Public Relations is something that does not come to mind when one thinks of accountants and the accounting governing bodies. When people think of PR they believe it is something for the general public, not a particular target market; however, it can be for both.
When the designation merger talks started up recently, it was because of a need for the entire accounting profession to clarify itself and become more marketable. The people behind the merger push listened to the complaints and criticisms of the current systems, from that discovered a need, and started talking and interacting with those who were for the merger, against the merger and unaware of the merger. They got out there and made themselves known to their market.
Chapter 8 of Groundswell and its Jericho example reminded me of when I was younger, and one of my favourite shows was Veronica Mars. The show was about a spunky high school student, part-time assistant for her private investigator (and former town Sheriff) dad, and a sometimes moonlighting private investigator herself (when her dad isn’t looking). Anyways, in 2007 shortly before season 3 finished airing, there were rumours that the show was not going to be renewed for another season. Sadly the rumours were true and in June 2007 my beloved Veronica Mars was cancelled. 😦 Many fans like myself signed petitions, wrote handwritten letters to the management team at The CW. Some groups of fans even followed the Jericho example, and sent in Mars chocolate bars to the executives at The CW in support of the show; personally, I would have sent in marshmallows too. (as said to Veronica by her new friend Wallace, “That might play with the masses, but underneath that angry young woman shell, there’s a slightly less angry young woman who’s just dying to bake me something. You’re a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A twinkie!”)
Unfortunately for all of my fellow Veronica Mars fans, The CW execs were less receptive to our efforts, than CBS was with Jericho; I guess what do you expect from a network that bumped Veronica Mars for reality drivel by the name of The Pussycat Dolls Present. Either way, this outcome certainly drove home the point of why people and companies need to support the groundswell, “people expect you to listen and respond to them” (p.176); without this relationship, there will be no success.
[On a side note from an operations management perspective, while many companies did outsource their call centres to other countries such as India and the Philippines, the book fails to mention that the human factor came into play; people in the United States had trouble understanding the “foreign English” accents, and because they were unable to communicate through the “language barrier”, companies moved many of their call centres back to North American soil, and to some European countries.]