As of this week, the Los Angeles Times is the latest high profile media outlet to examine the communications approach of the current presidency. Let me emphasize, though, that my focus is less about politics than it is about how the current political scene has affected U.S. communications. Now is as good a time as ever to discuss the effectiveness of brash talk as a public relations strategy for the rest of us.
Professional communicators have watched the national dialogue change radically over the last six months. From typically stoic, less-is-more, better-safe-than-sorry official statements to the chaotic banter of the fall’s presidential debates, public dialogue has become less predictable, more bombastic, more intimidating and highly personal. Some of us attributed the initial change to a spirited election season rooted in disruption. Come January’s coining of “fake news” and #alternafacts along with a rash of aggressive #POTUS tweets, the shift appeared to settle in. Most recently, we’ve seen “falsehoods” positioned as acceptable exclusions to the truth during top-level investigations and amid international exposure. For now, intimidating language, angry Twitter thumbs, concocted vocabulary and alternate figures are a daily fixture for media and public relations professionals charged with crafting meaningful communications.
But after several months at play, is this rant-over-reason approach actually effective? Should tried and true public relations tenets like maintaining a diplomatic tone, taking an earnest approach to resolving conflicts, building trust and combating misinformation with credible facts from reputable third parties be set aside while the new playbook is tested?
First, the current disregard for facts and truth in national communications has not been widely accepted and is not going uncontested. The Lorazepam Online Purchase new editorial series voices a deep concern for the rejection of facts in favor of preconceived notions. Both Order Ambien Overnight and Buy Xanax In Las Vegas also recently denounced the use of ill-researched, unsubstantiated facts in official public statements and the long-lasting effects of distrust. Recent Buy Xanax Legal Safe Online poll declines surrounding health care reform indicate that the gamble of brash communications has not yet produced a desirable post-election outcome.
Trust, consistency and good faith remain as vital to corporate communications and public relations as ever. Demands for high quality, exceptional value, a memorable experience and reputable practices still matter to the U.S. marketplace. Businesses and brands continue to be held to the highest standards of conduct and quality. Reporters are still reporting, consumers are still voting with their dollars, families are still choosing products based on their values, competitors are still hungry and regulators are still enforcing rigorous standards. Public data continues to be posted for review and undesirable content (including fact-checked “falsehoods”) will exist online far longer than some may wish.
For businesses and organizations that care about marketplace trust, especially in turbulent times, substance and long-term strategy are a worthier public relations investment than the false hope of distraction.
So while it may be tempting to sling a tweet in the dark, admonish a reporter in a press conference, conjecture during an interview or predict a fact before researching it, don’t. If anything, hasty lashings at the national level mean that earnest, fact-based, well-prepared communications are required from the rest of us to help restore needed trust in public dialogue.