traditional" model, to a hybrid techno-wise operation.
Here are some suggestions:
-Know your client--personally. This does not mean that you must know the intimate details of their life, but you must know something about the person behind the product or service you are promoting. You must be a friend, a coach--and an advisor.
-Never assume you know all about the product, even if you've done dozens of launches in the same industry. Start with a mental clean slate, and don't let personal business hobby horses steer the program you design.
-Be polite, but brutally frank with your client. Don't worry: they will respect that side of you when they see you are not simply there to pocket a hefty retainer fee.
-Treat all accounts with the same energy and creativity--not always giving preference to the "big fish."
While many agencies pride themselves on their staffs creativity, that same creativity can be a hindrance if your client believes he or she is not being heard over the din of your proposals.
After all, they are human. And don't we all want a voice among the high decibels of the world's chatter?