By Ronn Torossian, an Overdrive contributor and president/CEO of 5W Public Relations
Sometimes, when people try to boil public relations down to the lowest common denominator, they focus too much on the method and not on the intent. PR protocol and approach is important, of course, but at its core public relations is about …wait for it… relating with the public.
Simple? Maybe so, but as with many things, oftentimes we have a tendency to drift away from the core of our practice. Having learned from my many years in PR and as an entrepreneur in the industry, I can share three reasons why relationships matter in this business:
1. Messages are meant to connect
PR messages are more, way more, than a boilerplate mission and vision statements people create to check-off boxes on their lists of marketing materials. PR messages must mean something and say something of value, because their entire purpose is to connect with recipients and generate relationships. Again, and this can’t be said often enough, it’s about relationships!
2. Connections must be nurtured
Public relations messages are never just tossed out into the ether. You must nurture the connections you work to make. Those connections can lead to further connection, or they can cut you off from an otherwise available market segment. Succeed with making and growing those connections and you will prosper. Let them go, and they could drive your brand’s reputation off a cliff.
3. Your audience is people
When you’re in any business, and especially in the business of developing a brand, it can become easy to get totally focused on the functions or the systems of your product or service. But, at the end of the day, your audience is the people your business serves. People can be tough to figure out or they can be easy to understand. People can be flighty, or amazingly committed. People can be swayed or refuse to bend.
People are people, in all their glory. And that is who you are trying to connect with. Not aggregates, demos or focus groups. Real-life, individual people. Make sure to remember that as you sit down to plan your public relations strategy.
Learn more about Ronn and his business experience as an entrepreneur
Categories: Best Practices Public Relations
The claim that PR is really about relationships is comparable to the common claim that Sales is really about relationships.
Both are true — to some extent. But both claims are disengenious because they suggest that there is some kind of conflict between process and people.
The fact is there is no such conflict. It’s a false alternative.
You need both, and to claim (as you do in the last sentence of your first paragraph) that one should have primacy over the other is silly.
Your point about recognizing that your audience consists of flesh-and-blood humans is well made — but there’s no need to throw process under the bus in order to make that point.