Estrogen Mafia Training (3): Become a Public Relations Asset

The branch of Public Relations (PR) suits women perfectly. Their networking, persuading “soft power” skills are really appreciated here. But how to assert yourself, when the competition is so unbelievably strong? How to become a real PR asset? Here are the darkest secrets about PR branch, so you can become a queen in your corporation, and your importance will be high! It means promotions, salary rises, career opportunities and much more…

We all need to persuade our vicinity sometimes, so you can use these skills everywhere. So this part can be inspiring also for a top management executive, who has to make the most critical decisions in the name of company development. You know the rules – business goes either up, or down! Nothing between that…

As a Public Relations Specialist, you stand in a unique position, where much power and influence can be acquired. You are tasked by the high management, to persuade the public and state structures about good intentions of your corporation, to understand your stance, and to support your corporate interests if possible. It means, that you can directly influence the company culture, which is defined by the way of communication with the outside world, and also influence the economic, financial results of your company. You can bring money for them, in large value, even millions of USD – just by your right decisions!

You have basically two options of your work methods. The first is usual, that you just accept the tasks given to you, for example, writing boring press releases, managing social media, communicating with customers and management. This way, you are doing the same work as thousands of other PR assets, both male and female. So you possibly won’t get noticed. You will accomplish your tasks, but all that great career opportunities will be taken from you by your professional competition.

Or, you can get noticed and recognized by the top management, and then the real gold mine of opportunities will be opened. How to achieve it? By bringing special advantages to your corporation, effectively, actively and successfully persuading the world, so many hard goals can be accomplished. That is the breaking point between an average employee and a talented employee, who gets a promotion, because he or she contributes massively to the success of his or her company.

If you want to be somebody in the PR branch, you will have to find solutions in most difficult situations. All of these (or similar) situations really happened. Here they come:

It’s the blessed year of 2004, far before world economic crisis, and the real estate market is in fast development, so every corporation tries to enter it, to build residences for the growing middle-class or shopping malls.

So your corporation decided to enter this battlefield as well, to stay competitive. And a great business opportunity occured: in the center of a Western capital, an estate is offered for sale by a local city quarter, which is, luckily for your company, low on funds, so they decided to sell some of their jewels.

And this grounds – it’s a diamond! Perfectly located, perfect traffic conditions and parking, vast business development in the vicinity, so it’s sure that a new city quarter full of rich yuppies and hipsters is being established… who would miss this opportunity, if the demanded price is quite reasonable?

So, here is your plan. You will buy this grounds for 50 millions USD, and you will build a shopping mall there, combined with luxurious flats, in the price of another 100 millions USD. Then, you will sell it to a hungry multi-national investment corporation. Your conservative estimation of the pure profit for this venture is about 100 millions USD, or you can keep the mall, own it and run it yourself, and another steady profit will be generated for next decades.

These numbers look attractive, but you understand, that you need to invest 150 million USD at first. And that is really serious sum! All resources of your corporation will have to be forfeited, you will have to sell all unused assets… the future of your whole corporation and all 1000 of her employess, who have families to feed, will be in stake!

We can agree, that this venture, although advantageous, is a significant business risk. There can be no mistake, no complication, otherwise your limited funds will dry and you will have to sell the half-built property with loss, and a big shame, followed by disgrace of share-holders and investors!

The situation is simple – you can’t fail, or you will lose everything. It has to be done absolutely smoothly.

OK, let’s do it, let’s take risk, we trust ourselves! Our team is the best, we can make it! The management made the final decision. We buy!

But there is a small complication with this property. Some members of the top management ignore it, saying that they see no problem, some are worried, that this could jeopardize your business plan. But the decision had to be made – and as a proverb says, who dares wins!

This “small problem” has to be solved by the Public Relations department. And you work there. In fact, your decisions will influence the fate of the whole corporation. Imagine that tremendous responsibility in your hands! One thousand of men and women, your colleagues and friends, and if you will fail, many of them will lose their jobs…

You probably guessed already, what is that “small problem”, able to jeopardize your business plans: it’s the public, the people, who often don’t like construction projects, and there is almost always some opposition to them. This opposition can be immensely strong, and they are able to foil any business activity.

The public must be perceived as a structure of high, even ultimate power, and never underestimated. From the beginning, a precise communication strategy must be specified, all possible scenarios anticipated, and only highly experienced personnel used.

It should be mentioned, that the public has many forms. Single citizens, politicians, NGOs, organizations of interest, but also your business competition, who has direct interest in foiling of your business, so they often use so called front organizations, to cover their activities in the matter.

Don’t be surprised, if several new NGOs will be established just days after you publicly announced the start of construction. And there is yet more entities, who can have interest to influence your matters, and they won’t hesitate to use this opportunity. It costs them nothing, and they can be attracted by many advantages, and money.

Remember, you have to estimate and to know all those entities in advance. If you forget any possibility, you can have big problem. You have to know your opposition – or let’s say partners in discussion – in advance. Only then you will be prepared to negotiate with them.

But it’s not that simple. It would be too easy if you would just sit with another side, drinking coffee, and they would change their stance easily.

There are two options – either there will be an exhausting battle between your corporation and the public, with uncertain results for you, or you will be able to persuade all of them. Only then you can succeed. Some entities can be persuaded with money, you know that from the media. Many entrepreneurs even anticipate this option in advance and they assign some part of their overall budget for this purpose. But other entities can’t be bought or bribed. Let’s talk about them.

Now, here is what can happen:

1) The people generally reject your business project, saying, that it would disturb the neighbourhood with strong traffic and fuel fumes, the living costs and rents will go up, so many old settlers will have even existential problems, and they will be forced to relocate

2) The grounds is a small park, and there is no other green place in the vicinity. People say, that you will take the only place with tress and grass from them, and instead of this sacred place, you will offer them a temple of consumerism

3) A single, old house stands there. And the owner doesn’t agree with selling his family property. To make this version more interesting, let’s say that his son is an influential local politician.

You will definitely agree, that things are getting really complicated here! You can see, that the opposition is strong, and they will unite, to be yet stronger. It is very easy to find a common enemy in a business corporation.

To make things yet worse, you are now between two stones – there is one thousand of employees of your corporation, many of them with families to feed and mortgages to pay, and the project could also bring many new jobs – for construction workers, suppliers, retailers… and the state economy would get more taxes!

And on the other side is the public, with their logical and partially right arguments, that you would damage their neighborhood with traffic and fumes.

So, you will have to solve this matter inside you at first. Then, you should start thinking about a proper strategy. Your task is nothing less, than to prepare a complex persuasion operation, so the project will succeed!

Now, think about that scenarios. What advancement would you suggest? Learn about suitable options in the following article.

Alan Svejk - alansvejk@alansvejk.com

alansvejk@alansvejk.com