Public relations should be a key part of any working vision, regardless if you’re a for-profit, not-for-profit or a volunteer organization. Despite what people sometimes assume, PR is not just about messaging. Sure, that plays a major role in the process, but it’s not the only concern. Your vision – and how you live it out – tells people quite a lot about who you are and what you’re really all about.
First and foremost, your vision communicates what’s really important to you. When you consider what you will allocate for your marketing and advertising budgets, how much of what you plan is in line with your vision? Do you even run your campaigns through that filter, or do you just go with what sounds like it might get results? Further, how you plan and execute those plans reveal a great deal about how important your vision really is to you. If your campaigns and ideas run contrary to your vision or create concerns and distractions outside your vision, it shows just how much – really how little – your vision means to you. This matters because if you don’t care about your vision, who will?
But this works the other way around, too. Your vision will dictate vital aspects of your business plan, your approach to business and your ideals in business. It will help determine if you take that call, pursue that opportunity or invest in that relationship. If it doesn’t, then you don’t really have a vision, you have a nice idea that is subject to someone else’s whims. Your vision also tells you – and others – where you’re headed. When you have a clearly articulated and easily understood vision, people can be comfortable in their understanding of what your enterprise is all about. But if your vision is a word salad of business speak and meaningless clichés, or if it’s so generic and broad no one can explain it in less than 30 seconds, then what you’re really communicating is confusion or apathy … and neither of these are words you want associated with your enterprise.
Finally, your vision offers a clear delineation of when you “get there.” It may be an incremental success, or it may be a long-term success, but vision accounts for both and defines both for anyone interested.
So, when you think about what your vision says about you, and what your actions communicate about your vision, how do you feel about that? Are you comfortable with those answers, or do you think there’s some room for improvement? Who do you think are visionaries in Public Relations?