Professional communications is about change. Or rather, it is about a change in the market we are trying to create through our words, sounds and imagery. That’s such a simple and self-obvious thing that it is actually very easy to lose sight of. Over the years, marketing and public relations have come up with elaborate ways to break past the gatekeepers, to capture people’s attention, and hold it long enough that we can try to introduce a thought or change their mind.
It is very easy, especially when deep in the slog of it, to lose sight of the end goal and get fixated on one of the steps for getting you there. If the goal is to travel to Disney, most marketers are high-fiving one another at the airport as a job well-done and the bulk of PR folks are patting themselves on the back for having written ‘go to Disney’ on the calendar. You can see it all the time where someone has devised an effective way of getting your attention, but then had absolutely nothing to say.
We fall into the trap of issuing press releases with no news because someone along the way forgot that it’s not seeing the company name in the Globe & Mail, NYT or evening news that matters, but bringing information to an audience that changes their behaviour in a manner that is beneficial to the company.
Every communications plan should begin by asking, “what change do we need to make?” and everything that follows should be judged against its ability to bring about that change. Otherwise you are just making a lot of noise.