The mindset that you have when dealing with the world around you can have a big impact on results but it’s more than how you deal with the world. It’s how you think of the world. It’s a viewpoint. Viewpoints are a big factor in how we react to the world around .
You can choose to believe a conspiracy theory that aliens are re-populating earth in an effort to take over the world or not. If you have a mindset where you believe in aliens and think everything is a plot to take over the world, aliens repopulating the world isn’t so far fetched.
If you believe that public relations (PR) is much more than publicity, you are going to be open to something like the PESO model.
There are five mindset issues that I come across on a regular basis. Sometimes I see them in an article, in a class, or on a webinar. Other times I see these issues when I talk to prospects or my clients. Sometimes, I’ve seen these issues in myself.
They are the type of mindset issues that can stop you from your full potential.
Fear of missing out, better known as FOMO, pervades marketing and public relations like a cancer. Sure, you might jump on the bandwagon because of FOMO but chances are, if it’s your only motivation, you have already lost.
The previous paragraph had some strong statements so let me give it a little perspective.
Learning about something new and how it works is great. When you know how something works you can determine how to use it to help you get the results that you want. I see this as curiosity and it’s an important mindset to have. I’ll talk about it more later.
FOMO is like jumping off the cliff because your friends say it’s a good idea. It falls more into the category of peer pressure.
You’ve seen the posts, “We’re doing this and you should too.” Heck, I’ve written a couple of those.
The problem with FOMO is it leaves out any sort of critical process to determine if it’s right for you.
Ten years ago, FOMO was social media, specifically Facebook. Everybody should be on Facebook. Well, maybe not. Facebook may not be the right thing for you or your organization and you shouldn’t do it just because it’s the hip thing to do.
The newest social media darling is Instagram. Everybody should be on Instagram. I bought it and it was about as useful to my business as eating a jar of dead flies. At least with the flies, I would have got a little extra protein in my diet.
There was a push a couple of years ago to be ready for voice search. It was going to be the hot tactic for 2018….and then 2019…now maybe it’s 2021. Voice search is something to watch and you should understand how it works (funny how many few of those jump on the bandwagon articles bothered to explain how it worked) but it may not be the right thing for you to focus on right now.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the big thing over the last couple of years. There are really interesting advances that could really help your organization and mine. It’s something to pay close attention to. However, there is a lot of FOMO with AI.
I know this because its the buzzword of the day. Emails hit my inbox with tools “powered AI”. It seems that everybody jumped on the bandwagon except they haven’t. The term, “AI” is being very loosely by marketing and public relations teams that are hoping to make a sale. They are trying to capitalize on FOMO.
When FOMO is driving your decisions, chances are really good that you are going to end up making the wrong decision. Worse, you won’t be in control anymore. You will be a slave to the newest trends.
Do yourself a favor and eradicate FOMO from your life.
I used to work at Intel and it didn’t matter the conversation, at some point somebody would say, “What’s the data showing?”
If you were in a meeting advocating for something, whether it be a minor change or a completely new direction, you needed to have data or the discussion was over.
There is more data available now than any time in history. That’s a good thing for you. The question is, are you taking advantage of it?
I was in a forum at the beginning of the year and I was rather shocked how many long-time communicators didn’t have Google Analytics set up on their websites. If you have a website and don’t have Google Analytics set up, stop, and read this article right now which will walk you through the process.
Google Analytics certainly isn’t perfect but it is much better than nothing. You’ll be able to get some great insights on your web traffic including where it’s coming from and what people are looking at on your site. It gives even more valuable data that will help but that’s a different article.
The whole point in having data is that it helps make decisions. You can see what’s working and what isn’t. It will help you determine what topics and information resonate with your customers.
It doesn’t stop at Google Analytics. If you’re running digital ads, you will have access to data to help you see the impact of your advertising. After all, you don’t want to be throwing good money after bad.
All the social networks provide data as well. We are literally deluged with it at this point.
The wonderful thing about data is it allows you to experiment and optimize. It’s something that would make our peers from 20 years ago jealous with envy.
When I talk about data, I don’t want you to think it is infallible. It is only as good as the people gathering and analyzing it. If you’re collecting the wrong data or if a bias or biases are impacting the analyzation process, the impact can be as bad as not having any data at all.
Part of embracing data becomes learning what should be collected, how to analyze it, and how to connect the data from the various sources from where you collect it. This mindset will benefit both your company and your clients.
I’ve written about change quite a bit and for good reason. Change is the only thing you can count on.
Funny, that most people do their best to resist it. Depending on what business you are in, you might be able to hold change at bay for a little while but there will be a point in which you have to go with it or your business will go into a death spiral. As I’ve heard it said, resistance is futile.
When Napster came along in the late 1990’s and upended the music industry, most people felt that the industry was caught asleep at the wheel. After all, they were still living in a physical product world where they shipped CD’s.
However, the issue wasn’t that the industry didn’t see it coming, the issue was the industry simply didn’t want to change.
I remember in late 93 or early 94, a now-defunct magazine called Musician, ran a cover story on the digital delivery of music. Remember, this is before the internet took off so the idea of a digital delivery service seemed kind of crazy a the time.
The idea of digital delivery appealed to the music labels that manufactured and released music but music stores such as Tower Records, Sam Goody, and Musicland didn’t like the idea. The reason was that the labels would be able to sell directly to consumers cutting the music stores out of the loop.
The industry chose not to make any changes and everybody continued to be happy until Napster arrived. The industry fought change as hard is it could but the convenience of downloading music from home proved to be too much. In the end, most music stores went out of business and the way music was distributed was changed forever.
It didn’t just end up impacting the music industry. The entire entertainment industry was forced to adapt to digital delivery. In all honesty, it’s still adapting (can you say Netflix).
An online world didn’t just impact the entertainment industry. It affected everything. Amazon, Google, and Facebook are the new titans of industry.
Marketers haven’t been spared either. I read the other day that 51% of ad spend is now in the form of digital ads. The media now includes bloggers and podcasters.
The way we communicate with our customers where we communicate with them has completely changed. It will continue because change isn’t slowing down, it’s accelerating.
A great mindset shift to help you embrace change is to be curious.
Curiosity helps you find new ways to do things. If you’re curious you are probably going to see the changes coming before anybody else has which means it won’t be such a big deal to you.
Let me give you an example.
Gini Dietrich has been out preaching the virtues of the PESO model for years now. She is a public relations person at heart. She grew up in a PR agency and she has run a PR agency for a long time. Every year she republishes this article stating that PR people need to embrace PESO or they are likely to find themselves in a dead industry.
At some point, she became curious and discovered that only focusing on earned media wouldn’t work anymore. It led her down a new path (she was way ahead of the curve) in which she realized that PR needed to embrace paid media, shared media, and owned media. These are all the elements of the PESO model.
Some of us have followed Gini’s lead but many haven’t and it’s not looking good for the PR industry in the long term. I personally think PR will be a niche industry in the next few years and will be completely assimilated by marketing by the end of the decade.
Your curiosity needs to lead you beyond your job. Marketing doesn’t reside in a vacuum. There are many things that can impact marketing and these external factors are important to be aware of.
How does a trade war impact your business? Is it going to be direct or could there be some indirect issues? If the US goes to war in the Middle East, what does that mean for business? What does it mean for your marketing? What does it mean for how you should communicate?
Some of my biggest influences in how I think come from places other than marketing. Being curious also means looking outside of your industry.
My time at Intel had a huge influence on me and how I view the world around me in a business sense. It also has had an influence on how I view marketing and public relations.
Intel was very data-driven and measured everything. When I entered public relations I was shocked at the lack of any matrices that showed real results. My hunger to measure work eventually led me to an article that championed the kind of metrics I was looking for and I immediately bought what was being sold.
I was a musician earlier in my life so when it comes to creativity, I like to read interviews with musicians. You’d be surprised how many ideas translate to marketing and business.
The academic world can be a great place to look. I talk to many communicators but am usually the only one with a degree in communication. Academia views communication in a myriad of ways. Looking to it can give you new ideas on how to think and approach communication whether it be for marketing or public relations.
Keep your eyes and ears opened and stay curious. You never know what you might find.
Play A Win-Win Game
Michael Jordan is one of my favorite athletes of all time. I knew Jordan was intense and liked to win but all athletes like to win. So what made Jordan different? He had a killer instinct that I’ve rarely seen in an athlete. It’s what propelled him to greatness as a player and drove his hunger to win.
When it’s a game, somebody has to lose and somebody has to win. It’s what is defined as a zero-sum game but it can be a dangerous mindset to have.
Early in my career, I was asked to work on a project outside of the scope of my normal job duties. Like any of you would have, I said yes.
I had a peer who found out about this and took great offense to it. They felt that they should have been on the project and that I had beaten them. This person then decided that I had won the battle (I didn’t even know there was a battle) but they were going to win the war. To make a long story short, they went out of their way to make my life as miserable as they could without crossing any HR lines. In the end, the department manager had to get involved and forced an end to what was happening.
This person saw every situation as a zero-sum game that they had to win and would go to great lengths to do it. In the end, they didn’t end winning the perceived battle or the perceived war. While we had an amicable relationship moving forward, I never forgot what happened and didn’t go out of my way to help this person if I didn’t absolutely have to.
Relationships are important in business. I can’t afford to play a zero-sum game where I have to win and my client has to lose. I won’t be in business long if that’s my attitude.
I’ve been around the block enough to realize that even if I get along with somebody who likes to play a zero-sum game that eventually, it will come to a point where end up in a situation where they have to win and I have to lose. In the long run, this isn’t good for relationships.
Do yourself a favor, play a win-win game. Compromise isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good thing in both the short and long term.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the two political parties in the United States. They are mainly interested in a zero-sum game these days and the result is a deeply divided country where trust is at an all-time low.
If you work towards a solution that is win-win, everybody will be happy which makes it an important mindset to have.
These are five mindset changes that I feel you need to make to reach your full potential. Now I want to know what you think. Is there anything missing? Is there something you would remove. Let me know in the comments.