What poop emojis taught me about PR
May 31, 2017
We have this tradition at P&G of ridiculous birthday cakes. We’ve had a T-Rex cake, a cake with someone’s cat’s face on it, a buffalo plaid cake, several massive doughnut cakes, a Christmas village, even a cake with trash on it.
Our most recent cake? A poop emoji cake.
Because we talk about poop. At work. A lot.
You know what else we do? Say fuck. At work. A lot. And we’ve caught a fair amount of heat for that. Now that you know about our poo chats, we’ll probably receive some crap <see what I did there?> for that too.
Which I find fascinating. As I’ve tried to break down why, I’ve come to the realization there’s a critical aspect of public relations many people outside the industry don’t understand.
We are chameleons.
It’s our job to figure out who we’re talking to, what they care about, how we connect to that and how to speak in a way that will matter to them.
We are constantly changing, shifting, evolving and adapting our tone, words, voice to match that of the person to whom we’re speaking, and do it in a way that is still genuine to that one dialogue.
We’re always aware of what is authentic for each of our client’s brands, and our own. Sure, we love a well-placed poop emoji here at P&G (bonus points if it’s a giant cupcake you can eat the Friday before a holiday weekend). And we know what works for our brand won’t work for a city or government agency or nonprofit.
I say fuck. And I recognize that’s not cool for most of our clients. Because I say it for me doesn’t mean I’ll say it for you.
And that’s where I think some folks get mixed up – they don’t realize how constant change is for a PR person. That we can be 10 different versions of ourselves at any given moment because we are constantly learning how to empathize, how to respect another’s experience and how to absorb a different perspective.
Understanding public relations means being authentic while also being able to connect with another person or organization’s unique take on this world. To understand many takes on this world.
My take is that you’ll appreciate a bit of well-placed poop emoji reflection. I am in PR, after all.