By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to manage how customers feel about your company. Reading time: 3:02
No matter what business you’re in, you’re in the Public Relations business.
All leaders are as President Abraham Lincoln so eloquently observed at the initial Lincoln-Douglas debate in Ottawa, Illinois in 1858 .Lincoln said :
“In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.”
Arthur Page, the first public relations director at AT&T, reinforced the power of public sentiment from a business perspective when he said more than 80 years ago:
“All business in a
democratic society begins with
public permission and
exists by public approval.”
Business begins with public permission and survives on public approval.
That should be the mantra of every business leader. After all it’s too easy to get too comfortable in our fish bowls of a business and forget that others are looking in – from all sides, at all timesAnd what they see is not actually what you see. After all, you can get pretty comfortable in your own fish bowl –as long as someone (investors) keeps feeding you and as long as someone (employees) keep changing/cleaning the fish bowl with new products and services.
That’s why the most effective leaders have a knack for looking at themselves as others see them.
With those public relations strategies well-integrated leaders can pre-sell customers, preempt the competition from pre-selling customers and present your product or service to audiences that may not be reached through marketing, advertising or sales promotion.
Public relations minded leaders can can more readily:
- Build incremental sales,
- Strengthen margins,
- Curb discounts,
- Earn third-party endorsement
- Attract and retain motivated employees
- Blunt unnecessary and costly regulations
- Align diversity,
- Generate new markets
- Rejuvenate old markets or invigorate faltering markets.
No wonder that public relations minded leaders can influence the behavior of others. The founder of the public relations profession –Edward Bernays –wrote his book Crystallizing Public Opinion in 1923 that public relations professionals were:
Applied social scientists who advise a client
or employer on the social attitude to take
to win the support of the publics upon whom
his or her or its vitality depends.
Seems like that’s the role of leaders in general. As one company president noted as he pointed to his PRESIDENT title on his door. “The first two letters in that title say it all.”
See yourself as others see you to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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