The seed of this thought began on a plane ride to Tucson earlier this month when my friend Lisa Michaels, author and facilitator, said I needed to be clearer about what I do. “Really, Sherri, you’re a communication strategist who applies spiritual principles to public relations, marketing, and journalism and writing,” she says. “That really gets my attention. I think you should just say that.”
Two weeks and a new elevator speech later, the delightful speaker, coach and author Christine Pembleton, who I met at LEAP, a business conference of the International Association of Business Women Online and Kendall Summerhawk, asks the simple question. “How do you apply spiritual principles to public relations?”
Thank goodness, she hasn’t asked me about the marketing and media parts yet! I feel fortunate to have had such a deep and varied experience of communications techniques, but know better than to take on more than one loaded question at a time!
Christine asked simple question, but a it has difficult answer. Honestly, I’ve got some resistance around sharing exactly what I do. First of all, there aren’t a lot of me out there. Clients find my explanations a bit overwhelming at times, so I tend to share in “tiny little bite sized chewable pieces (description courtesy of that Meg Ryan character in French Kiss).” Second, it’s not just my clients who get confused. Public relations practitioners have tens upon hundreds of definitions of what they do, and they can’t seem to agree on one. And I’m supposed to articulate how what I do is unique in relationship to establishment practice?
So I honed in on Rex Harlow’s definition, based on 500 he sourced from all over the place. Harlow, as the founder of Public Relations Society of America, seems to provide as solid a classic definition as any. So I broke his definition into key words and phrases, and created a chart by which I differentiated “Spiritual Public Relations” in relationship to his widely accepted definition of professional practice.
The following definition of “Spiritual Public Relations” is the result. It’s a pretty bold thing, to put a definition like this “out there,” and I’m certain the responses I get will be as varied as the community of friends who read it. So as long as we keep it within the realms of good taste, I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say. So Christine, here’s the answer to your question. This is how I might describe how I approach public relations practice from a divine feminine, ecological, consummatory perspective.
Spiritual Public Relations
Spiritual public relations is a distinctive communications management function which establishes, maintains and applies spiritual principles to client engagement, sharing, value, discernment, reciprocity and collaboration. The individual entrepreneur or collaborative team, in answer to a higher calling to service, responds by sharing their divinely inspired talents, events, opinions, and accolades within a unique niche public, also called a tribe, community or micro-public.
Acting from a place of integrity and in alignment with core values, a response to a problem or resulting management strategy helps the speaker gather information and speak directly to disruptions or shifts within the niche. Speaking from this place of authority helps bring the new reality into existence; from this perspective, the individual and collaborators strive to be of service to the niche public’s interests through transformative advocacy and change agency. Emergent trends are seen as positive sources of the divine flow of money and resources toward the individual and the collective, which enables the individual to help more people within the community of support.
A spiritual approach to public relations uses research in mass communication and the sciences, and simultaneously accesses alternative and experiential methodologies in spirituality, mind-body, energetic, and multi-cultural philosophical disciplines.
This approach to public relations evolves a distinctive ethics, a primary means of differentiation. The adept practitioner can move freely between establishment and alternative public relations practice, using sound ethical communication techniques as its principle tools to further the following types of objectives:
• Sustainability in business practices
• Earth-centered decision-making and priorities
• Consistent, manifest flow of information and resources
• Representation of an alternative viewpoint equally with mainstream viewpoints
• Furtherance of respect, love, peace, etc., as oppositional political and socio-economic action agendas
• To create receptive, rather than projective, fields of influence
• Application of cyclical or archetypal models to supplant the dominant, linear, masculine model
• A power-dynamic view of the use of language and linguistics
So it is.
Abundantly yours, Sherri