There is an old adage that all publicity is good publicity and I vehemently disagree. Visibility at all costs is not only ineffective but can be dangerous to your brand.
The discipline of Public Relations (PR) seeks to communicate, and influence perception. It is not carried out in a silo, with haphazard strategies but harmonized with marketing, branding, sales and every other part of your business. The symphony of your efforts are ultimately judged by customers, for if they’re not paying to hear the music you have no reason to play. Visibility in and of itself is not the goal, but being visible, relevant and respected by the right people.
These days, I can understand why many would confuse visibility with sustainability. Losing it seems to be an effective media relations strategy. Become a train wreck and people show up to watch by the millions. Get arrested, drive drunk, flub the lyrics to the national anthem or just plain lose your grip on reality and you become a media star. In spite of the seemingly effortless publicity generated, I do not recommend ‘crazy’ as a PR strategy. However, if crazy is your brand and you want to be known as an unhinged bag of nuts who is the punchline of loser jokes, go for it. For everyone else there is a better way.
Outside of the realm of comedians and celebrities, your PR efforts should help you gain respect. You want to gain attention for what you know and offer; for being a leader in your space rather than an unfortunate break with reality. Visibility at all costs is not the best path to creating longevity in your market. Trust is an essential component of the sales cycle, but also of your staying power. People need to trust your brand and brand promise to purchase from you. Bad behavior may grab headlines but it does not translate into sustainable relationships with your customers. Further, eventually someone else will trump your bad behavior and you will become old news.
A far better approach is to build your brand with purpose. Be strategic and purposeful about who you are and how you present yourself to the market. Brand perception is in the eyes of your consumer but you can influence that perception for good or bad by what you do and say. Be visible for the value and solutions you offer to your market, and leave the meltdowns to those who are pros at entertaining.
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