When British actress Rachel Shenton picked up an Academy Award for The Silent Child, a film depicting life as a child with profound hearing loss, she used sign language during her acceptance speech to raise awareness of deafness in children.
Her approach made the headlines and helped the film and – crucially – its subject matter, stand out even more.
Although delivering on a promise to her six-year-old co-star of the film, it was also an exercise in communication excellence for cutting through the media noise associated with the Oscars.
As communications professionals, it’s our job at Zen to do the same. Perhaps not carrying out client meetings using sign language (although one of the team is learning!), but to use the right tools, at the right time, for the right job.
Many clients come to us because they are struggling to get their message across to potential customers. ‘My press releases get ignored!’, they say. Often we hear horror stories of how some PR agencies more closely represent a press release factory, employing a ‘hit and hope’ approach, and doing things because that’s the way they’ve always been done.
That approach simply doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. As technically-trained writers, with decades of experience between us in strategic communications, we are adept at taking our clients to the very core of their issue or aspiration, working out exactly who it is that needs to receive the message, and then analysing that message needs to be received.
It might be a blog post like this, a whitepaper, Q&A document, speaking slot or trade press triple-page feature. Everyone consumes information pertinent to them in ways that are unique to them. So a one-size-fits-all approach is never going to get the intended results.
Instead, take a step back and think about who you’re targeting, and ultimately what you want them to think, feel and do with the information you’re communicating.
Otherwise, it’s a bit like shouting in a crowded room, you’ll struggle to make yourself heard.