Today’s is Valentine’s Day. What does that have to do with public relations? The following post was shamelessly cross posted from an entry I made at the Schwartz Crossroads blog. I thought it might be of interest to all of you, and you would forgive me the double post since it is V-Day.
For Valentine’s Day, I thought of Puppy Love and how does that relate to PR in general. The launch of a new company or a new technology is a lot like puppy love. Some users find an immediate flush of attraction. They embrace the service, become infatuated and fall hard. Malcolm Gladwell addresses this to an extent in Blink and Geoffrey Moore calls them the early adopters in Crossing the Chasm. But puppy love does not last forever. For companies, many early enthusiasts may move on to a new fling, leaving the technology forgotten and abandoned like many people’s junior prom dates. So what can companies and PR people do when the first rush of puppy love fades and the blush comes off the rose? You need to commit to building a long term, deeper relationship. This isn’t the Bachelor. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, following are some PR love relationship tips:
1) Know what you stand for and don’t compromise—core values are essential. If you change too much for your users or your sweetheart, eventually you will either become something you don’t want, or you will become bitter and unhappy and lose that special something anyway. Highlight your values and attract the right customers and partners.
2) Know what you are looking for—the best relationships don’t happen by accident and the same goes for PR. What type of user are you trying to engage? Are you looking to attract buyers for the short term, or do you need a deeper commitment (enterprise software)
3) Be prepared for the unexpected—no relationship escapes twists and turns, ups and downs. What you thought would happen to your life when you were sixteen or when you were going on your first date is rarely how things end up. Your plans are going to go awry (if they didn’t we wouldn’t laugh so much at romantic comedies). Don’t let the setbacks get you down. Learn from them, re-evaluate and change as necessary. Don’t get locked into one pitch, be ready to adapt.
4) Make a commitment—positive, productive relationships aren’t easy. They require a lot of work. That goes for both real life; a company’s relationships with its prospects and customers; and a PR pros relationships with reporters, analysts and clients. Inattention is noticed. Commit to doing the best job you can. Don’t ignore the little things. They will build up.
5) What you want will change over time—that’s OK. What we want in our teenage years is different that our 20s, 30s and 40s. The same goes for an angel funded company, a pre-IPO company and a public company. It goes for a PR pro who is first introducing a company to a reporter to one that has been telling the same story to the same reporter for years. Just make sure you are aware of what is changing and re-evaluate your plans and strategies on a regular basis.
6) Listen and communicate openly—this is relationship 101, but too often its gets forgotten. Spin doesn’t work with the ones you are closest with. Be honest. Listen. Communicate. Engage in conversations. Act on the feedback you receive. If you don’t, expect reporters to stop listening, customers to stop buying and your competitors who are communicating openly to gain marketshare. I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day. And beware of PR Puppy Love. It doesn’t last.