Products that get talked about.

What you choose to do, make or offer matters. When it comes public relations there’s one constant law in the universe that operates the same at all levels: products, people and services worth talking about get talked about. Period. Seems simple enough. But after a decade in the business, I can say with 100% certainty that very few business people get it, and even fewer are willing to admit it; toss enough money into the marketing mix and you’ll get “there” right?

I’ve been constantly challenged throughout my career to come up with a strategic plan, a campaign, a guerilla stunt, or an event that’ll capture mindshare and elevate a certain brand, product, person or service. Whether I’m working at an agency, as a consultant, or in-house, the hope is always the same: widespread reputation. Or perhaps easier said, fame.

Lasting fame is the Holy Grail of big business and that presents an interesting paradox—businesses with very little worth talking about are obsessed by having something to talk about.

I started this post with a simple statement: What you choose to do, make or offer matters—that is the true essence of all PR and the root of lasting fame. And now, for a bit of tough love:

—To all the CEOs, VPs and the like, if you are not doing something worth talking about, you are not going to be talked about. Great management doesn’t pass for a story these days. You must push yourself onto the stage of life, or get comfortable pushing others in your organization (that are doing something worth talking about) into the spotlight. It’s tough to put your ego aside, but you and your business will be better for it. Trust me.

—To the B2C folks out there, if your business is not making something worth talking about, no one will be inspired to talk about your business or what you’re making. Businesses worth talking about these days make things that help people, challenge current thinking, test new business models or solve large-scale problems. If you’re not doing one of those things and you’re after widespread reputation, you’ve got to course correct immediately. That doesn’t mean you’ve got to stop what you’re doing all together, it simply means you must do more (akin to the above) to achieve lasting fame. If money and growth is all you’re after, go on vacation, celebrate your successes and enjoy your wealth. There’s no shame in that, being big and rich is just a different goal. Accept that hard truth, and move forward.

—And to all my B2B friends, along the same lines, if your offer is similar to a handful of other businesses in your industry, no one will be interested in talking about it. Building a business on the back of another’s fame is risky, you can’t get to the same place using the same tactics, that’s gospel. If your competitor turns right don’t hurry along behind them, turn left instead. Even better, chart your own course; do your own thing. Or find happiness living in the shadows of anonymity. It’s not a bad place to be, unless of course you’re aiming for lasting fame.

Long story short: If you’re not doing, making or offering something worth talking about, all the marketing and money in the world can’t bring you lasting fame. Lasting fame is earned—it can’t be bought, borrowed or stolen. Your biggest story is yesterday’s news as soon as the clock strikes mid-night. To achieve lasting fame you must be continuously doing something, making things or building an offer worth talking about. It’s that simple…and that difficult.

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