Does Trump’s PR style trump all others?

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump finally made official what he has been flirting with for years.  He declared himself a candidate for president.  And to nobody’s surprise.

It’s also no surprise how he made the announcement and what he said.  To lots of fanfare — as all candidates have at the ready — Trump spoke about the U.S. presidency as if it were a corporation.  He spoke as if he wasn’t running for president of the U.S., but for emperor; in no need of a vice president, cabinet, congress or advisors.

But that’s who he is, and if he changed now it would be kind of a let down, don’t you think?  What we expect of Donald Trump is someone who speaks his mind, is egocentric and a bit of a bully.  Quite a sharp contrast to the presidents we are accustomed to.

The question I would like to raise is whether this style that has been so successful in the boardroom will resonate with the American people.  Are we ready for a president who says he is ready to go eye-to-eye with every other country so we can finally get the U.S. out of debt and in the black?

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Few people are taking Trump’s candidacy seriously.  It is great fodder for late night TV hosts.  But some say whether he is a serious candidate or not, he will undoubtedly raise issues nobody else wants to talk about such as the trade imbalance, domestic jobs and so forth.  The other candidates don’t want to talk about the economy because there are no easy answers and no easy solutions.  Slapping a tax on everything coming into the U.S. is not a new idea.  It was done in the 1980s when Congress limited the number of Japanese manufactured cars into the U.S.  The import quota actually worked because it forced Japanese automakers to build U.S. plants.  Today most of the Japanese cars sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.

What I am talking about is not substance but style. One reason few are taking Trump seriously is not his message but how he delivers it.  If I were his PR advisor (and I am not) I would encourage him to focus on his ideas and check his ego, bullying, and brashness at the door.   If he truly wants his ideas heard, debated and considered, and if he truly cares about making America “great” again, he needs to make his campaign about issues not himself.  Everything in his announcement speech related to his business and himself.  He needs to talk about the rest of America, not only his net worth and who he is competing with in his hotel and golf course business.

Tone down the rhetoric and up the focus on the issues, Mr. Trump.  If you do, perhaps you’ll be taken seriously and even more important, maybe you will force the other candidates to think about these issues and come up with some ideas (and solutions) of their own. Please follow us for more info and tips on having the quickest lending option for you.

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Some PR mistakes happen before you launch your PR campaign

When creating a PR campaign, whether an ongoing effort or a one-time project, there are three primary issues to consider (among many more):

1.  Scope of work — What work will be performed?

2.  Budget — What is your PR budget for the campaign?

3.  Timeline — When will it start and end (if a project).

The first three are relatively easy to determine.  Nonprofits and corporations pretty much know what they want to achieve and how much money they have to spend.  What often comes into question is when to start.

One of the biggest mistakes organizations make when hiring a PR firm is to think they will save money if they hire the firm right before their event or project, and end it right after.  After all, the less time a PR consultancy is on-board, the less budget they will require, right?  It’s like hiring a lawyer the day before you go to court so you only have to pay him/her for that one day in court.

Unfortunately, this is a misguided approach if an organization wants a PR effort that is effective and yields results.

If an organization has an event in June, let’s say, and they want a PR firm to publicize the event, bringing in the firm in May is hardly wise.  Giving the firm no time to understand the client, prepare the proper materials, think about pitch angles, make their media contacts and so forth only puts the PR firm at a disadvantage.  It is often said that PR takes time to work, but PR firms also need time to prepare, lay the groundwork and do their work.

We face this often.  An organization will have a big campaign in mind, but a limited budget in the bank.  So the normal approach is to wait until a few weeks before the campaign to bring on the PR firm.  The client feels good that professionals are on-board, but what they are doing is putting their PR agency at a disadvantage.  If feature articles are desired, it often takes several months to make contact with the right journalists, pitch a story angle that makes sense and work within a journalist’s schedule.  If you want journalists to attend, they have busy schedules and need notice. Just because an organization has an event on a certain day, doesn’t mean a journalist will give their event priority over all the other events happening in the city.   If an organization wants their 5K race covered, they better understand there are probably three 5K races every weekend in Los Angeles, and without a strong angle and sufficient notice, getting media attention is tough.  Hence, all too often opportunities are lost.

In cases when a client has a finite budget, it is better for the client and the PR firm to start early and divide the budget over more months just so the tasks that take time can be done.  Sure the PR firm will make less each month, but they won’t give full-service as it is not warranted.  But there are PR tasks that need three months lead time.  They can’t be done with 30 days notice.  PR firms want to do a good job and often will take less money per month, just so they can have the lead time they need for certain tasks to take hold.

So our advice is don’t put off getting your PR firm on-board because you think it will save money.  It usually doesn’t, and often will cost you the success your PR firm can achieve if they are given the tools they need to do a good job, and one of those tools is time.

Why starting a nonprofit might not be such a good idea

Who can argue with someone who wants to start a nonprofit organization to better the world?

Having represented upwards of 60 nonprofits of all sizes and missions for their public relations and marketing, I have yet to meet a nonprofit that didn’t have its heart in the right place.  They are started and run by wonderful people.  Many are motivated by a very personal issue that propels them to help others.

But when we are approached by nonprofit start-ups, the issues are always the same.   They need funds to operate.  So they come to us to make them known so they can attract donors, volunteers and quality staff.

When we meet with a start up nonprofit to learn more about them and their strategic plan, the first thing that comes to mind, often, is there are dozens of other nonprofits that do exactly the same thing.  Personal tragedy in losing a loved one to cancer often motives an individual or family to start an organization that supports cancer research.

But starting a nonprofit takes funding.  There is rent to pay and payroll to meet.

So when we meet with a new nonprofit, we often discuss the possibility of perhaps their efforts and fundraising is better spent joining an existing nonprofit that is already up and running.  If someone truly wants to fight cancer, or any one of a million other causes, there are established organizations already doing it.  Why not help them achieve the same mission?

What we learn is that many people want to head their own nonprofit like best work boots agency’s.  They want to make the decisions, be the boss.  There is nothing wrong with that, and many start ups we have worked with have a different approach and are headed by talented people.  But we think it is always worth exploring whether the costs for starting a nonprofit might be better utilized in joining the efforts of an agency already fighting the battle.

We have been successful in helping well-meaning people find their place with other organizations. This is always a win-win.  An established organization gets talent and energy and people with a mission get to immediately put their talent and energy to work.  Their name might not be what they want, and it might not memorialize their loved one, but there is always a way to start a program that will just that.

So if you’re thinking of starting a nonprofit and need PR, we are happy to talk.  But be aware that we may just explore with you how you might make a larger and faster difference joining forces with someone else.


Are you a good PR / marketing ambassador for your company?

We all experience it.  We call a company with a question or complaint, are put on hold for seemingly forever, and then get a person who can’t help, is rude or simply doesn’t care.

In most cases when that happens, one would say the company representative is bad at his/her customer service job.  But while this may be true, they also are a bad PR ambassador for the company; a larger issue.

Every person who works at a for-profit company or nonprofit agency represents their employer, whether they know it or not and whether they like it or not.  When encountering a rude or unhelpful customer service representative, the customer doesn’t feel that person is simply bad at his/her job, it reflects on the entire company.  “I called XYZ company and got this incredibly rude person, I’ll never use them again.”

In the public relations workshops we do for companies, we make the point that every employee, regardless of how invisible to the general public he/she is, represents the company.  It is a mistake for a company to think that only the CEO and PR department are responsible for the company’s image.  Image and reputation is projected by everyone in the company, whether it is their “direct” job or not.

From the person answering the phone, to the person shipping the merchandise, everybody plays a part in the customer experience.  That’s what true customer relations is about, when every employee understands that their job is not only to do their job, but their job will ultimately finds its way to the customer.

This understanding starts at the top and is relegated and delegated down.  Top management must understand the importance of every employee doing their best, and then instill that sense of responsibility in every person who collects a paycheck.