Guest post provided by: Sandra Garcia, Conscious Public Relations, Inc.
Do you know why you are communicating something?
It’s been a year and four months since I came up with the idea of “Conscious PR.” I had gone through a very interesting personal journey in 2011 in which I was torn between the image I wanted to project as a business owner, and the person I wanted to be. I remembered how concerned I was for the world when I was a child, and as sure as the Earth turns, the passion had come back to me like a tidal wave: I could help others do good with the PR skills I had developed in my career.
I launched the new company name last year, testing out the brand in the market first to confirm whether there would be a good response from companies who jived with my idea of how I wanted to do business: use Publicity and Social Media to make a positive change for the greater good or for the Earth. I also realized that the name also related to the way in which companies communicate now. There are so many methods to use, many of which are free and easy to set up. But do you know what you are communicating, and more importantly – why?
To me, Conscious Public Relations is how a business projects its values in the outside world. It is also the process of being conscious of what messages a business is communicating, and why. Do you want to help adults become better parents? Does your business prove why we should buy local and organic? Does your service prevent trash from being added to landfills? Does your invention revolutionize the way people do business with each other? Why do you do what you do?
The answers to these questions can and should be communicated in any methods of PR you choose, especially for small business owners who need an extra edge to stand out from the rest of the marketplace.
Here are five tips you can use to be more conscious in your communications:
- Remember your values. Writing down your values and using them as guidelines for your tactics and how you execute them can be useful, and keep you inspired in your work.
- Put yourself in your user’s shoes. Many companies are still under the impression that they can dictate how users purchase. Flipping the switch and thinking about how your ideal user lives their life can provide you with new, out of the box ideas, but also helps you connect with them more on a one to one level. Do market research if needed to support your ideas.
- Do something different. In this age of clutter, you cannot do what everyone else is doing and still expect to stand out. How can you do something a bit differently while still staying true to your values and appealing to your ideal user? Today, different is not just good; it’s necessary.
- Be honest. It seems straightforward, but you know how much one act of dishonesty can make headlines and ruin one’s reputation. Many companies are scared to try something new, and sometimes being honest in how they are different can make for an interesting theme in a campaign. Also, don’t confuse honesty with opinion – if you’re honest when it counts, it will go farther than if you are just sounding off.
- Celebrate the good things you do. It’s refreshing when you learn about a feel-good story in the news, or see a small business that is making an impact in the community, even if it means they work ten times harder than their multinational competitors. Your audience will be more loyal, and more likely to spread the word about you. Model your business after the ones that you respect and rally behind.
An interesting way to think about whether you should or shouldn’t do something is to ask yourself, “What if all businesses did this?” You might find that the answer will illuminate your decision and ultimately your journey. Good luck!
Sandra Garcia has executed Publicity campaigns for some of Vancouver’s biggest events, including the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival. In 2012, she launched Conscious Public Relations Inc., a brand that reflects her personal values. Its mission is to change what we see in the media and online by communicating client stories clearly and consciously.