Where does good PR start? It begins in the heart.
A pair of recent stories drives this point home: the Riley Cooper racism scandal and the Lance Corporal Kerr “mission.”
These two situations could not be more different, yet they have a critical common thread. Both sets of actions occurred without thought of public perception or positioning. They were acts that reflect the genuine spirit of the two men’s hearts.
For those who missed the video, NFL player Riley Cooper was caught on tape making a hateful, racial comment during a Kenny Chesney concert. Not only did he damage his reputation, his words could have a negative impact on both the Eagles team and the country music star. No one would appreciate the association with such ingorance.
On the flipside, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Myles Kerr was participating in a Michigan 5K footrace. He became the de facto running mate of a 9 year old boy who became separated from his running group. Kerr stuck with the boy, encouraged him to finish and helped reunite the child with his party.
The cost to the Marine? He finished dead last in his age category. For the über competitive soldier, that might seem a tough pill to swallow. But in reality, the young man stayed true to his oath by serving his country in an unusual way.
Both men made choices, one good and the other bad. In the heat of the moment, their character was obvious.
No amount of PR can ever replace the facts for both stories. Spin control always comes in second place to authenticity.
The lesson learned is that the best PR campaign reflects genuinely held values. Being sincere is always the best formula for success.