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The Goal of Public Relations – It’s About Trust


By Jack Supple – Partner, Pocket Hercules

In my career I have been privileged to work with some great brands that used advertising and public relations to create something deeper and more abiding. Brands like Harley-Davidson took the mantra “closer to the customer” and made it a real guiding part of everything they have done every single day for the past thirty years.

This week is PR Week for Phi Delta Theta chapters throughout the U.S and Canada.  Our new branding campaign  “Become the Greatest Version of Yourself” is rolling.

While we may focus on this one week of the year to turn up the volume on sharing our story, every day your chapter and its members are doing public relations. Showing up at a campus event, raising money for a cause you believe in, sharing the Phi Delta story with a student who doesn’t belong to a fraternity, participating in class, getting involved in campus activities, and being a good neighbor to those who live on your block are all part of building a solid, positive reputation.

It’s about trust.  When others come to trust you and your chapter to do the right thing, to stand up for what’s right, to be the voice, the arms and the legs for those who are unable, that’s the goal of PR.  It’s not “to spin your story.”  It’s to live and behave in an authentic manner and to engage in a dialogue with other individuals, groups and communities to builds understanding, breaks down barriers, and motivates all of us to live to our greatest potential.

Sharing our stories and communicating regularly and thoughtfully allows others to get to know your chapter and to understand what you believe in and anticipate how you will act.

If you want to make news, you need to show up.  The famous pop artist Andy Warhol once said, “80% of life is showing up.”  That means you need to get out of your chapter house and be involved.  Take part in your community.  Become engaged in making it a better place, for you and others.  Lead the discussion.  Invite others to share their voices.  Create relationships.

And when you’re out there, demonstrating how to become the greatest version of yourself, let others know.  Start with the core — those who care deeply about you and your success — your family and friends, your Phi Delt brothers and other Phi Delta Theta chapters.  And from there, spread the word to others that matter — your neighbors, other fraternities and sororities on campus, the local campus newspaper, student government, the local media in your town or city, Facebook friends.

That’s P.R. Week, 52 weeks in a row.

Prior to being named chairman and chief creative officer of Carmichael Lynch in 2000, Jack Supple held the positions of president, executive creative director and senior writer since joining the agency in 1979. During his 27 year tenure, CL emerged as one of the nation’s top creative agencies. No matter how large the brand, Jack helped CL to find the soul of that brand and to become a client’s trusted “keeper of the flame” with work that was smart and elegantly simple. Under Jack’s leadership, the agency grew and expanded its account list to include Harley-Davidson, Porsche, Northwest Airlines, Gibson Guitars, Rapala, A.G. Edwards, American Standard and Coca-Cola. As chief creative officer, Jack helped CL expand its long-standing creative reputation into award winning PR, interactive, relationship marketing and design disciplines. Jack left Carmichael Lynch in July 2006, finding the role of chairman of the 300-person agency to be too distant from the work. In January 2007, he began working with some former employees at Pocket Hercules, helping to create a pool of senior talent who could offer hands-on work to national accounts.