PR Word of the Week #25: @Sherrilynne’s favourite PR Word

Today’s guest blog post is by Sherrilynne Starkie. Not only is Sherrilynne an amazing coworker, but she is also a mentor and someone I look up to. Sherrilynne is an Account Director at Thornley Fallis and a recognised expert in social media. She is a well-known newspaper columnist, blogger and a public speaker. She is the founder of the Isle of Man’s Social Media Club and is on Twitter’s PR top 100 according to TweetLevel.

My favourite PR word: Relationship

I am always reminding clients and colleagues that the ‘R’ in PR stands for relationships. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I say that I help organizations create and foster positive relationships with individuals and groups of people that they depend upon for success. Depending how bored the questioner looks at this point, I might go on to say, this could include customers, shareholders, employees, unions, people in the community etc.

For me this is absolutely fundamental to those of us in public relations, and it’s often forgotten or overlooked. Instead of looking at whether or not we’ve created new positive relationships, improved others, limited damage on still others , we seem to be focused on getting hits, clicks, friends and followers.

Yes, relationships start with creating awareness so PR professionals spend a lot of time working with the news media, but we are not all about column inches or web hits. Yes, we are ‘good with people’, but we possess a range of hard skills and experience that we put to good use meaning we are too busy to spend our days (and nights) networking and ‘doing lunch’.

Organizations are all about people. People are all about relationships. That’s why PR is at the heart of every successful organization, public or private, large or small.

Here’s my definition.

Relationship

(riˈlāSHənˌSHip)
noun

  1. A connection, association or involvement
  2. A connection between persons
  3. An emotional connection

Example:

I’ve never heard of your brand. I don’t know your company. None of my friends use your products. Why would I buy from you? (no relationship)
Or:
I’ve heard good things about you. I’ve bought your products in the past. Everyone in my neighbourhood is excited about the new retail outlet you’re building nearby. When do you open? I can’t wait! (positive relationship).

So what do you think? How important are relationships in your agency/organization? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below.

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