Often, secretive people (and companies) have a “scarcity mindset.” If someone else wins, they (de facto) lose. Because of this, they hoard information and begrudge others’ accomplishments. They are wired to protect their turf. It’s more important to be right than to arrive at the best possible answer.
Collaborative people, on the other hand, see good fortune as a something to grow, build expand. They are inspired by the success of others. As a result, they share information and build on others’ accomplishments. They adapt their own thinking to reflect valid feedback. They believe that when others win, they oftentimes benefit too.
Of course, most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes. But, each of us (and the work cultures we create) skews in one direction or another.
There are many factors that determine whether a company is ready for public relations and/or social media. Some have to do with business goals and resources. Others have to do with audiences. But, one important and rarely-addressed factor is its world-view.
- Does the company (and its spokespeople) believe that success and long-term relationships are built on collaboration?
- Do spokespeople genuinely enjoy helping others learn and exchange ideas?
- Do they see other industry voices (even competitors’) as valid and, at times, beneficial?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then earned media is a natural fit. If the answer is “no,” some good questions to ask are: “What’s behind the resistance? Does the company care more about beating competitors than connecting with customers? Is the company willing to ‘give’ (early on) to ‘get’ (down the road)?”
Earned media – especially social media – is a relationship sport. What are some other tell-tale signs that companies are ready to play?