The task of a public relations practitioner is to create, enhance and manage the public perception of his or her client.
On a recent trip to Maui, (yes that Maui), I received a first-hand look at a perceptual machine like no other.
Maui is one of the most desired tourist destinations in the world. Its perceptive value would rank at the top of any one’s list.
To maintain this value requires a lot of hard work. And we’re not talking about news articles, op-ed pieces, TV spots and ezines. Instead, hour upon hour and dollar upon dollar is spent on maintaining the Island’s natural resources. You see to visit Maui is to love it and the founding fathers do not want anything to interfere with this special experience.
This perception is cultivated, if you will, by constant fondling of the grounds. Flowers are preened and always in bloom. Grassy public walkways are trimmed and neat. Beaches are near spotless. A fleet of waste management vehicles picks up trash on a daily basis, even Sundays.
The perception extends to those who work on the island. They are friendly and courteous. Visitors and tourists somehow become part of the ambiance, willing to lend a helping hand when necessary, and are always anxious to strike-up a conversation.
The escape from a Canadian or Midwestern winter to sunny 80 degree temperatures, swaying palm trees, grassy cliffs, cooling trade winds, and the soothing sounds of the Pacific Ocean help to make the island what it is. But it could all be overlooked if those on the “front lines” did not do their job.
The island workers are what customer service representatives and sales people are to corporations. They are the first and only point of contact for most who visit the Valley Isle. From store clerks to waitresses to luggage handlers, they are Maui’s true purveyors of perception. And right now that perception is just about perfect.