If you’re reading this, one of two things has happened:
A. The world has ended and you were left behind.
B. The world is still turning and we’re all still just trying to keep up.
If the answer is A, chances are you have greater immediate concerns than checking the Knight Vision International blog, such as: should you bother paying your IRS quarterlies, will that Halloween candy you bought go to waste, or how do you avoid an I Am Legend existence in the post Apocalyptic world? So, I’m betting on B. Still, if the prophesy of 1 Thessalonians is realized, I’m pretty sure that I, too, will be left behind with greater immediate concerns than writing my KVI blog, so… never put off until the end of the world that blog which can be written today.
Debating the Rapture or Harold Camping’s qualifications as a theologian is not my focus here. My expertise with Divinity begins and ends with the egg whites. I am, however, intrigued with the idea of guaranteed outcomes and what happens when the guarantee comes due. Mr. Camping has said the second coming is “100 percent guaranteed.” Yet his Rapture date of May 21 came and went and the Savior didn’t appear – as he didn’t when Camping predicted the same thing in 1994 – so now what?
From a PR standpoint, it would seem that Mr. Camping will have a lot of splainin’ to do to those who put their faith in him. But will it hurt his “brand”? Probably not. His true believers are likely to go on believing. They may even be a little relieved. I think the general public, the media, and mainstream theologians will treat him as they always have; as a curiosity, good for a chuckle and some copy that breaks the monotony of earthquake, tsunami, assassination, and war news (ironic, isn’t it?)
Aside from the trash-talking guarantees of victory that come before boxing matches, during political campaigns, or apparently prior to the Rapture, guaranteed outcomes are supposed to be such sure bets that the guarantor is highly unlikely to have reparations to pay or egg on his face. “Guaranteed 100 percent” may not have consequences when applied to predicted appearances of the Four Horsemen, but they do in business.
Guarantees can be good for business (ask LL Bean) provided you can deliver both the quality of the product or money back should it come up short. But before you extend the offer of satisfaction guaranteed, take a step back. I recently touched on taking on a job you can’t handle, but let’s get more PR specific.
Once you’re clear on a client’s goals, give an honest assessment of what’s needed to achieve them.
• Make sure the desired time line is realistic.
• Make sure the client’s expectations are realistic.
• Be honest about what you can deliver.
• Be ready to hire extra hands if the project demands them.
• Don’t tell the client only what she wants to hear. If speaking truth to power is unwelcome, then drop that client.
• If it looks like you’re going to fall short of expected goals, don’t wait until it’s too late for a course correction – and do keep the client apprised.
If, after careful and realistic planning, you make a guarantee but fail to meet expectations, be prepared to make good on that guarantee. Learn from it and move forward. It may be a hard and even expensive lesson learned, but keep it in perspective.
After all, it’s not the end of the world.
Felicia Knight is President of Knight Vision International, LLC: www.KnightVisionInternational.com