By Jenny Fujita and Joy Miura Koerte, Fujita & Miura Public Relations
Pssst. Have you heard the secret? Probably. You and about a million others who have purchased “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne making it number one on “The New York Times” bestseller list for 10 weeks. The secret in “The Secret” is kind of like the secrets we tell on Kaua`i that loop their way around the coconut wireless until they come back to us full circle, in pretty much the same way as we told them originally. In other words, most secrets, including “The Secret,” are anything but. And there lies the brilliance of it.
The title, “The Secret,” denotes something exclusive, which makes all those who have read it or know about it feel special in some way. However, the beauty of the concept is that it achieves exclusivity without leaving anyone out. After all, “The Secret” is hardly a secret. According to “USA Today,” in one year “The Secret” DVD has sold 1.1 million copies and there are now 1.2 million copies of the book in print. In the same article, the book’s publisher, Cynthia Black said, “People are finding out about it from other people.” So the PR lesson is, if there’s something you want everyone to know, call it a secret or at least make it seem special, but in an inclusive way.
There’s a PR story of a CEO who wanted his employees to know something and after failing with several communications efforts, he sent out a “confidential” fax to each department. As one would expect, the news spread through the company like wildfire. You don’t have to be quite that manipulative in your company, but if there’s news to tell, tell it in a way that makes your public feel like they’re the recipients of a gift. Take your time to think about the method and tone of your delivery and you’ll surely attract some good PR.