September 24, 2013

Mindful PR: Seizing the Moment of Obligation. ~ Scott Yates

Spin doctors. Flim-flam men. Smooth talkers.

When discussing public relations, the word “mindful” rarely comes up in conversation. Why not, we ask? Why shouldn’t the very focus of any relationship with the public be ensuring integrity, honesty, and wisdom in that relationship?

Whether it’s promoting a new product or responding to tragedy, PR is a crucial element of bridging the gap between a company or agency and the general public. And as Lisa Allegretti wrote in her February 2013 blog, “When it comes to public image, perception is reality.”

Social media has changed the rules of PR. Thanks to Twitter and other near-instantaneous social platforms, the audience is becoming more aware, more sophisticated, and generally less tolerant of cookie-cutter information. To thrive in this evolving landscape, it’s important to be mindful not only of who your audience is, but of who you are as an organization.

Moments of Obligation

In an April 2013 blog post for the Harvard Business Review, Lara Galinsky defines what she calls a “moment of obligation.” This is the moment all of us get when we are driven to act. In public relations, these moments of obligation are what define our message—who we are, what matters to us and how we interact with the world.

Mindfulness is required, not only to recognize these moments when they arrive, but to act upon them in a powerful way. Galinsky offers these 4 hints for recognizing these moments of obligation:

1. They’re strong. Whether it’s a shift in the marketplace, a national tragedy, or a personal crisis, this moment is a powerful before-and-after event. These moments matter, and their urgency moves you forward.

2. They keep showing up. Try as you might to ignore these moments, they keep popping up. Patterns emerge, and it becomes obvious the landscape is changing.

3. They’re personal. These are issues that matter not only to your organization, but to your audience. These are matters that affect your community as well as your bottom line.

4. They take hold. You can try to distract yourself with more trivial ideas, but a moment of obligation demands to be recognized and addressed.

These moments of obligations become beacons, guiding your vision and keeping your PR strategy on task. By always maintaining a full awareness of your company vision and using this vision as a cornerstone, you can open a dialogue with the public, allowing them not only to know your values, but participate in them as well.

When creating a culture of mindful public relations, an organization can no longer afford bullhorn communication. Communication is needed and demanded by a public accustomed to social networking and online media. By offering meaningful content that is in line with your core values, a public relations strategy can create a partnership with the audience that brings value to all players.


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Edited by: Ben Neal

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