Why Three Key Messages Don’t Cut It Anymore – & What To Do About It

Have you ever surveyed your audience to see whether people can recall your three key messages after your spokesperson has been in the media?

Because you did have three key messages, didn’t you? It’s like … a rule of PR. Three key messages.

But when you’re down the pub, are people actually talking about organisations’ key messages? Have they absorbed them and acted on them?

Rarely. And why is this?

Essentially, it is because nobody is listening out for you. They didn’t invite you to jump out of the pages of their newspaper or onto their television screen with your opinion on a product or issue.

In this busy, noisy and digital world, people look to rapidly filter out the unfamiliar. And if Trump and Brexit have shown us anything, it is that people today are more responsive to how they ‘feel’ about something. People need to have an emotional response to something before they start to consider the rational data, argument and messages.

It’s why people won’t switch from Coke to Pepsi just because they’re told it tastes better. They’re too attached to the Coca-Cola story of sharing and togetherness.

If you do not give your audience an emotional reason to trust you, they are likely just to shrug their shoulders.

What does this emotional story look like?

People relate best to people. You trust someone because of ‘who’ they appear to be. A sense of what they value and how they might create value for you.

So instead of your media spokesperson rushing in to telling people what you do and how well you do it, frame and contextualise it with ‘who we are’.

It’s why Disney frames all their communications with ‘magical storytelling’ and why John Lewis does with ‘we are a partnership’.

Once emotionally engaged with you, the audience is more likely to listen to your rational key messages. Do your spokespeople – or your press releases – frame and contextualise the subject with ‘who’ you are?

This is what we at Electric Airwaves do for spokespeople who need to tell their organisation’s story confidently and effectively so that it actually shifts the metrics of reputation on which Communication teams are judged.

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