We always tell participants during our media training sessions that your answer to a journalist’s opening question is when the audience decides whether to trust you and invest precious time listening to you. Especially since in all probability, the audience won’t have heard of you and possibly your organisation.
Meet Marcus Hughes, European managing director of a listed company called Coinbase, that operates in the world of crypto currencies. He was recently on BBC Radio 4’s generalist business discussion programme, The Bottom Line, hosted by interviewer, Evan Davies.
One of Evan’s great skills is to turn corporate babble into something meaningful for his audience. When he asked Marcus right at the start of the programme to explain what Coinbase does, Marcus replied with:
“Coinbase is effectively a platform. It was founded in 2012 and what we do is allow customers to buy and sell crypto assets and we provide them with access to an ever increasing range of services that are effectively powered by crypto. So we are where you can come if you want to access the crypto ecosystem and we make it easy to use effectively in a nutshell.”
Leaving aside Hughes’ frequent and annoying use of the word “effectively”, how accessible was that description? Did it grab your attention? Did it make you say “wow, tell me more?” It didn’t for me.
And how does Evan Davies reword that simply and meaningfully for the audience?
“So you can download the app. You can put some other money in and then you can buy some Bitcoin or Ethereum and trade in and out of those cryptocurrencies.”
In the words of Comparethemarket.com’s meerkat, Aleksandr Orlov, “Simples”.
However, better than just being able to explain simply what your organisation does and how, is to explain ‘who’ you are. How does your organisation create value? What do you value? What makes you tick? By engaging audiences emotionally with you at the start of an interview, you set them up for listening to your rational key messages and thus shift the metrics of reputation on which Communication teams are judged
Electric Airwaves’ media training is grounded in identifying such an engaging and compelling singular story for your spokespeople with which they can frame and contextualise all their interviews. So for our friend at Coinbase, how about something like:
“If you want to own and use a currency whose value cannot be diluted by inflation or seized by government, the app we developed at Coinbase helps you easily and securely invest, spend, save, earn, and use digital cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.”