June 14, 2016

Amplifying Voices: PR for the Modern World

By: Jennifer Borba von Stauffenberg

Long before I knew what public relations was, I had a vision that I would support people in amplifying their voices to reach large audiences with inspiring and motivating messages. Thanks to Cyndi Lauper, in 1985, I saw this in full effect at her She’s So Unusual Tour. There she was on stage sharing a powerful message with thousands of people all at once. One voice, one message, and thousands of ears taking it in. She probably changed lives that night. Maybe even saved them. Even though I was only six years old, I understood what was happening. While I thought she was only talking about self-expression, I still felt the force of that one voice amplified and how it was so powerful.

When I finally earned the credentials to set out on this career path, I knew in the back of my mind I would one day create an agency, but for many years I remained reluctant because of the anticipated stress. I was right…it is stressful. However, there is really no other way for me to fulfill my life vision without facing my stress head on. I knew I could impact more lives by training powerful team members with the skills necessary to repeat success. Now, seven years into Olive PR Solutions, I see that I was right.

I continue to be moved and inspired by how our team works closely with clients to amplify their messages around the world. When the first couple of stories went viral, I thought that it was luck. Now, I realize that it isn’t luck at all. It is a recipe and it works every time. Here are the ingredients to a viral aka “amplified” story:

  • Courage. Regardless of strategy or skills, the core of every viral story is courage. The client needs to be willing to say something powerful and unique and most importantly, they need to be willing to put it out there. The Internet is a strange place; the Debby and Donny downers of the world always come out and you have to accept that.
  • Passion. In order for the world to notice, there needs to be passion and depth behind what you are saying or doing. It needs to be authentic.
  • Proof. People will want to see it with their own eyes, so be prepared with powerful images, videos, and other story telling tools to provide evidence. A photo is worth a thousand words. A video is worth more.
  • Timing. This is part of strategy, but is it the right time? Is the world ready to hear what you have to say? How does it relate to other things happening around the globe?
  • Will it inspire and provide hope? What the world needs now is love sweet love. Oh wait…I got distracted for a second…I do love that song though. But seriously, is it going to provide hope or awaken that feeling of love and inspiration? If yes, then it’s potentially a winner. People are starting to crave more love and less fear. We are looking for content that lifts us out of the grime and gives hope (or at least makes us smile).
  • Does it empower? Does your message empower action? Will people be able to redirect their own choices and behavior on account of hearing your message? When they read it, what can they do to support and show they care? This can be as simple as being prepared with your social media pages, so they can simply like it and become part of the movement.

I know strategy and execution are a big part of this, but the truth is that the message needs to be there and the client needs to have the courage to share it. Everyone has a story. Every life holds a message. You just have to be able to tell it in a powerful way.