Thursday, July 13, 2006

Staying on Message 

This is an interesting story and insight into how PR over-controls messages. Or, it might be a story of laziness by failing to vary a message. Take your choice. Either way, the outcome is silly when two persons are given identical quotes.

The tendency stay on message has gone to absurd lengths, to a point where few listen after they have heard the same theme 10 times. There is in music theme and variation. The theme is varied to entertain the listener, but it doesn't get away from its underlying structure. The same holds true for PR. Elaborating on a theme makes it deeper and more meaningful. Pounding a theme without variation makes it shallow and easily dismissed.

Once again, the political campaigning has influenced the trend to stay on message, but PR practitioners forget that politicians talk to different and new crowds daily. They don't say the same thing to the same crowd day after day without variation. That written, I know a CEO who does do that, but he is in charge of a huge company, and he wants to make sure no one thinks he has changed course. It works for him, but it doesn't work when one is dealing with reporters who are looking for news angles. Most practitioners use theme and variation. Those that don't smack of automated communication. Push button: Hear message.

Hey Jim,

Thsi is off-topic, but beloved business satirist Stanley Bing was revelaed (again) as Gil Schwartz, who is the corporate communications manager for CBS. Bing/Schwartz must have had some considerable grist for his pen with the 2004 Halftime Show fracas.

Here's the link: http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/books/07/12/books.stanleybing.ap/index.html


Jeff Clark

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