Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off

by Jay Deragon on 05/26/2011

Public relations is about shaping the public’s opinion about your company,your brand and your product. Many organizations spend lots of time and money trying to create a favorable public opinion.  Organizations try to create a persona they think would attract the public. The problem is that most of these persona’s aren’t real.

The word persona implies a social role or a character played by an actor. This is an Italian word that derives from the Latin for “mask” or “character”.  People are sick of organizations putting on a face that “mask” the real intent, whether good, bad or indifferent. People, the public,  see beyond the mask yet the persona of today’s industry executives still think that leading is an act. As such they act out the part and over time end up believing the act rather than what’s real or being real.

When The Mask Comes Off

A lie is always discovered sooner or later. Yet how many times have we seen politicians and corporate executive lie to the public. More than we want to admit but enough that grabs our attention when the media exposes the lies and intents to cover up the truth with “mask”.

Today the power of media extends beyond traditional channels and now includes amateur journalist expressing real emotions  about everyone and everything, good, bad and indifferent. In other words the “mask” are being ripped off exposing real emotions and attitudes..

Leroy Stick, who started @BPGlobalPR on Twitter (pen name) writes:  So what is the point of all this?  The point is, FORGET YOUR BRAND.  You don’t own it because it is literally nothing.  You can spend all sorts of time and money trying to manufacture public opinion, but ultimately, that’s up to the public, now isn’t it?

You know the best way to get the public to respect your brand?  Have a respectable brand.  Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions.  Lead the pack!  Evolve!  Don’t send hundreds of temp workers to the gulf to put on a show for the President.  Hire those workers to actually work!  Don’t dump toxic dispersant into the ocean just so the surface looks better.  Collect the oil and get it out of the water!  Don’t tell your employees that they can’t wear respirators while they work because it makes for a bad picture.  Take a picture of those employees working safely to fix the problem.  Lastly, don’t keep the press and the people trying to help you away from the disaster, open it up so people can see it and help fix it.  This isn’t just your disaster, this is a human tragedy.  Allow us to mourn so that we can stop being angry.

The @BPGlobalPR twitter account has over 125,000 followers. The official @BP_America has 11,000 followersAsk yourself, which gets more attention? The public or the public relations?

Real Feelings Are Raw and Revealed

In a recent press conference BP CEO Tony Hayward said “I want this spill resolved more than anyone. I want my life back”. Mr. Hayward expressed real emotions which reflected how he felt.  The media jumped all over this and the public reacted in disgust.  Both his emotions and that of the public were raw and real.  The difference was the public has no patience with leaders who try and lead behind a mask. Especially when the leaders actions, or lack of responsible actions, lead to death and destruction of natural resources, people’s lives and livelihoods.

Social media isn’t hidden behind grammar,public relations mask, political or traditional media influences. Rather it is raw feelings expressed by the human network of real people and how they “feel” about those who hide behind an old mask called public relations.

Leadership is doing the right thing and doing things right. Social media is ripping off the mask and exposing the wrong things that leaders do wrong.

{ 32 comments }

Jonty Fisher June 14, 2010 at 1:55 am

Social media is ripping off the mask and exposing the wrong things that leaders do wrong: http://bit.ly/aJLci7

Dave Scott June 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs RT @TopsyRT

Dave Scott June 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs RT @TopsyRT:

Online Affairs June 9, 2010 at 2:38 am

#SocialMedia #PR http://ow.ly/1W253

AlistPR June 8, 2010 at 8:25 am

RT @TopsyRT: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs

Tabitha Edwards June 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/bKWnqt

Alex Hall June 8, 2010 at 6:17 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off – http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=10781

Sarah Jane M.L. June 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Great article. Thanks for sharing. RT @spyder_trap: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://ow.ly/1V12D

Diane Kulseth June 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs /via @TopsyRT

spyder_trap June 7, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://ow.ly/1V12D

ingenesist June 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm

RT @TopsyRT: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs

JDeragon June 7, 2010 at 10:58 am

BPGlobalPR twitter acct 125,000 followers. The official BP_America 11,000 followers. Which gets attention? http://dld.bz/gkD9

Daniel Durrant June 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

RT @JDeragon Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off Public Relations http://bit.ly/bySmSt

JonFerrara SocialCRM June 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off – http://ht.ly/1V0u2 #SocialMedia #PR

prblogs June 7, 2010 at 9:58 am

RelationshipEcon: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong … http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

JDeragon June 7, 2010 at 8:58 am

You can spend all sorts of time and money trying to manufacture public opinion, that’s up to the public, now isn’t it?http://dld.bz/gkD9

dan June 7, 2010 at 8:04 am

There are subtler forms now hitting social media – crowd sourcing is the new exploitation. The idea that someone would work for free in order to gain “Reputation” is built on the assumption that some “brand” is backing the reputation. The brands monetize their rep with cheap labor and they call it a social media miracle. Most of the “turking” does not pay enough to cover the cost of the education required to complete the task. Worse yet, turkers from impoverished countries are valued relative to the disfunction of their economy, not their inherent intellect and creativity. Seems now to be in the best interest of some crowds that global economies remain dysfunctional….

JDeragon June 7, 2010 at 7:16 am

#oilspill BP's Social PR: Ripping the Mask Off http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=10781

Mike Fruchter June 7, 2010 at 6:54 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://ff.im/-lBNj2

Allen Howell June 7, 2010 at 6:26 am

RT @TopsyRT: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/ayuVNs

GabrielleLainePeters June 7, 2010 at 5:05 am

RT @AronStevenson: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/a7JkqB #socialmedia

Joe Grasso June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong things … http://bit.ly/a7JkqB RT@JDeragon

Aron Stevenson June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/a7JkqB #socialmedia

Aron Stevenson June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/a7JkqB #socialmedia

smconnection June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong things that leader… http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

smconnection June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong things that leader… http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

Achievers Network June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong things that leader… http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

Achievers Network June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong things that leader… http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

prblogs June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

RelationshipEcon: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong … http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

prblogs June 7, 2010 at 4:58 am

RelationshipEcon: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off: Social media is ripping off the PR mask and exposing the wrong … http://bit.ly/9ppDqT

Angela Suddarth June 7, 2010 at 4:50 am

RT@JDeragon Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off:
Public relations is about shaping the public’s opinion about your c… http://bit.ly/bySmSt

JDeragon June 7, 2010 at 4:45 am

ReThink: Social PR: Ripping The Mask Off http://bit.ly/bovkGt #socialmedia #strategy

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