Moving Houses: 5 PR Lessons

May 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Featured Articles, News

moving houseI have just spent the last couple of weeks engrossed in moving houses. Packing up an entire household, even to move up the road, left me little time for much else, including blogging. However, as they say, once a PR practitioner, always a PR practitioner, and with little more on the brain than moving house, I started thinking about the connection to public relations. I realized that however unlikely it may seem, there are actually several PR lessons we can learn just from moving houses, namely:

- You cannot do everything all at once. Prioritize
- Research saves time and money
- Plan your next move
- Sort through the junk
- Cultivate a happy environment

1. You cannot do everything at once: Prioritize

My husband and I love the new house. It has so much potential and in years to come, we hope to develop and improve it. Endless hours of discussion have been poured into what we want to do with our house. Realizing we cannot do everything all at once, we have selected crucial action items from those that can be pushed off to the near and far future. The ultimate goals, however, do remain a priority.

It amazes me how often businesses do not apply this thinking to their communications plans. Ask a company what their PR goals are, and you would be surprised at the answer – or lack thereof. Before beginning a PR plan, listing one’s PR and communications objectives is crucial. Even more critical is understanding what is attainable in the near future, and what can be achieved only after many months, if not years of hard work.

2. Research saves time and money

I did not want to reinvent any wheels but since we had a limited budget, I realized to maximize my outcome, I had to invest my time into conducting some research. I spent several weeks researching which suppliers to choose, from movers, to contractors, to painters, to carpenters. I still would not call myself an expert, but at the end, I felt very confident about my choice of suppliers. The same concept applies to business. Whether it is starting a business, creating a product, or communicating a message, research is crucial. The more thorough the research, the less time and money is wasted in the future. This may seem obvious but it is remarkable how often this critical step is ignored or overlooked.

3. Planning your next move

I feel like I’ve been living and breathing “moving” for the last several months. From the day we signed our contract, I started planning. I spent much time going to the new place, looking it over and deciding what I needed to do. With two little children, I needed to be as organized as possible in the build up to the move. From deciding what furniture goes where, to what we’ll need to buy, to who was doing what, everything had to be planned. This is much like any business, including PR activities. Just like (I would hope that) no business is created without a business plan, so too, no PR activities should be embarked on without an adequate plan in place. Even if that plan has to be readjusted as time goes on, formulating strategy in accordance with business objectives has far greater chances of success.

4. Sort through the junk

After five years of living in one place, it was a given that we had collected many unnecessary items. In an effort not to take any unwanted junk to our new home (I still seem to be throwing out many items) I spent countless hours going through closets, and sorting through items and possessions. It was extremely therapeutic to donate bags and bags of old clothes and unnecessary or unused objects to needy people. When it comes to PR, “sorting through the junk”, so to speak, is also an extremely beneficial process. After several months of implementation, a PR plan and program has to be reassessed. Regardless of budget, no company wants to waste precious resources on something that is not working. Trends change, technology advances and economic climates may alter. Evaluating the process enables one to put more resources into what is working and eliminating what is not.

5. Cultivate a happy environment

Choosing a moving company was not easy. There were hundreds to choose from and I have had such bad experiences in the past (when we moved 5 years ago, one worker almost hit my husband), I did not want a repeat performance. I interviewed several companies, checked references and weighed up the overall cost value. Our decision at the end was made based on our gut instinct (or rather my husband’s). We made the right choice. I have never come across more willing, happy movers. They worked hard to pack and move our entire household without any hassles or complaints. In fact, they could not do more for us. Their happiness and willingness to work, made the whole event extremely pleasant. Like it or not, feelings are always communicated whether through verbal or non-verbal cues. Whatever the business, whatever the plan, cultivating a happy work environment is vital to ensure its success. A PR program cannot thrive when there is no synergy and when the team players involved are disgruntled or unhappy. Remember, whomever the target audiences are, happiness, unhappiness, anger or satisfaction will always be conveyed in one form or another.

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