It’s that time of year when marketers of diets and exercise equipment rake in their biggest profits. Call it “New Years’ Resolution Season.” Right after the holidays when people know they have to lose some extra pounds, and in the dark of winter, they start to look ahead in think about sunnier days on the beach. That’s when they make up their minds and start to work on that beach body they’ve always wanted. As we all know from experience, perhaps, or maybe from what we hear anecdotally from friends and relatives, it takes discipline to succeed.
I’d be the last person to offer up advice on weight loss, but in that spirit, I would offer up some “PR weight loss” ideas. Here goes:
· Tools – You’ve got an established communications function and it’s working quite nicely, but it’s been a while since you’ve taken inventory to see what tools you have that you no longer use. Perhaps now is the time to get rid of the old fax machine in the corner, or that bulky old tube monitor on your desk. I have been doing much the same recently, and my office is looking more livable.
· Printed Materials – If you maintain the practice of holding onto copies of publications, annual reports and other materials that you think might serve as good reference points for future work, you might want to consider purging some of that. So much is now available on the Internet, that even if you want to save it, chances are you can do so on your computer or an external drive. Your book shelves will thank you.
· Clutter – January’s always a good time to clean off that bulletin board and take down the papers that say “2009 Budget” or file those photos of you from that 2004 trade show. The same is true for the souvenirs you may have brought back from some of those events, like the little stress balls that look like globes of the Earth; or the five coffee mugs with corporate logos on them that you never use.
· Don’t forget the Floor – I have a habit of creating stacks and piles on the floor. They are usually very neat, I might add, but they are stacks, nevertheless. Old files I’ve been meaning to go through to decide whether to keep or pitch, boxes, briefcases, etc. Now might be the time to go through all of that and put everything in its proper place.
· Your Computer – Some of the most invisible clutter is likely to be on your computer. Your email may be disorganized and unwieldy. Your work files may be all over the place. Now may be a good time to consolidate old files and rearrange your desktop so that it’s easier for you or someone on your team to find what you need, when you need it. It may also be a good time to open up some storage on your system by deleting unneeded email and old documents. Or, if you want to save it, you can always back it up onto an external hard drive.
· Communications Audit – One of the services I have provided clients over the years is the communications audit. This is a formal system of reviewing the communications function output to find out what’s working, what could work better, and what may no longer be as important from a priority standpoint. These judgments are not made in a vacuum. The process starts with an inventory of what you are doing. It then proceeds to interviews and research among targeted audiences. And then the feedback and analysis is used to allow the client to step back and think about how to organize to go forward.
These are just a few PR weight loss ideas. I’d be interested if you have any of your own. Please feel free to send them to me. Like most people this time of year, I could use them.