I recently read an article in Harvard Business Review, “Don’t Spin a Better Story. Be a Better Company,” that highlights the value in fixing your company as opposed to trying to use PR experts to change customer opinion. Companies hire or use internal PR to sway people into thinking they are a great company. As the article says, “I know what doesn’t work: thinking you can tell a better story without becoming a better company.”
Look at what you do well and double down
First, you should identify what your company is already doing that you are proud of. In the article, it comments on Walmart’s response to Hurricane Katrina, when the company provided meals, supplies and money to hurricane victims. While Walmart had (and still has) many detractors, the company not only realized it should publicize these activities but that it should also increase the frequency of this type of corporate activity.
The key is not simply to find something good your company is doing and publicize it, but to also build off of it. If you encourage your employees to help disadvantaged children, take steps to have more employees participate, pay for the employees to have tools that improve their effectiveness when giving help, give employees more time off to help the kids, etc.
In the Walmart situation, it started when the CEO asked “What would it take to be at our best all the time [not just when responding to Katrina]?” Walmart then made a strategic decision to go where those questions led. It identified areas where being better would have the biggest impact. Continue reading “Don’t say it, do it”