The Tiffany Theory:
What do you think of when you imagine Tiffany's? A little blue box? It's a symbol of value...or perceived value. Tiffany's jewelry has a much higher perceived value when it is in the blue box (and white ribbon) than if it had a plain box.
Much of successful PR is gift-wrapping. You take the challenge of a plain message and present it in a way that is exciting, where the value is seems to be higher. In public relations, perception is reality. The way the public views your story or company depends on how you present it. Wrap it well. The better it is wrapped, the straighter the edges, the larger the bow, the more correct and polished it is, the better your story or presentation is to the audience.
This doesn't mean lie. Lying is never allowed, it is not ethical and it will always be caught. This is simply a way to stand out, show the importance and passion in what you're presenting, and gain attention. We are trying to bring the public to the conclusion we are trying to promote.
Conclusion: When you receive blue box it means that jewelry is expensive and valuable.
Truth: Tiffany's isn't nearly as expensive as some other jewelry stores.
How can this be simply implemented to every day work?
This week I have been working on a write-up for Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. This is a plain, boring, five-page write-up to nominate the Chairman of the Board for the Chairman of the Year 2011 national award. The award sheet says it can be e-mailed or mailed to the address given and needs to include certain written materials. Looking at last years copy, I was bored. I absolutely did not want to do this job, it looked dreadful. Why did it look so bad? It was plain paper, black and white ink, with five pages worth of text. I had to do it, and if I am going to do something like this, it was time to get out the wrapping paper out. Last years obviously didn't win, this one will...or at least stand out in the pile. The text didn't change much, the material was much the same as last year's, just re-worded. The presentation looked like it was for the President of the United States. Suddenly a little pagination, design elements, color, charts and pictures made the perceived value higher. This write-up will stand out among the other nominations, and the presentation looks like our hospital must be more professional; therefore, we must have better leadership. The CEO wrote me a personal thank you note. It's Tiffany. I just put wrapped that boring write-up in Tiffany's paper and suddenly it is much better than the rest.