The Most Critical Element in Public Relations

Gaye Carleton/August 22, 2019/PR

People often ask me why I chose the name Mantra for my PR agency when I rebranded the company, originally known as Carleton & Company Public Relations.

My answer is this: When a mantra is repeated over time, it alters perceptions, and that is exactly what a strong PR campaign does. It directs our attention, heightens awareness and informs our opinions, attitudes and beliefs.

But like the benefits of a mantra, successful PR campaigns don’t happen overnight.

They take time, repetition and what I consider to be the most crucial element in public relations. C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-Y.

If you think doing ‘a little’ PR for a couple months will propel you, your products or company light years ahead, slow your roll.

Unless you need PR for a special project, defined as a project with a specific beginning and end date such as a media tour, a festival or a product launch, any advantages realized during your time engaging in ‘a little’ PR dissolve the moment you stop.

My favorite analogy for this PR consistency dynamic is riding a bike up (and down) a series of hills with a group of your competitors. The plan is to get to the top of each hill and then use all that downward momentum – the fruits of your labor – to not only get you to the bottom of that hill but also to propel you at least part way up the next incline and the next.

You begin. Peddle, peddle, peddle. Inch by inch. Foot by foot.

It’s methodical, there’s repetitive effort, a strategy, and it takes the time it takes to go from Point A to Point B.

After all, you can’t magically will yourself to the top. You have to do the work, stay engaged in the process. And oh, let’s not forget the resistance you’ll encounter along this journey since, as we know from experience, the wind isn’t always at our backs.

At some point, you will, no doubt, look behind you to measure the distance you’ve come and to acknowledge your accomplishments along the way.

You’ve peddled faster than the majority of the other riders, certainly burned more calories than you did yesterday, plus you’re so very close to the top of that first hill.

Eureka! You’ve driven yourself forward and now you’re somewhere else.

“Terrific,” you say to yourself. “I’m almost there and I think now I can dispense with all of this exhaustive peddling business.”

And so you do.

Only one problem. Now, not only aren’t you moving forward, you’re rolling backwards, unable to put on the brakes, and in an eye-blink, you’ve returned to the original starting line while your competitors, committed to the long haul, are miles ahead.

Evidence of effective PR campaigns is everywhere. Look around. It’s an anti-aging product that’s made it into the pages of Allure’s “Best of Beauty” issue, a financial expert forecasting investing trends on CNBC, an author interview on NPR. And like mile markers on a bike route, they are reminders that you’re on the right path and moving forward. The trick is not to misinterpret them as end points.