Let’s Talk About Evolution

Let’s Talk About Evolution

Every PR specialist is a demiurge inside.

What is more difficult for a PR specialist is to work with a manager who does not like publicity or with a boss who overestimates his/her knowledge and capabilities in the field of reputation management?

I have already told once that not all the top managers of companies are equally well-versed in PR and used a modern professional term “media virgins” that has recently come into use among public relations and media professionals.

Let me remind you that we are talking about owners or top managers who dislike staying above the media radar and do not consider it a necessary component for business success.

The reasons and formats of this phenomenon can vary. It mainly refers to the following typical situations:

  1. Specifics of business. Management of shell company is usually against transparency and publicity. Usually, companies do not tell a corporate PR or servicing agency about it openly, so specialists must retrain as homegrown Sherlock Holmes to establish the truth.
  2. Committed worldview position. There are companies where the head is sure that a full ear bends to the bottom, and an empty one rises to the top and wholeheartedly considers PR to be indecent bragging. As a rule, they have a corporate PR team that does not work in their specialty (they place advertisements, make coffee, and put information on the site) and have no agencies.
  3. Personal restrictions. Not all yogurts are equally good for you; not everyone likes publicity equally. Someone is simply very modest, and someone has a God-given talent in management but no personal charisma or has a specific appearance. In this case, corporate PR or service agencies perform rain dances to try to involve the company’s management in PR work for the benefit of the business.
  4. Lack of business education. Even very successful businessmen and top managers can sincerely consider PR as a homage to fashion, which is not useful for business. As a rule, these are the original geniuses who have gone through fire and water but do not particularly believe in complex management technologies, the effectiveness of which cannot be seen with the naked eye. Rain dances must be performed with doubled energy in this case.

In specific cases, several characteristics may appear simultaneously, which complicates “seduction” but the general conceptual approach does not change much.

As a rule, the evolution of “media virgins” takes place according to one of two no less typical scenarios, which can be described as follows:

Organic. Someone who is in good standing with our hero convinces them that PR is a good thing and brings benefits. However, the scenario is dangerous as the conviction may be shallow, and interest may be immediate and unstable. But in the end, it pays off, and the head of the company begins to get involved in the work step by step and makes a significant contribution business’s reputation.

Crisis. A bolt from the blue (a production incident, a complaint, a conflict with the authorities or social activists, a raider attack) and the owner/manager crosses themselves or performs other sacred actions and calls the PR specialist for help to come with the situation. After a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of PR tools, manager repents for the wrong views and becomes a faithful follower of reputation management.

At the same time, it is necessary to understand that evolution is inevitable as sooner or later a bolt from the blue appears in the current transparent world of general technologically armed communication, and “media virgins” begin to lead a regular and full of impressions PR life after the first painful experience.

This is why they are much more promising as agents and ambassadors of their corporate brand than representatives of another category, which happens often. The second extreme of the range is involvement in PR work.

We are talking about “media zombies” – a special version of corporate zombies. Their distinctive attributive feature is the habit of using banal learned by hears phrases in any situation, an insatiable thirst to be on the mass media radar with a complete lack of understanding of the real laws of life in the information space. “Media zombies” are dangerous since they kill trust in the company with their formal approach; it is difficult to love and respect a robot as you never know when it will want to break the laws of robotics.

As a rule, company managers mutate in “media zombies” under the influence of particularly intensive brainwashing in MBA programs and personal growth trainings and people with excessively high or low self-esteem are especially prone to such a transformation. The first ones admire themselves, and the latter prove something to others. And strangely enough, having experienced the taste of publicity once, “media virgins” cannot give up this specific drug.

What should do a PR specialist who works in or with a company headed by a “media virgin” or a “media zombie”? In both cases, develop a personal PR strategy taking into account the specifics of your manager and start implementing it step by step. As long and as diligently as motivation is present because nothing is more gratifying than a change of reality achieved thanks to your efforts. Every PR specialist is a demiurge inside.

Forbes 2017