NOTE: This article was originally posted by Don Osmond on his LinkedIn profile. With his permission, we have chosen to repost this article in order to make it more readily available.
Most grade school children are often asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And, although I was asked that question as well, it was far more common for people to ask me, “Are you going to grow up and be like your father?”
Now, I don’t know if I was asked this question because of my father’s career, or if it was due to the fact that I have exact name – yep, 100% junior. Or, maybe it was a combination of both.
Regardless, the question got me thinking.
There were times in my life when I felt proud and considered my fate; there were also times when I rebelled against it. However, over the years I’ve come to embrace my experiences in responding to this somewhat innocuous inquiry.
While attending undergraduate school, this question caused me to change my major multiple times – maybe too many times. But, I finally rested on communications: emphasizing in public relations.
Because (my life, up to that point) I had 20+ years surrounded by the media – both directly and indirectly – and, there were numerous times when the media had written derogatory and inflammatory articles about my family, and occasionally, me. To put it lightly – I was peeved. I was bound determined that if I got into PR, I could become the ultimate spin-doctor of spin-doctors.
My goal – to reverse the negative rhetoric of the media. It was a lofty goal, but I went about it the wrong way.
Not until I went back to school for an MBA did I come to this realization: the media will publish what the media wants to publish. What matters is that you are genuine, authentic and true; and that you share that story with all whom you meet. Eventually, the truth will always prevail. (Isn’t that why marketers wave the “transparency” banner?)
Well, the same principle holds constant for companies; good press or bad press is still just press, in the end. And, businesses that have marketing that aligns with its goals, mission, and purpose will come off victorious in the war of words and perceptions.
Navigating this conflict of audience persuasion is what excites me. I love visiting with business executives, sharing my experiences, and helping them pilot through the “marketing-sphere”. This is why I’m in marketing: to help business leaders create an authentic alignment of what a company says, and what a company does.
Because I believe that a company’s authentic narrative is the only unique selling proposition, which frames the customer experience.
Today, we live in a world where each individual (or business) acts as their own medium (i.e. social media), we are no longer bound by the pen of others. We have the ability to share our stories. The challenge is understanding what should be shared in order to provide value to our clients / customers.
One caveat to this concept is that people are becoming more skeptical of what they read, watch or listen to. The content marketing strategy has “muddied the waters” of marketing, PR and communications. People are searching for truth in an online sea of filth.
The bottom line… businesses that embrace their authentic narrative, and tell that story in complete transparency, will develop longer lasting, more valuable customers, and ensure protection against price wars and commoditization.
…I love what I do!