One not very compelling reason to ambush snog Boris Johnson

Jamie Veitch photo

Quacks used to promote the pseudoscience, ‘phrenology.’ Sadly lots of business consultants are happy to make suggestions on the basis of no evidence

Happy New Year! I nearly titled this, “How to lose fifteen stone while becoming a totally irresistible quadrillionaire without any effort.”

That’s because early January is a time when the life improvement industry ramps up its mendacious claims.

Now should you actually want to lose any weight, become obscenely wealthy, attract attention from potential partners or get rock hard abs (delete as appropriate), and someone said they could make your dream come true with no effort required on your part if you were to simply write out a large cheque – well, I hope you wouldn’t believe it.

Yet now is also the time of year when the shadiest sellers of communication snake-oil ramp up their ludicrous claims as they prey on business leaders (by which, as ever, I mean social entrepreneurs as well as traditional business).

You’ll have seen the promises. How to “guarantee” press coverage. The “secret” to growing your business email list (which always involves helping someone else to grow theirs). The “formula” to “double or 10-times” your revenue in a month. The gurus of woo-woo who’ve read a lot but never done.

And sadly lots of business leaders are taken in by purveyors of claptrap, fairytales, and other false promises akin to business improvement homeopathy. (If you’re a homeopath and you are offended, please come back when you have a peer-reviewed evidence base for the efficacy of your so-called treatments).

Those leaders know they should invest in effective communications. They want to generate sales, bookings, income or new customers.

Many get excited by good old “shiny object” syndrome, or fall for slick patter and appealing but over-ambitious promises.

Here’s an example. Wearing one of my different hats, I was emailed the other day by someone saying they could “guarantee” to get my organisation media coverage in 200 outlets.

No they can’t. Not unless I either pay for 200 ads (and there’s nothing wrong with ads: they give you exact control over the appearance, timing and wording of your message) or ambush-snog Boris Johnson in front of a press photographer while wearing a t-shirt with my logo on it. Which is unlikely to happen.

I told a client the other day that their possible news story wasn’t actually newsworthy. It would have done neither them nor me any good to send a weak story to a journalist, wasting everyone’s time and building false expectations. But instead, we found a different story they’d pretty much overlooked about their business – which got them the coverage they deserved.

If you’ve resolved to boost your communications in 2019, then a good communication specialist shouldn’t be a “yes” person. They should be easy to work with but that does not mean effortless. There’s a difference. To do their job, and get your business the impact you want, they’ll need to pick your brains, take time to learn about and understand your business, and they may need to challenge you too (and you, them).

Unlike homeopaths, they should also be able to give you credible evidence about their impact, so check out their results and comments from other people your potential partner has worked with.

Don’t know where to start? Contact me to book a 15 minute chat (no charge, no sales, no obligation) about your priorities.

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