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Wasps and reputation

22nd October 2018


Whether you’re in politics, business or charity telling your story is central to success. However, reputations are strange and fickle things. They can take decades of painstaking work to establish yet seconds to destroy. So when it comes to deep-set negativity and intense dislike, spare a thought for the much-maligned wasp, everyone’s least favourite insect.

There are no ‘save the wasps campaigns’, celebrity endorsements or opinion pieces about the significance of the wasp on the world. Contrasted with the more ‘friendly’ bee (the BBC’s Countryfile programme has even instructed viewers on ways to handfeed exhausted bees), wasps are seen as downright evil - serving no other purpose than to ruin al-fresco dining or to sting toddlers. Hatred of wasps is so deep-rooted that it prevails in the English language, just think of the term ‘waspish’…  

PR is all about reputation and the humble wasp is indeed in need of a serious perception overhaul. You would think that this would be difficult task, but just taking a brief look at the impact of the wasps on food production and even medicine then you soon appreciate its significance:

Pollination

Everyone knows bees are critical for world agriculture however the poor wasp’s role is widely ignored. Wasps are important pollinators, moving pollen from plant to plant, just like bees. In fact the pollination of figs is entirely dependent on one species of wasp. So thank the fig wasp for the delicious counterpart of goat cheese.

Pest control

Wasps are the farmer’s best friend as they are voracious hunters of pests like green fly and caterpillars. It’s estimated that in the UK wasps kill over 14 million tonnes of insect pests over a summer season. Now without this vital contribution then farms would have reduced crop yields (bad for us) and increased use of pesticides (bad for the environment).

Fighting cancer

Medical researchers are even experimenting with the use of Brazilian wasp venom as part of a therapy that selectively destroys cancerous cells. Even wasps are together against cancer.

The power of PR

PR, when done correctly, has the power to raise profiles and champion the undervalued and wrongly labelled. The same applies to organisational reputation. If you don’t raise your profile positively then you run the risk of being mislabelled. It’s something as simple as education to the right audiences. As shown above, wasps have clear benefits for farmers, chefs and drug manufacturers as well as consumers.

Of course wasps aren’t interested in the power of PR. They’re annoying, and their stings are painful, but without them the world would be a much worse place.

See, you’ll never look at a wasp in the same way again.

 


Thomas Hall

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