It’s always amazed me that many organizations and people get a pass from the public and media when things go wrong while others in the same circumstances get intense and negative media scrutiny.
This thought came to mind when I read an article on Bing and Google search results. From Search Engine Land (my favorite source for search related news):
Respondents were given two search result pages; one labeled “Google” and the other labeled “Bing” and asked which page of results they preferred.
Even when the page header labels were swapped, more users preferred Google. The Google page was chosen by majority of the respondents.
A second survey was given; headers were swapped with Google results listed as Bing results and Bing results listed as Google results.
A larger percentage of respondents still chose Google results, even though they were actually Bing search results.
Are you a Google?
In the digital world, no one is more respected than Google. I recently wrote an article as to how Apple has fallen from grace (http://www.leonardsipes.com/apple-and-public-relations-the-chickens-have-come-home-to-roost/) thus Google (and possibly Amazon) are now the undisputed heavyweights of the digital world.
How do organizations achieve Google-like status? That’s a question debated by public relation specialists; how do you define yourself to the public and media in such a way as to endear yourselves to all?
A simple formula:
Google set the stage with their “don’t be evil” declaration in early 2000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don’t_be_evil) thus with the stroke of a pen they declared a philosophy embodying customer trust and respect.
Whether Google deserves that esteem in 2013 is another story.
Google has had its fair share of failures throughout the years and a multitude of privacy advocates have expressed legitimate concerns.
Yet Google prospers. They do so because most in the public and media see them as honest purveyors of products and information.
Their representatives are accessible to media and podcasters. They talk about what they do and why. Rarely does a Google representative seem boisterous or forceful.
They give you a feeling that they are one of us. They seem to embrace an anti-corporate persona.
Are you honest purveyors of products and information?
Most organizations do not declare themselves as honorable people doing an honorable job.
They hide from the public and media and only present themselves through paid advertising campaigns.
Social media is foreign to them. They come across as being scared of their own shadows.
They are not open and accessible. Their representatives are overly cautious. They act like there is something wrong with who they are and what they do.
A simplistic assessment?
Heavens yes, it’s simplistic. And there are a multitude of reasons as to why people and organizations are cautious.
But Google has been relatively open and accessible (at least for the tech world) and regardless of failures and privacy concerns, they still get a pass from both the public and the press.
It’s not that they don’t get negative reviews, they do. But journalists and critics rarely go for the jugular.
You can fool some of the people…
There are endless PR consultants out there that pitch strategies that imply that you can fool and manipulate media and public opinion.
Sometimes simply admitting that you can’t and embracing a “don’t be evil” philosophy can make a significant difference.
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