If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation

These words by Don Draper have many guises.

Business calls it PR.

Politics calls it spin.

Silicon Valley calls it disruption.

Football may as well call it a Jose Mourinho interview.

Advertising calls it… advertising?

Changing the conversation in many industries is considered an art form; something businesses and politicians pay for the privilege.

‘It’, quite simply, is a means to an end.

To position yourself as better than everyone else. To improve your reputation. To manage a crisis.To throw mud at the opposition. To make others ‘forget’ past mistakes.

It all has a purpose.

At best, the goal is to change the perception in your favour – through a positive story, customer testimonial, game-changing service, or unique content.

At worst it’s a brazen attempt to dangerously swerve accountability, and swiftly, but temporarily, manoeuvre yourself out of the limelight.

Politicians know that reputation matters and they can immediately shift perception; even if they might be attempting to ‘game’ Google’s algorithm by “painting buses”.

The game, and it is a game, is to make it seem like the opposition is failing more than you are.

You can fail, just don’t fail as badly as they do.

It causes massive divides, unnecessarily riles up political polarisation and can instantly erode government trust (if it ever had it in the first place).

Business too has its fair share of deflection tactics, through negative PR.

From illicitly controlling the diamond trade to jack up prices, to woefully mis-managing the deaths of 346 people in air disasters – business isn’t immune from examples of appalling comms.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Changing perception can still come about through high-quality, legitimate content. Real stories or beliefs that engender goodwill in the minds’ of your audience.

Crucially, they can be honest, considered and open.

You don’t have to be Malcolm Tucker, Edina Monsoon or the late Max Clifford, but you can provide clients with a service that cuts through the noise and delivers – without harming them, or others.

Change the conversation if you need to; don’t destroy it.

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Dave

Dad, digital marketeer at Tank PR, Derby County fan, film buff, book worm and husband. In that order, but don't tell the wife.