A friend of mine recently had the opportunity to take some time out of her business trip to indulge in a bit of Vitamin Sea. As she recounted her scuba diving experience over coffee, I couldn’t help but feel a growing sense of wonder and amazement for the deep blue.
Long after our rendezvous, my mind kept going over and over our conversation, and I found myself being inspired enough to take a scuba diving vacation right away! Unfortunately, my PR job doesn’t give me that privilege, so all I could do was read up as much as I could on this sport so that I was well-prepared before my next holiday.
As I delved deeper and deeper into the topic, I realized that there were so many analogies to draw between scuba diving and my work. (Did I need any more encouragement to just drop everything and follow my heart?)
So while I try to pick the best time and place to go diving, here are some things about Public Relations we can learn from scuba diving!
Realize That the Opportunities and Risks Are Huge
There’s more to scuba diving than exploring the unknown. While it’s amazing to be able to get up close and personal with diverse forms of marine life, the vastness of the ocean and the magnificent sights underwater, coupled with no sounds except those of your own breathing, offer an experience that’s indescribable.
All the same, there are dangers you would do well to stay away from- great whites, jellyfish, sea urchins, stingrays, to name a few. Risks can also arise from using diving gear inappropriately or not following the rules.
As with scuba diving, Public Relations opens up a world of opportunities for anyone willing to give it a shot. There’s a lot to gain – credibility, putting your firm or organization in a positive light, outreach to your target audience, lead generation, and more!
However, do note that inaccurate, misleading or incomplete stories can damage your company’s reputation. You can also be at a disadvantage if your stories are not timed right – what works fine right now may lead to backlash depending on future social, political or economic developments, just like the British Airways ad that made its appearance after flight MH370 went missing.
Don’t Rely on the Pictures
With splendid pictures of clear blue waters and colourful marine life adorning the pages of diving brochures, it’s easy to believe that your plunge is going to be just as rewarding. The truth is, the quality of your dive – with regards to what you see in the water – depends on the type of dive, location, and weather, among other factors.
This applies to Public Relations too – a super-successful campaign might lead you to believe that it would work wonders for your business as well. However, a number of factors come into play when making PR work for any brand. Also, an over-glorified launch isn’t the end; it’s the beginning that needs to be followed up with timely monitoring and sustained brand support.
It Shouldn’t Be Taken Lightly
Since high pressure experienced underwater affects body functions in various ways, health conditions that are otherwise not even noticeable, may become life-threatening when you’re diving. Experienced divers make scuba diving look effortless, which can make many of us fail to take health and fitness into consideration when thinking of taking up this sport.
Just like scuba diving, Public Relations can come across as being easy, but it is quite the opposite! You can’t just make a few calls, draft a news release or two, and call it a day. Good PR is about successfully protecting your reputation by staying calm and unemotional, and thinking through all possible outcomes from start to finish.
Have Clear Vision
Visibility can be quite low depending on the conditions at the dive site. Sometimes, debris in the water can bring visibility down to as low as 1 metre. And you need clear visibility underwater for more than just to marvel at the glorious marine life; you also need to be able to see where you’re going and where your dive buddies are!
Moreover, preparing for a dive encompasses more than ascertaining fitness levels and getting to the dive spot. Scuba diving requires that you have everything down to the smallest detail clear in your head. It’s also imperative to choose gear carefully and inspect it thoroughly, and have a detailed dive plan ready.
In Public Relations, as in scuba diving and other walks of life, having a concrete plan and clear vision can help you see things in perspective and enable you to take the right decisions needed to progress ahead!
Take Challenges Head-On
Consider this – if you’re doing a shore dive, you’ll be entering the water from the shore and be diving in shallow water where marine life is less likely to be varied and interesting. Conversely, with boat dives, you sail out to the dive site and jump in from a boat. This allows you to go deeper into the water and see a range of flora and fauna. While this may sound scary at first, you know this is going to offer you a lot more than a shore dive.
Furthermore, scuba diving is a sport where you can keep challenging yourself constantly. So once you’re adept at the basics, you can try exploring underwater caves, shipwrecks, and more!
With Public Relations changing at a rapid pace, the challenge for marketers and agencies to stay relevant has become real. Playing safe with known tactics isn’t going to get you a piece of the action; there are limitless opportunities out there and the only way ahead is to face challenges by reinventing yourself with the required skills, knowledge and people power.
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