If you haven’t seen the story on the news today about the young Afghan Lionel Messi fan then I recommend that you review it (http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38314000). It was a really heart-warming story that demonstrated the more positive side of football than has been in the headlines recently.
Many people may dismiss it as a PR stunt but does that really matter? I don’t know why Messi decided to agree to meet the six-year-old fan, whether it was his idea or that of some PR and communications person, but it is almost irrelevant. The smile on the young boys face was all that mattered as you can see that was absolutely genuine.
As communicators we often avoid creating a media story if it is going to be seen as a shameless way of obtaining publicity or is likely to be criticised in some way. I have written before about the annoying way the media use the phrase ‘PR disaster’ for something that has just gone wrong within an organisation. PR and communication can, though, be a force for good not just within an organisation but within the world. That might sound a bit grand or even a bit odd but I firmly believe it.
Communicators are ideally positioned to see what is happening across a company and where things are working or there are problems. They are the people who can make people aware of an ’emperor’s new clothes’ situation when it emerges. They are also the people who should be able to see what needs to be done and explain why. In the case I have highlighted they may have been the people saying it would be good to give the little boy some memories he will have forever.
How many of us working in PR and communication roles are able to say that we have done the same? When you were faced with that little boy who had a dream were you able to make sure that you made him smile? Let us all go into work and leave some magic along the way.