So, What the Heck IS Public Relations?

July 21st, 2017

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Anytime I meet a new person out somewhere, the question of “What do you do?” almost always comes up. My response, “I’m a public relations consultant,” usually results in one of two reactions:

Either the person stares at me smiling and nodding…waiting for me to say something else, or they say, “Oh, like you make websites?”

Yes, I make websites, and news releases, and I write blog posts and do social media, but these are all just tactics that make up the larger being that is “public relations.”

I have to admit that after nearly 25 years in the PR business (wow….I’m getting old!) I still have to think about what it is I do and how best to explain it when I’m asked.

So, I’ve come up with my own definition that hopefully I’ll remember the next time someone asks me what I do for a living. Here it is.

Public Relations is the practice of working with businesses and organizations to communicate with the publics that directly affect their bottom line and their business goals, whether that is to increase sales, sway public opinion, or to educate during a crisis. Public relations consultants work with various communication tools and resources, such as social media, news media, digital marketing and events, to share a business’ or organization’s story to its customers, employees, and other important publics.

So, this is the start of my definition of what PR is. It’s definitely a work in progress. What do you think? Does this make sense to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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The first step is admitting you have a problem

July 11th, 2017

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They say that the first step is to admit that you have a problem. OK. I’m ready to do that. Hello, my name is Diane Jones and I am addicted to ice. Not just any ice…it has to be the small pellet ice that can be found at Wawa and RaceTrac gas stations. Publix ice is pretty good too, ranking third on my list of great ice.

I’m not kidding when I say I am addicted to ice. The closest Wawa gas station is a 40-minute roundtrip drive from my house, and I’ve been known to make that trip once…even twice a day. I think my record is three times in one day. Don’t judge me.

I mean, there are plenty of worse things I could be addicted to…drugs, alcohol, scratch-off lottery tickets…so being addicted to little chunks of magical frozen water ain’t so bad, right?

And just because my son has a song for me when I go on my ice adventures doesn’t mean I have a real problem…sing along with me:

Ice Ice Crazy…My mom is ice crazy!
Ice Ice Crazy…My mom is ice crazy!

In all seriousness, my addiction to ice has resulted in my driving past 10-12 perfectly good gas stations when I needed gas in order to get to a Wawa or a RaceTrac. Why? Because after I pump my gas I can go inside and get a magical cup of frozen heaven.

Something as simple as the size of their ice has created a customer for life for these two gas stations. It reminds me of the book, “Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans” by Peter Shankman, somebody who I am also kind of addicted to, but that is a whole other blog post.

In Zombie Loyalists, Peter talks about providing a level of customer service in your business that not only results in your customers returning again and again, but that also makes those customers “loyalists” to your business who then share your awesomeness with other people. These “brand ambassadors” do your marketing and public relations for you, simply because they had an awesome experience with your business.

So think about what you do everyday in your business. Are you providing the level of customer service that will make your customers want to tell everyone they know how amazing you are? It may be as easy as following up a business transaction with a call or handwritten note to make sure your customer is happy with their service. Or it could be simply ordering something special that you know your customer would appreciate but is not be expecting.

Who knows…it could be as simple as ice.

Providing excellent customer service is the best marketing practice any business could be doing for itself.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a date with an ice machine.

 

 

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