We’re often taught in public relations that transparency and openness are key factors in maintaining a good reputation. It seems now, with the increasing prevalance of social networking sites and the like, that this is more important than ever. But how can an organisation really be transparent? Is there an art in faking it? Or do companies really just need to deal with the fact that they the internet can expose them more than ever before? This seems to be a key concept that is coming up in my lit review research.
The Cluetrain Manifesto focuses largely on a shift from marketing speak to having real conversations with people about things they actually care about. In an open space such as the internet, companies need to address real issues with real voices, as TechnoLatin (as they refer to it) will be seen straight through. Now more than ever, organisations need to focus on relationships, not messages. However they seem to miss a point of public relations here – a key message is more than just a well-crafted sentence, it should be adaptable to conversations. A key message is a concept that can be incorporated through different forms of communications to make not only state the organisations view point, but also make sure the whole team is on the same track.
Jeff Jarvis makes an interesting point in his article Openness and the Internet regarding a similar point.
“The key to Facebook’s growth, I think, is that it moves past the tiresome fad of anonymity online to help us establish real identities and organize real relationships.”
Again, people want real people and real relationships. They don’t want a company slogan and tagline or official spokesperson, they want connectivity. They want to feel important as an individual. Organisations need to act on this.