Last week we arranged a professional photo shoot for a client, followed by some shots of Beth and myself. The photos were stunning and I personally posted mine on Facebook, where it instantly attracted a lot of wonderful comments. I felt great to be admired for my ‘poster like’ looks and never before, apart from my birthday wishes, have I received so many responses for something that I posted on Facebook .
This is a small example of how professional input can turn someone from looking ordinary into something more photogenic, along with and the responses it can achieve. The same rule applies to brands. One reason it is essential for companies to have a great image both in terms of its brand and conduct is because people are increasingly passionate (both positively and negatively) about how they look and what they say.
The idea that companies have the same rights as ordinary people and therefore should be treated in the same manner as human beings has never been more powerful than it is now. For the last two centuries, this concept of corporate personhood has never gone beyond the boundaries of legal arbitration. It never caught the interest of the people. It was generally invoked where companies got caught up in legal entanglements that invariably brought into question what companies can or cannot do as virtual entities.
The emergence of social media changed all that. Brands are increasingly coming under public scrutiny, and as the BP experience showed last year, there can be serious fallout if they don’t handle their public relations well.
The premise of the debate is clear: corporates can no longer behave as an elitist citizen and remain aloof from the interests of their consumers. If the companies can take up residence in dozens of countries at once (which most real people can’t) and have other privileges, they should also be held accountable for their actions.
Clearly, brands need to be more creative not in the way they look but also the way they speak across the range of media platforms. Touching the heart and minds of people is a great way of engaging with the consumers. A good specialist PR strategy can not only help a brand to become a corporate citizen but a corporate statesman.
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