The Whole Truth; Confessions of a PCB Leader

By Sue Lichtenfels, President

For those of you who don’t know, I am an avid reader. Easily, I read over 250 books each year through my NLS BARD app on my iPhone. Frankly, to tell the truth, it’s an addiction. When the BARD system goes down unexpectedly, I cringe in hopes that I’ll have enough books downloaded to make it through the outage. I am a confessed junk reader; if it’s fiction with a decent plot that’s neither Sci-Fi nor a Western, I’m likely to try it.

My favorite books though, are mysteries and legal thrillers. In these stories and those on popular legal dramas like Law and Order, sometimes they focus on the witness swearing on the Bible. The bailiff asks the witness if he swears to, “Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Not only is he agreeing to make only true statements, but he is assuring that he will provide the whole story. For only when all the truths are layered together, can the jury get the complete picture.

In business, telling individual truths versus telling the whole truth can mean a major difference in sales revenue. Consider the following true statements. Amazon is a bookstore. Walmart sells apparel for the whole family. Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant. While true, none of the statements tell the whole story. Each business offers much more than is stated, and the companies’ marketing teams use brand strategy to make sure the world knows the whole story. They work to find an over-arching truth about all their products or services that help them connect with the public in a way that is meaningful and engaging.

Each company has its “claim to fame” or its brand that resonates with people. For example, when I think Amazon, I don’t think bookstore even though that’s what Amazon started out as. I think, “I can find anything I want online and get it here in two days.” When it comes to Walmart, the brand in my mind is, “Conveniently located just 10 minutes away and carry stuff for everyday life with low prices and a decent selection.” Yes, Chuck E. Cheese is a restaurant, but you do not go there for the culinary experience. It’s a fun-filled game and activity place for kids. These companies have not become successful because of one individual product line or service area; they have found a way to promote the whole picture of what they offer consumers. Regardless of which products or services they partake of, folks can count on a consistent experience–the truth of the brand.

Consider these true statements. PCB advocates on issues affecting people who are blind or visually impaired. PCB holds an annual conference. PCB has local chapters across the state. PCB publishes a quarterly newsletter. PCB hosts topical discussion calls. While each of these statements is a truth about PCB, separately they are not the whole truth about the organization. When you look at them as a whole, there is one consistent experience that folks can count on –peer engagement. Throughout PCB, people with vision loss are sharing with, learning from, and working among, other people who are impacted by vision loss. And that is the whole truth about PCB.

PCB Is a Peer Network for All Impacted by Vision Loss. This is the PCB brand. This tells the world what they will experience at any event or activity of the organization. It is the very fabric of who we are, and as such, is the best marketing tool we have. Let me explain further as I did during our June 3 telenar.

PCB literally is a peer network for all impacted by vision loss. We are an organization of the blind. We, the peers of the network guide and conduct the work of the organization. We are an open organization that welcomes anyone who has been impacted by vision loss whether it is directly or through that of a friend or family member. We all have a voice and a vote in the governance of the organization. It doesn’t matter to us where you live, what your political affiliation is, or what your level of adjustment to blindness is. We will welcome you regardless of your vision level or your mobility device preference. We encourage you to share your opinions and ideas and in turn, each of us is respectful of others views. We foster personal development and promote opportunities for success. We act as a resource and support for one another in a variety of ways.

Even more compelling is the intangible peer experience underlying every organizational offering. Some might call it the culture of the organization or the atmosphere. I like to be more sophisticated and say there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about participating in PCB events and activities. It’s a magic connection that we all share regardless of our individual backgrounds. Yes, I did just refer to bonding because of vision loss as having a magic connection. When you’re with PCB peers you can let your guard down and take a break from battling all the misperceptions you face every day. PCB is made up of peers who truly get it. PCB is where you can go to rejuvenate your mental energy and re-establish your confidence. It’s a place where you can be yourself without feeling like people are watching your every move. You can share your fears and frustrations about vision loss without being judged. It doesn’t matter how successful and comfortable you are among sighted friends, family, and co-workers, participating in PCB is still like coming home at the end of a long, grueling day. The bottom line is that the magic connection I described makes PCB an oasis for anyone impacted by vision loss.

“A Peer Network for All Impacted by Vision Loss,” is the perfect answer to the question, “What is PCB?” It’s the whole truth about PCB. In all that we do, that peer factor is evident. It’s what sets us apart from other organizations. And that is the PCB brand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when you are telling others about PCB? PCB – A Peer Network for All Impacted by Vision Loss.

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