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Sometimes You Have to Crack an Egg

I can’t imagine a business owner giving up $500 a month over a 33-cent item.

At least, I couldn’t until I heard Todd Duncan’s story on The EntreLeadership Podcast about a restaurant refusing to put a fried egg on his hamburger.

The manager couldn’t make the change because the eggs were intended for another special. Because of the confusion, she offered to pay his $70 bill – and lose his repeat business – rather than crack an egg.

As Duncan noted, it was an example of an employee thinking the rules outweigh the outcome. He argues today’s customers want something better. They want an emotional connection, which leads to higher loyalty and stronger sales.

Duncan found a great example down the street at Whole Foods. Employees immediately said they could find a way AND asked exactly how he wanted the egg. Duncan credits Whole Foods’ founder John Mackey for putting his employees in what they call “the yes world.”

The story made me think about my industry. People used to have a pretty narrow view of public relations: We cranked out news releases and internal memos, called editors and reporters, and got the right people to parties.

Our world encompasses much more now. We seek to understand every aspect of our clients’ businesses so we can collaborate on good strategic decisions. And, of course, we still advise on the right ways and places to share those messages.

PR had to change. We had to learn to say yes to the things our clients needed, whether it meant becoming video producers, data analysts or social media wizards.

In everything we do, it’s about achieving our clients’ goals, and finding ways they can please their customers, donors and other stakeholders.

Today, PR is about helping our clients figure out when to follow the rules, and when to flip their thinking to the bigger picture.

It can be complicated and scary, but I know what Candor says when we get a new request: Let’s get cracking!

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