It’s no secret that the marketing profession loves a good New Year trends prediction blog. Many of them offer genuinely useful insights.
One such blog that caught my attention talked about how personal branding and thought leadership will go beyond senior managers this year.
Blog author and Forbes columnist John Hall advised that adopting a businesswide approach to thought leadership can allow a variety of team members to target different audiences. I totally agree with this. The more you can raise awareness about experts within your business, the better.
On this topic, last week I had a meeting with a successful businesswoman who runs a B2C company. During our meeting we talked about public relations and the different ways in which a company can build a positive reputation. Our conversation naturally went beyond media relations and social media activity.
She told me how one of the most impactful pieces of community engagement activity she had undertaken was to empower a staff member to train as a sign language interpreter.
The employee had approached her with the idea of developing skills that would benefit deaf and hard of hearing clients, and spotting a good opportunity for all concerned, she wholeheartedly supported the initiative.
Whilst the move naturally generated its own positive publicity in the mainstream media, the company in question suddenly positioned positively itself amongst a specific audience as a go-to provider - perhaps the only provider in her area. Her business had achieved this out of a desire to be genuinely useful.
It’s a great story about meaningful employee development, and of the type which is ultimately of benefit to others, in this case members of the deaf community.
It demonstrates that there is so much more to developing your business’ profile than media coverage about products or services.
As a public relations professional with nearly 20 years’ experience, it’s more important than ever for businesses to look beyond simple media profile and establish mutually-beneficial relationships with a range of stakeholders.
A focus on serving audiences in specific areas can reap rewards.
As part of your communications strategy, good PR provider will help you to identify audiences and look at ways in which you might be useful to them. Naturally, the action has to come before the PR and it shouldn’t be done for PR’s sake.
The moral of the story is, if you have a team member who shows some initiative and requests support or resources for personal development, don’t just think about from a cost perspective; think about the potential for their journey of growth to play a part in your business’s success story.