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Public Relations Need to Be Transparent, Like Wonder Woman’s Jet

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Transparency is a very important policy for any public relations campaign. In this article we find a connection between transparency and Wonder Woman’s jet.

According to Wikipedia, it all started with an invisible plane that first appeared in 1942. Over the years, that plane evolved into a jet with the ability to travel almost three times the speed of sound and hover in place to allow for tricky landings. In the TV show, we could see Wonder Woman in her invisible jet depicted as a white wireframe that surrounded her. The symbolism of the invisible jet in the era in which it was born may still be relevant to this day, but today we’ll use it to explain a little bit about public relations.

The Principle of Transparency

Transparency in public relations is about how the public “can see how you got there.” People want to see through the fluff to the heart of the issue, just like we can see through Wonder Woman’s plane to find her and her passengers very much revealed. Bad things happen and often do, but it is how you handle those crisis situations that matters. It’s about openness and your ability to share the right information. This builds trust and makes everything you do visible to the public, so there are no questions or, even worse, insinuations from outsiders looking to mar the company’s reputation when something bad happens.

Building transparency shouldn’t appear contrived or fake, especially during a public relations crisis. Being open and honest about your challenges, as well as forthcoming with information, will demonstrate that you are managing the situation and lessen any damaging effects. Honesty, authenticity and requesting feedback are often used to show transparency. And it’s this transparency principle that builds trust and empathy.

Strategy for Communicating

The general public has become less trusting of advertising and marketing. That’s why it’s important to be honest or you may lose their trust and support.

Truth and honesty create authentic messages. You are being honest and forthcoming when you share your challenges alongside your successes. This humanizes your brand. Whether it’s during a crisis or not, clients can gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on, which allows them to be more forgiving and builds empathy for your situation.

Empathy is a powerful tool to help you gather feedback and build support. Gaining support can protect you against future challenges or repair any damage that may have occurred during a crisis.

Transparent Communications

The rise in social media has made it easier for PR campaigns to be more proactive and honest about challenges. These platforms can carry your authentic message to a larger audience and be a point of light during difficult times. To take advantage of this, make sure to be proactive rather than reactive. Social media is immediate – you must be agile and get ahead of any problems or social media can work against you. A great PR campaign spots potential issues and crises before they happen. Keep pushing out positive, honest messaging on all channels so when anyone searches for your company, they find the good things first, those authentic messages that build trust. It’s these kind of transparent communications that I believe in strongly, because they let others know that you really do care.

 

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below.

 

Pinstripe Book Shelf: “Why Is Your Name Upside Down?”

A couple years ago the Pinstripe team attended an event hosted by American Advertising Federation of Tampa Bay. Held at the Art Institute of Tampa (always a wonderful place to visit), the event was called “An Evening With David Oakley: Stories from a life in advertising. By an award-winning creative director.”

When you don’t know who the person is that is presenting, you don’t know what to expect. We definitely didn’t expect David Oakley, at 6pm on a Thursday night in Tampa, to be an incredibly charismatic creative person who told some of the best advertising stories we’ve heard. He was simply hilarious. And to top it all off, he gave everyone a copy of his book, Why Is Your Name Upside Down, which we just finished after losing it in the shuffle and recently rediscovering. This turns out to be a good thing, because it reminded us all over again just how funny David Oakley is and how much we aspire to his lighthearted irreverence, passion for serving his clients, and ability to turn just about any project or proposal into a joyride for all involved.

Why Is Your Name Upside Down, David OakleyThe book recaps in short story form some of David Oakley’s best stories of his work with his own agency, the well-known and respected Boone/Oakley in Charlotte, NC. Seldom does one person possess the ability to both WRITE a great story and TELL a great story, but Oakley shines in both formats. He writes the way he speaks, which somehow works in his case. The stories are easy to read and you can put the book down for a couple weeks and not worry about forgetting where you were. Just pick up at the next story and you’ll remember why you loved this book in the first place.

If you’re an agency pro or work in advertising and marketing at all, you’ll appreciate the anecdotal accounts of the mishaps and successes of his agencies. Even if you’re not in the industry, you’ll get a kick out of his wild ideas and execution, his ability to create buzz out of blunders, and his seemingly tireless sense of positivity.

 

Social Media Protocol for the Professional

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We see people misbehaving on social media all the time. This can have consequences for associated business social media accounts that may range from small waves to downright devastating. Below is a list of items to consider when posting on your personal social media account as a professional.

-Even if you aren’t managing the business’ social media account, you are still connected and as a result you represent that business, on social media and wherever you go.

-In effect, your behavior on your personal social media account is indirectly (and in some cases, directly) associated with the business itself, whether or not the content of your posts refers to the business in any way.

-Knowing this, your conduct on social media may be scrutinized, particularly as an associate of the business, so any negative, lewd, ignorant, blasphemous, or otherwise irresponsible behavior can reflect poorly on the business, in turn cultivating a negative opinion of it.

-Think before you post – if your post is even remotely controversial, ask yourself if it’s worth blasting out to the public or if it’s something better discussed privately with close friends or family.

Example: An employee of a mid-sized law firm is annoyed with the company’s slow adoption of technology. He thinks of the partners in the firm as “dinosaurs” who are stuck in an age of paper and pen. One day he decides to post a meme on Facebook that features photos of seven of the attorneys alongside surprisingly similar looking dinosaurs with the caption, “A dinosaur a day keeps the technology away.” While his friends and some of his family find this extremely funny, one of the firm’s largest and longest-standing clients happens to see the post and is offended, as he has been working with the firm for as long as it’s been around, and thus is, by proxy, a “dinosaur” as well. He contacts his attorney at the firm to complain.

This is only the beginning for this incident. Depending on how leadership handles the complaint, they may lose the client, fire the employee, or they may be able to gracefully apologize and set the record right. Either way, their staff most likely needs some training from a marketing firm like Pinstripe. We do public relations and communications training on a regular basis.

You Can Build a Narrative for Your Company

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For businesses big and small, it’s not enough to say, “This is what we make” or “This is what we do.” It’s generic and outdated. People are looking for authenticity and value—a brand they can trust. And the best way to show them is through a corporate narrative.

Building a narrative comes from a shift in thinking away from the what the competition is doing, what the customer focus groups are saying, and what the industry landscape looks like. A narrative is a strategic positioning of the company, using its history, its employees, the location and its future. Combined, these explain why the company exists and why it’s unique.

Strategic Positioning

Without getting political, the current controversy surrounding Nike is more than a PR stunt. Sure, Nike’s online sales jumped 31% after the Kaepernick ads appeared, but they have also returned to pre-campaign levels after the buzz had faded. These ads are a continuation of their narrative, “Just do it.”

Nike’s narrative started in 1988 and it goes beyond, “We make great shoes.” It focuses on athletes and their need to believe in themselves: “We’ll make the best sporting equipment and all you have to do is believe in yourself.” By using Kaepernick, they pay homage to other high caliber athletes who made their own protests, the most famous of which was Muhamad Ali, and were punished for it. It’s about inspiration, not about product.

Okay, enough about the controversy, let’s look deeper into building a corporate narrative.

Value over Features and Benefits

The features and benefits of a product or service are no longer enticing to potential customers or clients. They’re all the same. It’s the value that’s the differentiator. Value motivates consumers to look deeper and see who the company truly is.

A company’s value begins with its mission and vision:

  • Who they are.
  • What they believe in.
  • What they believe is possible.

This is about having a purpose and sharing that purpose with others, or having others share it with them.

IBM’s “Smarter Planet”campaign began in 2008 and is a great example of a modern corporate narrative. It came from IBM’s mission and core set of values. It shares their sense of purpose and how that purpose can be achieved. It’s also inclusive – very inclusive – and describes a sense of shared responsibility.

Corporate Narrative for a Small Company

Small companies don’t work on the world stage or have enormous marketing budgets, but they can build their own narrative. Even start-ups and relatively young companies can do this. All they need to do is take a look at their mission and what they believe in. What’s their purpose? Their purpose is what they can share with customers.

Slogans and logos help visually expand the chosen narrative, like giving it wings. Content marketing strategies help reinforce the message. To customers experiencing these , the value of the company becomes remarkable, something exciting to talk about. The brand is no longer generic—it’s authentic. Best of all, the story continues to grow with each connection made.

Society for Marketing Professional Services Announces 2018-19 Board

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Pinstripe senior project manager, Nikki Devereux, joins the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) board as Director of Communications for her third year. During the last three years, Devereux has worked with the SMPS board to enhance member experience via website improvements and streamlining of communications.

“Our board is constantly looking for ways to add value to the SMPS membership. The programs we offer are top notch both for educational purposes and for networking, a testament to the efforts of our board to present substantial events that provide opportunities for business and career growth,” says Devereux. “Last year we implemented some new programs and events and this year, we will streamline those events to make them even more beneficial for our members. As always, we welcome and encourage feedback and are looking for more involvement from our member base.”

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Tampa Bay is the only organization in the Tampa Bay area devoted to providing members in professional services industries with opportunities for education, networking with other A/E/C professionals, and career development. The majority of SMPS members are responsible for marketing, communications, and business development for companies in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. By organizing presentations, panel discussions, socials, coffee meet-ups, and educational webinars, SMPS Tampa Bay hopes to serve the best interests of its members. Learn more at www.smpstampabay.com.

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