This morning my kids taped my lips shut. Literally. It seems that I am physically incapable of allowing them to get up, eat breakfast, and get ready for school without nagging and reminding them about every little thing under the sun. Thus, the tape. Which, by the way, I willingly agreed to last weekend never thinking it would come to pass. My 7 year old informed me that all my reminders actually distracted him from whatever task he was setting off to do, thereby slowing him down rather than helping him along. The boys (including my husband) lacking any confidence in my ability to zip it suggested that I was allowed one reminder, then they would put tape over my mouth.
So, this morning, as I mutely went about making breakfast, something occurred to me. For someone who has built her career around communications, how could I not have heard the message I was sending to my kids with all my reminding? YOU CANNOT DO IT ALONE. YOU’RE NOT CAPABLE OF GETTING YOURSELF UP AND READY FOR THE DAY. Of course, I never said any of those words, but any of us in marketing know that it’s not what you say that matters, but rather the feeling people are left with that counts.
It was such an “aha” moment to me. PR is about building relationships and trust, about a consistent stream of communications all reinforcing a single message. I often advise clients to take the time to craft clear and concise mission and/or branding statements, and then measure each and every piece of their communications plan against those ideals. Does this tactic reinforce the brand? Does it support your mission? If so, it’s a keeper. If not, scrap it.
And the same goes for PR as Parenting Relationships. It is much more important to me that my kids feel my confidence in them than it is for them to remember their homework. Every time I open my mouth, the message should be I TRUST YOU TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS. I HAVE FAITH IN YOU AND YOUR ABILITIES. Until I perfect this strategy, I must say the tape does come in handy, and it gave my family a good laugh.
The groundwork for this “aha moment” was laid years ago by a brilliant woman, mother and friend, Vicki Hoefle, who teaches a life-changing class called Parenting On Track. Even though I believed her advice at the time, I guess I had to come to my own personal understanding of how her program could work for me. Being the Type A planner that I am, relating her advise to a communications strategy was like a lightening bolt. Define the message. Craft the tactics to support the message. Execute.
No doubt, this particular marketing plan will require a lot of improvising and constant refinement, but I’ve said all along that my kids are my most important client, so I’m willing to put in the time (and probably, literally, blood, sweat and tears).
One last note, just in case you were wondering. The boys were on time and prepared for school today.Filed under pr | Comment (0)
It’s usually not until Christmas morning when you can’t even see the living room floor through all the toys, gifts, wrapping paper, and discarded packaging that I look around and feel a little gross about the unabashed consumerism that has just taken place. But this year, I started hearing Christmas music right after Halloween, “Black Friday” deals started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, “Cyber Monday” became a five day event, and some new days popped up to get us shopping: “Small Business Saturday” and “Green Friday,” for example. To top it off, my inbox and mailbox are overflowing with holiday offers, and I’ve had at least 3 people ask me if I’ve finished my Christmas shopping. Eeeks! That old familiar craze that often fills my head this time of year was beginning to buzz before the Thanksgiving turkey was done roasting!
And then something put me over the edge. Not sure if it was seeing my kids trading Halloween candy while perusing Christmas catalogs, or that I fell for buying a Christmas List app. (Ok, I’m actually enjoying the app quite a bit). Am I the only one for whom this Christmas marketing extravaganza has backfired? You know how they say TV shows “jump the shark” at the point when they go completely overboard trying to keep viewers interested and it actually has the reverse effect? I think Christmas may have jumped the shark this year. Instead of buying into the perception that I need to buy! buy! buy!, I’ve turned a deaf ear. The catalogs go straight to the recycling, emails are instantly deleted. Christmas is not just a time to go shopping. In fact, too much shopping takes most of the joy out of the season for me. Not only that, but with all the sales going on and the news reports that retailers are desperate for this to be a good season, I certainly wouldn’t buy anything full price. Is that what the major retailers anticipated collectively? Or are they just trying too darn hard?
Today is the first day of December–the official start of the countdown to Christmas– and I’m turning the channel. I’m going to find a new show with a fresh perspective. I really do love this season, and actually I’m really glad that, for me, the Christmas hype came and went between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Now I can enjoy the next 24 days with peace of mind. I’ll be buying gifts (and checking my list app twice) for all the people I love in my life, talking to my kids about the joy of giving (not just receiving), and enjoying this spirit of the season with my friends and family. Happy shopping and happy holidays.Filed under pr, Uncategorized | Comment (0)