I have some sad news to report: Lou Albano is dead. You might ask, who is he? Lou was a professional wrestler and managed other wrestlers. He even played Cindi Lauper’s father in her music videos.
As a child, my father took me to the professional wrestling matches in Philadelphia (go Phillies, you can catch up in the World series!) and I hated Lou. He was one of the dark characters played out in the ring. However, while we bought tickets to the cheap seats ($5) we often exchanged them for close views of the wrestlers. That’s because my dad knew an usher and he moved us from the cheap seats to the primo locations that had not sold out.
To show his gratitude to this usher, my father would give him a pint of whiskey (I don’t advocate drinking liquor anymore) to show our appreciation.
The PR laugh for me is that marketers and public relations professionals are so keen on social media and new ways to spread our clients’ messages. And while that is very important, there’s nothing like remembering the positive impressions that come from showing appreciation.
That’s why whether it’s a writer at the New York Times or a blogger in Chicago, I insist that our staff show appreciation, with at least a sincere note (handwritten is preferred). That’s the ultimate way to spread your message virally.
A good friend I made initially from on-lines communications is Dr. Toy.
She is one the people I respect most when it comes to children and play. I even contacted her when my wife was pregnant to get advice on how to best interact with an new infant!
Recently, Dr. Toy sent me a link to a blog posting: PR rules my daughter learned in kindergarten.
I could not have said it better, that while everyone is all a whirl about social media and on-line networking, public relations will always boil down to some basic communication skills we should have learned early in life.
When I first started my public relations agency, one of my media contacts told me that learning public relations should have started when as a child we were taught to “send a ‘thank you’ note to Aunt Sue for the red sweater.”
I read a report titled: The State of the Public Relations Industry prepared by Paul Holmes
. I loved what the it said about how public relations is changing in the face of social media and how it remains the same:
“Historically, public relations people have identified those people most likely to influence their client’s target audience, told the client’s story to those individuals, and then relied on those individuals to tell their story to the wider audience. Traditionally, those individuals have been journalists—relatively easy to identify, with obvious needs and interests. Today, those individuals can be bloggers, citizen journalists, or indeed anyone with influence: a hairdresser in the case of women’s products, a priest or minister in the case of a social issue. They are harder to identify, and understanding their specific information needs and desires requires more work, but the process remains the same: identify them, tell them a story, rely on them to tell the story to others.”
The laugh for me is that people think public relations in the 21st Century is all about technology. And I agree, you need to know the features and benefits of electronic communications. Yet it’s really a means to an end.
On the bus today, two young people bump hard into me and did not even apologize or acknowledge what they did. I don’t care how robust their Facebook pages are, they missed setting up their “personal profile” when they did not learn some basics back in in kindergarten.