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December 22, 2009
PR Should Glow in Any Season

The spirit of this Christmas tree farm is one that should infuse all customer relations in whatever setting they occur. It glows. True, this setting is a neighborly, word-of-mouth one with a brief sales period, but the spirit in which its customers are treated is key. It can infuse all customer relations. Look at the elements.

"When we first began selling trees," writes Betsy Henning on the Everything PR blog, "we experimented with pricing -- per foot, per species, per quality. Eventually we settled on a standard price per tree no matter the size or species. Ours is a 'cut or dig your own' operation, so we loan out saws or a digging spade. We offer burlap squares for dug trees and twine for tying trees to car rooftops."

"Our customers return year after year. We don’t choose to advertise other than putting a big sign at then end of our country road and a smaller sign at our driveway. With that we have all the business we can handle. When we’re not home a note on the door invites tree customers to help themselves. Equipment is on the porch, as is a locked box with a slot for checks or cash. The honor system works fine for us. But this isn’t our income, just a hobby."

Okay, this is a "hobby" setting. But why can't every business be operated in as close to that spirit as possible? It all comes down to enabling satisfaction. That is, the business setting -- in this case a Christmas tree farm -- enables customers readily to find and acquire what they are looking for, in a friendly, extremely accommodating manner. That's empathy, the heart of good public relations, whether at this season of the year or any other, for any business.

Merry Christmas, and may all your trees be brightly lighted! 



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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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