Target Publics: What’s the Janitor’s Name?

Target Publics: What’s the Janitor’s Name?

my name isA while ago, we traveled to Oahu with a friend and client who is also a local college culinary arts professor. We were eating at a restaurant and as soon as the waitress approached, our client looked at the waitress’ name tag and addressed her by name. After Kara took our order, our client explained, “You know, I always put this question on my students’ test: what’s the name of the janitor who cleans here?” He said that students in the service industry need to understand that everyone in a restaurant is important, from the dishwasher to the chef, and should be recognized for making the business work.

That lesson really struck us, partially because we could relate to it so well. In the more than 10 years that we’ve been in business, we’ve come to know how important it is to have a good relationship with our clients’ administrative assistants. After all, they control the schedules, mail, email, phones, and much more, even critical decisions. Often, they are the face of the company in the community and to employees.

The other reason we liked this lesson from a public relations perspective is that it acknowledges that every business has many target publics, within and outside the company, and that each of those groups are comprised of many individuals. All of those individuals are significant to the success of the business. So next time you embark on a communications campaign, pull everyone into the loop from the janitor to the boss.

And never underestimate the importance of all the other not-so-obvious publics as your company’s potential ambassadors, from the FedEx and UPS folks to the AC repairperson, the solar contractor, the business supply order rep, etc. Your interactions with all of them are a reflection of your company’s image and level of service. If those interactions are negative or even forgettable, that will be the impression these publics have of your company. Likewise, if those interactions are positive and special, so will be your company’s image, which will trickle down to repeat sales, referrals, and profits.

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