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Follow Through and Follow Up

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

By the time we hit our teenage years, we’ve heard this simple definition for trust: Do what you say you’re going to do. And it’s true. When we follow through on our promises, when we live true to who we say we are, trust flows.

Follow-through is especially important in communications. PR (public relations) sometimes earns a bad reputation because there can be a disconnect – purposeful or not – between what an organization says and how it behaves. In the disconnect, trust vanishes, and it can take years for an audience to believe that organization again.

The disconnect is seldom intentional. It can easily result from leadership changes or from competing demands that send leaders’ attention elsewhere. Part of a communication team’s role is to steer internal decision-makers back to the core messaging and keep leaders aligned with the brand. It’s not easy to do, but in durable organizations, that role is valued and impactful.

An organization should not keep messages that no longer feel relevant, however. Though logos might remain the same for decades, organizational brands (tagline, top-line messages, value statements) should be updated about every five years to stay true to the organization’s reality. Pivots are an important part of growth and improvement, and communicating these pivots brings opportunities to engage your audience and even reach new audiences.

Following up

The second half of following through is following up. If you’re communicating often, a natural part of the workload is to report how you did what you said you were going to do.

More often than not, though, we’re onto the next project or plan and assume our audiences can intuit how the organization followed through. Maybe at this point, we’re too tired of talking about the last project, but skip ahead to the Next Big Thing without bringing your audience full-circle and you miss a key opportunity to double down on your brand, back up your words with actions (or stories about the actions, really) and strengthen your organization’s credibility.

Consider standardizing a mini communications campaign around milestone completions. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these three questions:

  1. What did we do?

  2. What were the results? (Or: How did the results compare with our goals?)

  3. What did we learn along the way? (Or: What, if anything, might change next time?)

Then build some content around your answers—a few social posts, a newsletter article or two, a blog post on your website and/or an infographic if there are numbers worth sharing. Dole the content out over two to three weeks, even as you talk about the next project on the horizon. And call it good.


If your results were phenomenal or even just darn good, it’s probably worth more than a mini campaign. Remind your leaders to celebrate milestones, both internally and externally, even as they rush toward the Next Big Thing. Celebrating the wins is a powerful tool for team cohesion, reduces burnout and increases pride, not just among employees but with customers and clients too. After all, everyone wants to be part of a winning team.


Need help communicating your wins? Karapace knows how to find the heart of any story and crafts content to highlight your impact. Schedule a free consultation by reaching out to us at the form below.

Read the rest of the Trust Recipe here.

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