Why A Good PR Model Should Be Your Approach To Life

I had two very different and very odd experiences with brands this past week, both of which demonstrated a point I’d never really thought much about before. Namely, they showed me that we should all be approaching relationships in our life with a way better Public Relations model than we’ve currently got going on.
The first was an outstanding positive: a brand, who I have never worked with professionally but who I have purchased from and mentioned on my instagram stories a few times, reached out to ask me how I was enjoying their product. They were actually seeking genuine feedback from their consumers about their products to see if they could improve. I raised a small concern, and they immediately took it on board and offered a solution. The other happened almost simultaneously and was initially less fun. A brand had reposted an image of mine without giving credit. I’d asked them to amend it. They apologised sincerely, addressed my concerns directly and suggested a possible solution if I were okay with it. I was, and it was all resolved neatly with me walking away feeling warm and fuzzy as opposed to frustrated and upset as I had been prior to their response.
The whole exchange also reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a pre-service teacher (a student teacher, for those of you unfamiliar with the new politically correct lingo – yes I am rolling my eyes) earlier that day. I’d been giving her feedback on a lesson and mentioned how I’d noticed her taking time to get to know the students.
“Relationship building is probably hands down the most important skill you can have as a teacher,” I told her, no doubt striking a pose that reflected the great wisdom my many years of experience and knowledge has afforded me (*cough*).
Despite my total lack of right to claim any life knowledge whatsoever, I think I was kind of right. It’s just that I missed the part where it’s valid in life, not just teaching or blogging.

Let’s take the opposite side of the PR/Customer Service spectrum to help illustrate my point. My recent dealings with an insurance company not to be named (largely because I won’t be shocked if it becomes a legal issue) has had me bounced between multiple call centre operators who have varied between extremely helpful to downright basically calling me a fraud to my face (or the phone equivalent of it I suppose). At this stage, they generally pretend they’ve solved the problem but in a way which is impossible to confirm for several business days at a time before I discover it’s actually not fixed and have to call again. Or they tell me a manager needs to call me back, and never does. I’m now reasonably sure their tactic is just to wear me down until I stop calling and trying to get what is rightfully mine. This was certainly a similar experience to what I got from both Telstra and Optus earlier this month – both of whom reduced me to literal tears of frustration.
But life doesn’t have to be this way.
Some people certainly apply the philosophy of the last example. They go through life acting like everyone is out to get them. They make things as difficult and as complicated as possible. They refuse to admit that they’re wrong when they are and you can provide evidence to suggest it. They draw out arguments for no viable reason. They refuse to pay their dues. These people are the kinds of co-workers, friends and family who leave you wanting to bang your head against the wall after a short conversation with them.
Yet not everyone is like this, nor do they need to be. If everyone applied the PR approach of the first two brands to their everyday lives, I feel we’d all spend a whole lot less time internally screaming.
Assume for a moment that we actually all sought out honest feedback, like the first brand did. Not just about our work but about how we’re treating others. Imagine we took that feedback on with grace and used it to better ourselves.
Imagine that, like the second brand, we admitted when we were wrong. But not only admitted it, but also took action to fix the wrongs we’d committed.
Relationships, you see, are key. If we took the same approach to life that these two brands took to their business, we’d find our relationships were a whole lot more fruitful.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy to not be like the Telstras of the world. I flinch when I think of how many people I’ve encountered in life who I’ve probably made feel how the insurance company is currently making me feel. Yet I try to be more conscious of it. Now, I say shitty things, but sometimes I actually catch myself doing it and try to make it right. I’m not perfect – I won’t catch myself every time, but I make a concerted effort to try. I also, hallelujah, sometimes even manage to stop myself before I say or do the shitty thing. It’s taken several decades but at least we’re finally moving. But more importantly, I value my relationships more. I’ve come to understand the value of being surrounded by good people and spending time and effort fostering strong relationships and strong support networks. My network in my personal life is not vast but it is solid. My professional networks have supported me more times in my career than I could possibly count. I value the relationships that hold those networks together.
That second brand valued their relationship with bloggers – I’m just one and I’m small, but they recognised that I represent something else. I’m the little guy that some corporations will notoriously bully and take advantage of. They didn’t. They made a conscious choice not to step on me like an ant beneath their Goliath feet.
In my life, sometimes I’m the big corporation. Sometimes a student in my care is that little guy. Sometimes a friend is that little guy. Sometimes a family member. And in the flippancy and chaos that is everyday life, I think sometimes we need to check ourselves and watch where we’re putting our feet.
Because that, ultimately, is just good business.

17 thoughts on “Why A Good PR Model Should Be Your Approach To Life

  1. You are so spot on with this! I also teach kids and if you don’t build a relationship first they don’t feel at all inclined to respect or listen to you. I think people in general are the same. I also can’t believe what is happening with that insurance company! I hope you find a solution without too many more headaches and tears.

    Emma | Rosy Disposition

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree more! People absolutely work on the same level – why should they care about you or your opinion if you haven’t given them a reason to? And thank you but alas it’s unlikely to be resolved any time soon as I’ve needed to move to contact only in written form so I have a paper trail. Fun!

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  2. So much yes! I’ve had a few brands repost without credit but as soon as it’s brought to their attention they correct it and apologise. Granted it would be nice to get credit upfront, but the quick action to rectify is always appreciated. Other brands like insurance, phone contracts and electricity retailers could take a leaf out of their books with customer service/human decency.

    Kate | themintedblog.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I thought was really impressive was that I pointed out that I’d already lost out because all the exposure was done so giving me credit wouldn’t change that I’d lost that, and they went so far as to post another of my images and tag me properly the first time so I got the exposure I’d missed the first time. It was above and beyond and made me want to keep working with them which was awesome.
      And yes a little human decency would go a long way!

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  3. Such a great post! I have been thinking a lot about this lately in terms of karma and you get what you give so i have tried to make a more conscious effort to do the right thing so hopefully it will come back to me too 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a beautiful post. I agree with you on every single point. I also would like to add that sometimes even prejudice can be a hindrance to the way people communicate. The term innocent until proven guilty is not really applicable anymore in this world. In fact, the opposite is true. A lot of times, people have to prove their innocence (for instance, your insurance company issue).

    Great reminder lovely!

    Lubz || lubzsays.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a really interesting point! I also completely agree with you. I think it’s sad that it’s changed so much. I wonder if it’s partly down to the globalisation we’ve undergone. Are we really more open and accepting or are we actually more afraid of the unknown (despite the fact that there’s nothing to fear)? Are we more understanding or does the internet allow for such airing of extreme opinions that our views are skewed? Food for thought, but it all comes down to the golden rule I teach my students: “Don’t be a jerk” LOL

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