Banishing bullshit breaks down barriers

Speaker Post: John Brown

Over the coming weeks leading to #PRFest, the speakers will blog about their session, giving you a flavour of what to expect on the day. 

John Brown, Don’t Cry Wolf,  joins us for a second year after his pitch to talk about banishing bullshit in public relations struck a chord.

We’ve all been seduced by the ease of agreement.

That moment when your brain is saying no, but your head is nodding vigorously in an effort to avoid conflict, to be liked or simply to end the meeting a little sooner so you can board the 17.18 to Tattenham Corner.

Yet, that fateful nod and dismissive, ‘yes, of course’, comes back to chomp on your rear end. Soon, there’s accusations being hurled, promises being broken, and relationships being cannibalised.

If this scenario plays out internally, with client or boss, then usually there’s opportunity for reconciliation and repair, so long as it’s an isolated case.

But, if played out publicly with your audience, then a brand can quickly be dismantled and discarded. It’s a challenging minefield. There’s just so much opportunity to splash bullshit on communications.

‘Your call is really important to us.’ No, it’s not.

‘We’re really sorry to hear this.’ How sorry? If you’re really sorry then send me a cake.

‘We do not have any targets for the removal of illegal immigrants…’

The temptation is always there to lie, bend the truth or make lazy, over-indulgent, statements in the hope that someone mistakes it for sincerity. It’s a temptation that needs to be avoided at all costs.

In a world full of adjectives and superlatives having a direct, human, tone can make a brand immediately distinctive.

A market that’s dominated by fake shows of strength and power can be wiped aside by humility and vulnerability, where mistakes are admitted and rectified openly.

Where a thick smog of smoke and mirrors has descended on many organisations, a totally transparent approach can be a breath of fresh air.

The age of bullshit free communications is upon us.

It’s this topic that I’ll be discussing with the smart people attending #PRFest this year. We’ll explore the ways in which we can build communications programmes from a foundation of transparency. We’ll take a look at brands successfully executing such an initiative and examine the benefits it brings.

It should be a refreshing and, hopefully, inspiring chat. At a bare minimum, it will be sweary and loud.

Join us at #PRFest 14 and 15 June, 2018 in Edinburgh. You can buy your tickets here.

Group discount available for four or more tickets. PRCA member discount applies.