“People follow ideas.” This concept is powerful and important to understand as professionals working in public relations.

So often we get caught up in methodologies and organisational plans that we miss the point of why people connect.

If you have a great idea that touches people’s hearts and imagination your communication strategy is secondary. They are already engaged and ready to hear.

These ideas can be about how to solve a problem.

For example the Second Chance Programme‘s focus on womens’ homelessness. A hidden issue for policy makers for many years but through the work of dedicated individuals including my wonderful friend and mentor dr dale spender, women in Queensland now have access to a program to help them toward independent living.

Ideas can also be about instilling a sense of hope in a community.

For example, Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons had a passion for a big, fantastic Christmas tree on Geelong’s waterfront. This tree had its detractors, but the glistening silver tree that lit up our evenings in December has overwhelmingly brought the community together.

In a year of difficult news for the manufacturing industry in Geelong, the tree gave us something to celebrate.

Inversely and tragically, the ideas of extremist zealots have captured the hearts and minds of its militant followers and brought terror to our country and the world.

We need to be clear that ideas are powerful and people follow ideas. This is not new and has been part of our collective history for millienia.

Let’s focus on spending time to think on ideas and organisational visions that will build better societies — societies that are free from oppression and allow us to live in democratic peace.

That is the best public relations of all.

Jennifer Cromarty

Author Jennifer Cromarty

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