What PR Pros Can Learn at Museums

weSurprise. Intrigue. Guilt. Happiness. New-ness. Nostalgia. Desire. I noticed that successful campaigns had at least two of these emotional elements.

It’s not just about acting, good visuals or sad violin music.

Good, effective campaigns start with clear communications:

a crystal vision of where we want to be

a determined way of hacking out a path.

For us who are writing — whether to sell products, to change minds, to transform society – developing an emotional hook is important to getting our target market to respond.

A few weeks ago, I went on a feelings spree with another PR colleague.

We traveled to the National Museum to answer some questions:

“Paano ba humugot at saan ba huhugot?”

hugot – an emotional response & a wellspring of creativity.

Here’s what we found:

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Every story we write must set us apart.

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Catching the essence requires focus.

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Putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes helps us write more authentically.

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 The art we saw were were visualizations of specific calls to action.

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When words are cheap & fame is easy, it’s our mastery of story that will help us establish a brand of renown. 

The Essential Invisibles

Who hasn’t worked with someone they disliked? I’m sure, many of us have worked with people who made us uncomfortable or whose values completely clashed with ours.

Sitting across difficult clients or hotheaded superiors can be psychologically taxing — especially if you’re a PR pro. It can be hard for people to distinguish between personable & pushover —  doubly so when  you make it a point to give your critical feedback in a calm, pleasant way!

At times, the road of least resistance can be far, far more appealing. Upholding what is moral and ethical while your boss fumes in the boardroom? Forget it.

After all, there’s only so much feedback you can give — and besides, if he doesn’t want to listen (to advice he paid for!) — it’s his funeral, right?

Wrong.

It’s easy to grin and bear it. It’s easy to let a difficult client continue a foolhardy strategy. It’s easy but it’s not right.

As communications professionals serving the public through our work with media, we have to accept that we’re not doing anyone favors if we take the easy road. It’s a disservice even to ourselves.

My remedy for such situations is simple:

  1. Treat it like a classic communications challenge. Dispense your advice 3 different ways: appeal to logic & facts, appeal to emotion, and most of all — highlight why it is advantageous for the client to follow your advice.
  2. Let them decide and take a step back. One of two things will happen. Either client will see your way and follow your suggested course of action or she won’t! (Sometimes,  I like taking a walk after I’ve expended all my energy in convincing my boss to follow a certain course of action. Mind you, I don’t walk out. I just take a walk after the meeting has adjourned…)
  3. Respect their position. Try your hardest to realign your course of action with your superior’s chosen strategy. Forget your misgivings & hope that they are right. And if it turns out that they are not, forgive them.

“What rubbish,” you might tell yourself after going through the trouble of reading through my 3-point remedy. And that is OK.

You see, doing what is right isn’t about being right. It’s not about oneupmanship. 

Save yourself from the psychological stress of seeing your well-laid plans fall apart. Salvage your relationship with your work colleagues. Hold fast to the essential ‘invisibles’: integrity, ethics, and forgiveness.

Happy weekend!

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3 Reasons why I miss agency life

I’ve been working on the client side of PR now for over 2 years. While I’m glad I moved to “the other side” — there are days when I miss the dynamic agency environment.

So, to quell my ‘homesickness’ (and let’s face it: for many PR pros, the agency can be home…14h workdays notwithstanding!) here are the top 3 things I missed from my agency time:

I miss the thrill of pitching.  

Fresh ideas. New people. If you weren’t keen on pitching stories and dreaming up new executions; you had no place in a PR agency. The fast-paced (and sometimes cutthroat) environment was challenging.

Challenging and rewarding.

You knew when you won the pitch, you knew when you lost the client. Plus, there’s nothing that can keep you on your toes more than meeting a roomful of strangers almost every week. When you communicate with unknown quantities, there is no choice but to be as clear as possible.

There was little constraint on the amount of “dream time” you could invest in a project…provided that you could deliver & meet your deadlines.

The deadlines.   

I never thought I’d say this but I miss the ironclad deadlines of the PR agency. We usually dealt with finished products. This means, I never had to worry about manufacturing issues & other issues brands faced internally. There was no mental waiting time between a product idea & a launch — what landed on my desk was ready to be hyped up.

The regroup.

Speaking of hyping products up — if there’s one thing agencies know how to do — it’s going back to the drawing board when things don’t go as planned. Agile creative teams know when it’s time to let go of an idea they’ve developed to service their client (and the public!) better.

So there. It’s out of my system. Back to working for the dark client side. 🙂

 

Women at the Wheel

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Quintessential mode of transportation in the Philippines: the jeepney.

Para sa lahat ng mga babaeng nasa manibela at sa mga walang sawang buma-backride para banayad ang biyahe at di kulang-kulang ang bayad.

For all the women who persist and everyone who lends their time & talents to advancing women’s rights – those who make sure the vulnerable are never shortchanged, salut! 🙂

Have Yourself a Cashless Little Christmas

Feeling forced to buy gifts? 

The social pressures and the financial burden of gift-giving can turn anyone into a Grinch.

For us though — market researchers, digital marketers & PR pros who are working in an organization that seeks to serve the nation’s poorest — the holidays bring even harder questions than “who gets what?”.

Why must we keep on anchoring generosity on material gifts?

How can we push for more mindful giving?

How can we go beyond buying a social enterprise gifts?

Well, instead of bemoaning the financial and social costs of giving everyone a present, a couple of work colleagues & I came up with a new way to be generous this season! 🙂

In lieu of buying gifts, we had a “cashless Christmas” instead.

How does it work? Gifts must cost nothing & must be based on a singular idea. Whether the idea is in the realm of tried & true tips or inspiring mantras is all up to the giver. The only requirement for the exchange is that the piece of paper or cardboard containing your idea is “display-able”.

Here are some of the (amazing!) things we received:

Ideas are precious & powerful gifts worth sharing.

Merry Christmas! 🙂 

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Pinay & Proud: inspiring young millennials to go beyond ‘snap-worthy’ adventures

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Go beyond ‘snap-worthy’ experiences & doing things for the ‘gram. You were made to shine: this the what we’d like to impart to the young audience of the upcoming Pinay & Proud Summit.  

Ten exemplary women will be featured at Human Nature’s 1st Pinay & Proud Summit. Pinay & Proud is part of Human Nature’s longstanding campaign to highlight the lifework of Filipino women from all walks of life, Pinay & Proud honors the unique and exceptional values of the Filipina: nurturing, courageous, kind, and beautiful.

Themed “Your Goodness Shines”, the summit will be held at Benilde’s School of Design and Arts Theater on October 19. Part of Human Nature’s longstanding campaign to highlight the lifework of Filipino women from all walks of life, Pinay & Proud honors the unique and exceptional values of the Filipina: nurturing, courageous, kind, and beautiful.  

 

The campaign’s youth focus comes at opportune time. In a report published by the National Youth Commission in 2015, half of our country’s population will be under 25 years old. The report adds that “passion, experience, adventure and meaning are just some words that define today’s millennial.”

 

“We brought back Pinay & Proud because we felt that many of our youth are looking for role models. Our honorees are not just an inspiration because of their personal achievements in life, but because of their commitment to serve others,” explained Human Nature Co-Founder and President Anna Meloto-Wilk.

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