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Perception Matters: 3 Tips for Always Looking Your Best.

In a heartbreaking video titled “The Importance of Appearances,” a social experiment unfolds that sets up the same scenario with two very different people.

In the first scenario, we see a person dressed as a homeless man collapse in the middle of a busy sidewalk, as if he were ill, and begin to cry for help. The pedestrians look curiously, but continue to walk by the man as he lies there for over 5 minutes with no assistance. The second scenario shows the same incident, but the person is dressed in a suit. Passersby immediately come to his aid, without him having to issue any cry for help. The intent of the video is to show that we’re all human and deserve to be treated as such. The video was released on May 12 and already has over 1.3 million views. Watch it for yourself:

One of the most fundamental jobs of any public relations professional when dealing with clients is to present them to the world in the best possible light.

In many cases, PR is only a piece of a larger puzzle that includes marketing, advertising, social media, and content publishing. At times, different departments handle all these pieces with no brand manager overseeing the continuity of the message. This can cause confusion in the eye of the customer, and create obstacles for PR agencies.


Think about all of the brand disasters that have occurred through social media.

Many times, individuals or companies without any oversight posted this content. Brand protection is imperative and it is the job of any good PR agency to assist in that effort. The smallest things, however, can create a certain perception and challenges, that with better coordination, oversight and planning, could have been avoided.


Here are a few tips to help you always have your brand well groomed in the eyes of your customers:


  1. Content Checking – Always make sure that any content you publish – no matter what kind – has a second set of eyes on it before you publish it. Typos and grammatical errors are easier to avoid when more than one person looks at it before it goes public. Publishing misspelled content is like going into the world with your zipper undone. You’ll get attention that you don’t want, and oftentimes nobody will tell you.
  2. Consistency – In a perfect world, every company would have a brand manager whose job is to ensure that all output is aligned with the message and image you want projected. Of course, that’s not always possible. At the very least, make sure that your departments are communicating and working towards the same goal. Identify your brand positioning and the appearance you want your brand to communicate. Then ensure that everyone is working to strengthen it.
  3. Process – In our world of instantaneous response and reaction, it is tempting to communicate instantly when customer issues are encountered. Every company should have a process for engaging upset customers or negative statements. Avoid reactionary engagement, as that can transform an issue that very possibly could have been defused, into a public relations disaster.


As the above video sadly illustrates, if you’re perceived as unworthy of attention, you might end up with none.

On the other hand, if you are always projecting your best possible image, people will pay attention when you need help and come to your aid. And nothing can diffuse a situation better than a customer who cares about your company and helps you when you need it.

Views: 361

Tags: advertising, appearance, brand, consistency, content, management, marketing, media, perception, planning, More…public, relations, social


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Comment by Brian Bennington on May 16, 2014 at 11:15am

Please Sara, don't misunderstand my comments as criticisms.  Most of the ADM posts are fact-laden and, dare I say, often boring, falling far afield from "entertaining."  I always look forward to you, though, because you are good at delivering both!  As to your brand manager solution, the person at the dealership who should handle it is the GM.  Their job is to "pull everything together" anyway.  (Maybe you should set up a consulting business to teach them the finer points of doing it.)

As to a "perfect world," my father continuously reminded me during those moments when I felt "let down" by people that, "Man among the angels is ludicrous, but with the animals, he can walk proud."      

Comment by sara callahan on May 16, 2014 at 5:22am

@Brian - I said "In a perfect world, every company would have a brand manager..." I'm not saying a dealership should HIRE a brand manager, simply that there should be someone in charge of monitoring & ensuring that all content produced supports the image & message it wishes to project.

Thanks everyone for the comments! 

Comment by Brian Bennington on May 15, 2014 at 7:50pm

Wow Sara!  As witnessed by the "frogger" video, which I thought was a real "reach" illustrating the points of your post, and the following comments by our ADM comrades which were equally bizarre, this may be the weirdest ADM blog I've seen to date.  (It's surely far beyond your classic "Sharknado.")  I do think your first tip is ultra important and worth a post by itself, but encouraging "every company to have a brand manager," especially when you're talking about dealerships, is to put it mildly, unrealistic.  (I'd love to see the expression on a GM's face when you offered a brand manager as a solution–to anything!).

In your third point, when you suggest having a set "process" to handle complaints to avoid "reactionary engagement," do you mean losing it and showing you "rear"? I'd say the secret here is real basic, being to "think it out before delivering a response," as in "think before you talk." (I guess that could be called a "process," but it's more like common sense and good judgement to me, both of which by the way I'm sorrowfully lacking in.)  Really, if you're having so many customer complaints you need a "process," I'd say not having one is the least of your problems.

As comments go, Alexander is his usual "I've got art for that" eccentric, but lovable, self.  It's hard to believe that behind that charming young face hides a cynical old man, actually a lot like me!  Ralph evidently didn't have time to philosophize with one of his always entertaining personal stories, and instead posted some questionably related stats retrieved from his gigantic "statistics and graphs" vault.

However, the most shocking comment came from Tom LaPointe, a self-acknowledged "journalist, writer and car guy," expressing what I'd regretfully refer to as a ridiculously cavalier attitude about "typos and errors," and then justifying it with a comparison to TV anchor people and the modern crutches available on the most basic computers. Come on, Tom.  You were one of my first "friends" on ADM, and I've read your bio in awe several times, even though it always makes my "BD" act up!  You're damned near a hero to me, but try as I might, I don't believe autocorrect, social media, emails, twitter, etc., ad nauseam will change the English language.  Commenting here is recreation for me, and I live with the typos (although I'm always ashamed when they're mine), but when I'm ghostwriting sales letters and such for my clients with the meter running, nothing goes out without two or three of my much-more-educated-than-me staff proofing them.  And, I'd bet big money that if I was writing for you, that cavalier attitude about errors and typos would mysteriously disappear! 


Comment by Alexander Lau on May 15, 2014 at 6:49am

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 15, 2014 at 6:37am

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 15, 2014 at 6:36am
Comment by Alexander Lau on May 15, 2014 at 6:34am

Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 15, 2014 at 6:30am

“Recognizing the impact of interconnectivity between different risks is a top priority for risk managers” Axel Theis, CEO Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on May 14, 2014 at 7:03am

Great piece; great video. I like your approach. As a professional writer and journalist I like point one about typos and errors, but, I honestly don't think that is as much of an issue during an era in which tv anchorpeople routinely ask their field reporters "where are you AT?" and other less heinous butchery of English. Plus, social media, autocorrect, and twitter have transformed the English language (and its importance) more in the past 5 years than in the past two centuries.

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