The topic can be a minefield for the best-intentioned individuals, particularly those in public relations trying to communicate to, or about, veterans without offending or patronizing them.
To cut to the moral of the story: You don’t want to be the person who is accused of exploiting veterans, intentionally or unintentionally, for profit and publicity.
Most communications errors regarding veterans occur because PR professionals don’t think about or fully understand the population they are targeting. As a Navy reservist and founder of a fledgling non-profit focused on veteran entrepreneurs, I’ve had the opportunity in recent years to discuss this topic with amazing people from around the country who live, eat, and breathe veterans’ services.
I’ve learned a great deal and even dispelled some misconceptions of my own over time. With Veterans Day this Sunday, here are five crucial lessons about veterans for PR professionals:
They are not broken.
You’ve read the headlines. Suicide rates are up. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) afflicts hundreds of thousands. Young veterans are unemployed. It’s all true, but all misleading if taken as a representation of the general state of the veteran population.