Friday 29 November 2013

A Tarot Reader's Perspective On Public Relations

Tarot - My Conversation Starter
I spent 2 days at a PR conference recently in my capacity as the head of corporate marketing and communications of a financial organization.  I met peers from different companies, some were multinational companies, and some were start-ups.  Throughout the conference, I made comments, and asked questions via Twitter.  Other PR professionals at the conference did the same and some engaged in a lively conversation with me about specific topics that were covered at the conference.
My Twitter handle is @SunGoddessTarot.  Obviously, my discussions at the conference were not about Tarot, but about the role, function, opportunities and challenges of PR professionals like myself.  My Twitter handle might have caused a few raised eyebrows because during the tea and lunch breaks, I had a lot of conference participants come up to me to ask what I actually did for a living, so I gave them my “holding statement” and told them that I was a Marketing and Communications professional by trade and a Tarot reader and Numerologist by accident. 
That became a great conversation starter, and perhaps explained why I came home from the conference with my handbag filled with business cards, and a headache from doing impromptu numerology readings for quite a number of new friends whom I had made at the conference.   When I looked back at the exchanges between some of these PR professionals and myself during the 2 days at the conference, I was gratified that I need not have to explain my passion in Tarot and Numerology like I used to have to do so years ago when I first came out of the closet with my intuitive gifts.  Everyone I spoke to who came up to me because they were intrigued by my Twitter handle, were very opened minded.  One of them said to me “ If I do not have to explain my passion in music as I sing in a local rock band outside of my day job as a PR professional, why should you explain about your passion in Tarot and Numerology?”  Bless him.
Public Relations And Tarot
The openness I had experienced within my circle of new friends within the PR industry spurred me to think about some lessons Tarot could teach about PR.  Encouragingly, this was not far different from what I had learnt at the conference.  Here are some key take-outs from that conference that resonated with me – explained from the Tarotist’s point of view.
Conversations Management – 5 Of Wands
PR is the art of managing conversations online and offline.   A great PR professional will need to juggle between the malleable nature of the different media within which these conversations are held, whether they are spontaneous conversations about our brand and what consumers think about it, fuelled conversations about any content our brand pushes out through the line about our products, programs, or services, as well as direct conversations which could include a customer query or complaint.
The 5 of Wands is a perfect card to describe this.  It is a card that points to an environment full of differing opinions that could potentially escalate to tension and conflict. Amongst customers,  there are so many target audiences with varying needs and have different experiences with the brand.  Amongst them some  are brand advocates, some are detractors and others just have a passive opinion about a brand if they actually have one at all.   Differing opinions should be artfully turned into productive conversations with the aim of positively influencing the customer’s perspectives about our brand.  

PR With A Purpose – Ace of Swords
In order to manage these conversations productively amongst  customers, it is a PR professional’s role to help bind the different audience towards a clear purpose, and create positive conversations about this purpose.  That is why I pulled the Ace of Swords into the mix.  The Ace of Swords is a card that reflects a clear direction, and clarity of thought and purpose. During that conference, Jonathan Sanchez from Unilever spoke about PR with a Purpose.  Take a leaf from Unilever’s campaign Project Sunlight which aims to create a #brightfuture for the next generation.  When companies and  PR professionals can think beyond the top line and bottom line to deliver content that binds customers and the company around a single purpose, it is powerful enough to turn a negative opinion about a brand into a positive one, and significantly improve the customer’s consideration to buy. 

Telling Compelling Stories And Creating Quality Content –  The Empress
Mastering the art of story telling in PR is key.  In telling compelling stories, PR professionals are helping companies to build strong relationships with customers by  creating differentiated brand experiences. Every piece of content that PR professionals develop, plays into the brand’s overall message.  I use the Empress  to illustrate this point because she is the epitome of creative expression.  The Empress asks that one leverages all senses including touch, smell, sight, sound and taste to create fulfilling the case of a PR professional, that would be content generate from these differentiated experiences.  She encourages one to connect with others through open communication and through nurturing relationships with authenticity.  PR professionals are called to create opportunities for brand to proactively engage with the customers. The Empress knows the art of telling a compelling story to influence people's opinions positively.  PR professionals should take a leaf from the Empress in Tarot.
My Skills As A PR Professional And A Tarot Reader
I am privileged to be straddling both paths as a PR professional and a Tarot reader.  These respective paths have taught me invaluable skills that I use interchangeably within each of these roles.  Thinking back, I might have made a mistake by describing Tarot reading as my passion because PR is a passion for me too.   In both roles, I have learnt to engage my target audiences with the art of telling the right stories, for the right purpose that help connect them to my brand.
About The Writer:

The writer of this blog post is a marketeer by trade, and a tarot card reader by accident. She was awarded a Certified Professional Tarot Reader qualification from the Tarot Certification Board of America (TCBA) and is also a certified numerologist.  She is currently running a Tarot consultancy based in Singapore called Sun Goddess Tarot,  which provides confidential intuitive readings combining the metaphysical disciplines of Tarot, Numerology and Astrology via face to face and emails as well as readings at corporate and private events and workshops.  A member of the American Tarot Association (ATA) and the Tarot Association of the British Isles (TABI), she is also a reader for the Free Tarot Network and mentors Tarot protégés on behalf of the American Tarot Association

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