An ex-colleague once told me “perception is reality”. Being an impressionable newbie in the business who still thought she might have a career in corporate, I understood that she was basically giving me a gentle warning to be careful of “career-limiting moves” in the form of disagreeing with the hierarchy. **Woosah**
Public relations has historically been renowned for managing the public’s perception of an organisation. In more recent years, the evolving public has (sometimes not so gently) coerced corporate to evolve to also become more conscious citizens of the world. A world where authenticity is valued as much as product quality.
Brand loyalty is no longer an automatic result of being around for the longest or because our parents used the product or service, let alone reserved for the companies who can afford multi-million rand advertising campaigns.
Fortunately the information age has produced a much more discerning consumer. One who demands engagement, to be seen and to be heard. They understand their value and it’s going to be a matter of relationship with them as a public if you’re hoping for them to spend their bucks with you.
The public relations industry is now a far cry from what was once known as the dark side. It has finally become a profession where meaningful connection is valued and rewarded. A profession I’m proud to be part of.
PS: My ex-colleague meant well and I love her to bits but I am no longer utterly convinced that I’m destined to be a corporate ladder climber. Probably because I never truly subscribed to the notion of “perception being reality”. Thank goodness for that!
Cindy-Lee Minnaar is an impactor, communications specialist and the co-founder of Indika Communications.
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