There are some obvious "Don'ts" in Public Relations.
Don't tell a reporter you will throw him off a balcony. Don't "reply all." Don't drop an f-bomb if you're the Pope. Don't be Joe Biden.
And of course, Don't take a dozen online moms on a tour of a "kill floor" at a pork processing plant.
But here's the thing about that last don't: you kind of have to do it if you want people to truly understand where their food comes from. So that's exactly what the Animal Agriculture Alliance (my client) did.
The Alliance told the true, complete "farm to fork" story, using pork as the example. They invited twelve bloggers from across the country to see first-hand and learn about the entire process - from insemination on a sow farm, to a nursery, to a finishing farm, to processing. The bloggers met with farmers, with veterinarians, with environmental engineers, with scientists and nutritionists. No question was off the table.
And it was amazing. These remarkable women viewed this process with open eyes and open minds. They have said they found the experience to be educational, engaging, and entertaining. They shared their thoughts online using a hashtag, #farmtopork.
Each of the women have had their own unique perspective, but I noticed one opinion they all share - they all have a much deeper appreciation and respect for farmers and for all the people who bring food to our tables. They saw first hand the passion and lifelong commitment that farmers bring to their work. They saw how much sophistication and science is required in agriculture today. They saw how safety - food safety as well as worker safety - is the top priority. And they also saw just how nice everyone was.
And so while we can take that last item I mentioned off the list of PR "don'ts", we can probably add one as well.
Don't ever underestimate the ability of online moms to listen, think critically, and make up their own minds - no matter what you have to show them.