I talk about trust a lot. If you or my clients didn’t trust me, I’d be sucking it up in a cube farm somewhere. So being real is important to me. However, I realize how you see me and how I see me are two different things. Appearances are important. That’s why when I work on building traffic, I may have the occasional contest, but for the most part I rely on good content and the power of community. I hope I come across as sincere in my sharing with you. I think I do, otherwise you wouldn’t trust me and come back every day.
Yesterday, someone said to me, “Good P.R. is often disguised as sincerity.” I can’t tell how you how true this is. The problem is, with so many people being “sincere” online, how do you know when someone truly means well and when someone is making a move in order to get some good publicity or practice good public relations? There are some things that I use to gauge the b.s. factor, and I’m interested in your perspective as well.
Here’s how I differentiate genuine sincerity from good public relations:
Consider the source:
Who is the person who is hyping or giving out the information? Is it someone who is consistent about what he believes in, especially in his goals or visions, or is he someone who changes his tune every week to suit his perception of what people are looking for? Is he someone who is a chameleon and changes to different things for different people, or is he someone who remains true to himself and his product and his brand? The people who mean well always mean well and don’t only do nice things when it’s convenient.
Consider the record:
Why is this business or brand doing what they’re doing? Is it something they’ve always done, or are they just rolling it out for a reason. Look into past instances. Does this brand or person have a history of changing his tune or way of thinking every month or two? Is there a new promotion every other week? If he can’t stay true to form and true to his mission, sincerity probably isn’t a strong point. People who care stay true to themselves and the people who follow their brand or community. It’s one thing to evolve with the needs of the public, but changing format or opinions every few months is confusing and doesn’t help to build a following.
Why is this promotion happening now? Why release this news now? Why the hype now? Why not quietly roll out new features or services? What is the motivation behind this business or individual’s decision? Why the major announcement? Has there been some bad press? Is it because a competitor is doing something similar – or a competitor is successful with the opposite model? Consider all these factors to determine if it’s P.R. hype or a desire to do good things for a community of people.
Everything happens for a reason. It’s up to us as users, consumers and community members to questions the things that seem a little off. Is someone being sincere in his desire to help someone? Is a brand sincere in their desire to give you the best quality for your money? Check the record, delve into the past. Ask yourself, “is this someone who has always been straight with me, or is this someone who has let me down in the past?”
How are some of the ways you can sniff out a P.R. attempt and what causes you to trust a business or a brand?