Bruce Springsteen dropped out of Ocean County College in New Jersey in 1967. More than 50 years later, his words ring true as a map to become a better communicator in 2022.
Last year offered very few glory days, and it’s not like 2021 was a tunnel of love. Despite the pivots, unprecedented changes and new normals, there is something that rings true.
“At the end of every hard day, people find some reason to believe.”
Springsteen wrote this in 1982. Forty years later, the words offer a vision for what to expect in 2022 and how to best adapt for our clients, our profession and our world.
“Sooner or later, it all boils down to money.”
Inflationary pressures and supply chain uncertainty won’t go away with the snap of a finger. Public relations must take the lead in offering objective facts from the best sources. Teams must also devote time to communicating the need to increase fees and lower delivery speeds.
Agencies must reevaluate success measurement with clients to better show value. Public relations is slow-cooker work in an Instant Pot world. Showing clients that the recipe is cooking will buy time, showcase holistic thought and afford new ways to provide client delight.
“We stood at the altar, the gypsy swore our future was right
But come the wee wee hours, well maybe, baby, the gypsy lied.”
Springsteen’s 1987 Brilliant Disguise offers some stark realities for brands and nonprofits.
- Trolls will find you.
- Bad things are possible.
- People you trust may betray you.
Proactive crisis communication is essential to build equity, protect against hate and be accessible to people looking for good in the world. Developing plans to deal with potential problems is a must, and creative ways to think beyond obvious crisis points are overdue.
Objective criteria to delete or remove people who spread hate and falsehoods also deserve a solo. Civility matters, and if communicators aren’t leading the band of discourse, we will all be off-pitch.
These same principles hold true with your teams. Proactive culture communication must show and tell people why they should join your band and not go solo.
“I was driving through the misty rain
Just a searching for a mystery train
Bopping through the wild blue
Trying to make a connection with you
This is radio nowhere
Is there anybody alive out there?”
Customers have a hungry heart for humanity and are actively looking for something to believe in — just look at the Edelman Trust Barometer.
Your brand and nonprofit can be that solution, but there’s a catch. More than 90% of a brand’s social mentions are from people not following the brand.
Your audience is calling for you. Are you listening?
Astute brands will use 2022 to boost social listening and connect dots with customer needs and brand values. They will also survey internal teams to see how the pandemic has permanently changed the band.
“These are better days baby
These are better days it’s true
These are better days
Better days are shining through”
Everything is different, and there’s no going back. That can be scary or amazing.
We, as a profession, have the power to be a boss and tip the scales. The field’s core values that existed since Springsteen was in diapers still resonate today, just differently.
Measurable success, proactive client advocacy, active listening and ethical discourse should always top a team’s charts, but life can get out of tune. Use these keys and let’s unlock the potential that comes with a new year.
As the Bossman said, “Come on up for the rising…”
Dan Farkas is a lecturer of strategic communication at The Ohio State University and a Counselors Academy member, and he can’t wait for Springsteen to tour in 2022.
[dianne manson/getty images entertainment]