Penelope Trunk, a keynote speaker at the conference, said something to the effect of “it’s all about spin.” If you want to see PR people get REALLY defensive REALLY quickly, say the word “spin.” The reaction is amazing!
Spin has become synonymous with lying. “Spin doctor” was the moniker given to PR people, who some said twisted truth – even outright lied – to keep damaging facts under wraps. Even to a lesser degree, we’ve been accused of “spinning” non-stories to try and get placements for our clients.
I used to cringe when I heard the word “spin.” I still do a little. No, I don’t lie to get news stories for my clients. I’d bet most PR people don’t. Reporters know a good story when they hear one and they act – importantly so – as gatekeepers to make sure real news gets shared.
Let’s be honest, though. We do “spin” to some degree, but it depends on your definition of the word. It’s not about lying. It’s about polishing. Here’s an analogy.
EVERYONE polishes themselves up before going on a date, right?
Showered. Nice outfit. Combed hair. A little cologne. Cool shoes. Breath mints. Maybe a small wrap of flowers. Washed and vacuumed car. Show up on time.
You get the picture. It’s not that you’re not presenting the real you. It’s you…polished.
Polishing yourself up a bit and being thoughtful about how you present yourself doesn’t mean you aren’t a great catch. Likewise, a brand being thoughtful about how it presents itself doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a great story to tell. Sometimes, you just need a little help understanding the newsworthiness of the many layers of your brand. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Does “polish” make you cringe like “spin” does? Do great PR people polish their brands and clients to help tell their stories? Is there anything wrong with that?
*Image by Miguel B.