Like Kevin wrote yesterday, it’s usually not a good idea to talk about work-related stuff in a blog like this. But sometimes, an incident happens and it sends you over the edge. And yes, I was cranky today (until I stepped out of the office for a bit to go get my hair cut).
When I was teaching, I used to raise a point Doc Searls made many years ago about the need to distinguish between the customer (or “client”) and the consumer of the “wares” of PR. This distinction should be clear and easy enough to grasp. But, sadly, in practice, it is not always applied.
The end result is that the client’s idea (ideal?) of what makes for valuable online content is what makes it to a website. There’s often an assumption that the typical online reader (i.e., the consumer) is a little dim and easily confused, but in fact there’s quite a bit of projection happening here. Because the client is caught inside his or her organizational structure and/or is not as savvy as the majority of the organization’s customers when it comes to sniffing out information online, he or she imposes his or her views on them. Yet, at the same time, items that could confuse the consumer or, at the very least, truly project a bad image of the organization, the client doesn’t perceive as a problem because of some unknown political posturing that’s happening within that organization.
I obviously can’t be more specific than I’m being right now. And to calm myself a little, I repeated over and over to myself that my way is not necessarily always right. However, with the years of experience I have dealing with this stuff, I know that I have a few more clues to rub together than the client.
But the client (or customer) is always right, as they say. And I can live with that in cases like this one, where what the client wants isn’t in any way harmful to others or unethical. It’s still a little frustrating, though.