Be a Gardener


So, yeah, it’s been a while. Stuff happens.

Let’s think big.

Frankly, I wonder about the changing face of what we do and wonder if
we’re not too much in the weeds. Too much focused on the minutiae of
our work to see the larger goal.

Is our goal to create a “viral” campaign or message? Should it be?

More and more I’m starting to think that it’s not—well, it shouldn’t be anyway.

The goal should be to create a campaign that is good enough and
interesting enough for people to interact with and forward to their
friends. That’s the essence of a viral campaign, you say? Sure, but we
should do more.

The goal should be to integrate one’s messages so deeply into our
public’s lives that their conversations are sprinkled with the
information we’re continually providing. The post-campaign era, if
you will.
Your ideas are taken by members of the public and passed
off as their own stories, enhanced by their own experiences and
flavors. Your goal should not be to communicate an idea, but to plant
a bed of ideas and let the earth, sun, wind and rain grow your garden.

For emergency comms, this has the double benefit of ensuring that your
publics don’t need to be reminded to look to you in an emergency,
because they already are. You’re their friend (and not in the Facebook
sense), their neighbor over the fence with all of the latest

The question is, how do you become that friend, that trusted advisor?

I argue that it’s simple. You do it by being a friend and trusted
advisor. Communicate constantly, about things that are relevant and
interesting, and do it in a way that allows for growth and maturation
of the relationship. Be a human being, not an approved message.