The power of bonding and strengthening relationships with well-told stories
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Article published in Forbes Colombia
see the original article in Spanish here
By Catalina Jiménez Combariza
Companies have realized the importance of staying connected with their audiences and the way to achieve this was through communication and public relations strategies.
When I was invited to write this column, about what is the role of women in public relations, I couldn't help but think about how fantastic this last year was for communications and at the same time how tremendously challenging in all other areas of the life. The quarantines left us exposed in front of the computer camera and it became evident how women cover several fronts: taking care of a house, children, schoolwork, food, taking care of the “other” job (the one we previously did outside of the home), prepare presentations, be available, arranged and ready in front of a video call. In this time we have all been called to empathy, with others and with ourselves.
At the same time, companies realized the importance of staying connected with their audiences, and the way to achieve this was through communication and public relations strategies. Convey a message, understand and tell, their audiences that despite the distance they were there, and thus build powerful links with positive and hopeful messages. In public relations as in life and in every task we undertake, the most important thing is to find purpose by asking ourselves why? and mine has always been to generate relationships between people, who build society and that through making stories visible allow the personal and professional growth of all those involved. Public relations are cultivated like all relationships, with constancy, consistency, trust, adding value, will, desire and caring for the other.
When we think about who reads us, who listens to us, who pays attention to our message, we build a message that is closer, more human and at the same time more powerful, regardless of whether you talk about technology, fintech, banking, e-commerce or startups like you have. been the case of the agency.
Women and men with the same purpose
The world of communications and public relations is dominated by women in their executive roles. Industry data agree that between 66%and 72% of corporate communications and public relations roles in the world are filled by women. My team is almost entirely female, and they are empathetic, perceptive, intuitive human professionals; However, the male quota gives us another vision and in turn enriches the strategy for each of our clients. Beyond the data and the pronounced female participation in the industry; I am happy to say that in these 20 years of telling stories that strengthen ties between people (how I like to define my profession), I have had the valuable and permanent help of women, but also of men who have not only been mentors, advisors, coaches in my work; but also together with the female quota they have been great protagonists of many of the stories that we have told.
What are public relations about?
A few years ago I read the results of a survey of 1,000 HR professionals. PP on whether their environment understood what their work consisted of. I remember that more than 70% said at that time that their parents did not understand what public relations is, and about 40% said that their partners did not know it either.
I am afraid that, although this perception has improved, it is still a mystery for many people to understand what is done in public relations and why it is considered a decisive area of corporate communication in any organization.
Public relations is team work; they connect people, strengthen ties and give face to each story in order to make it known. Working hand in hand with fellow journalists and the protagonists of the stories, we have told the story of the young man who started with his credit card and today, he has already sold his company and created another company; that of the woman who leads a union where the male presence is the majority; that of the technological solution that takes books to remote places and encourages reading; that of the platform that plays for financial inclusion, just to name a few of the stories. In a few days I will be 40 years old and, I have reflected on my two great challenges that, in turn, represent the best of these decades: 1) My 5-year-old daughter, my permanent mission to be a model and help her become a woman confident, convinced that the most important thing in life should always be love for oneself, the intention with which things are done and that she always knows that women and men can live in an equitable world with the same opportunities if we work as a team and, 2) Make public relations with a purpose, seeking to strengthen ties and relationships between human beings and connect through stories that awaken empathy.