Following last week’s Chartered Institute of Public Relations Conference, Aaron Bass gives his five key communication takeaways from the day:
1) We are now ‘post truth.’ According to various ‘fact checking’ websites, Trump’s campaign was 52% lies. Many will believe whatever is on their social media feed, no matter where it comes from and therefore, most individuals will never see the other side of the story. This is partly because newsfeeds are tailored to the individual. Conventional media is still, just about, dictating the tone, but there is so much information available that choosing what to publish is, in itself, taking a side. In the post truth world, there are no leaders and everyone’s opinion is equal. This presents different opportunities for communication professionals and we need to adapt to seize them.
2) To really be successful we need to truly understand our audience. The Sun and The Daily Mail have huge audiences and accurately reflect what their readers are thinking, we need to understand what each media out is publishing in order to tailor our content for clients. Another tip, talk to those who have different opinions. Don’t just try and prove them wrong, but listen to them and understand where they are coming from, this will give us the ability to be more effective communicators.
3) Generation Z are coming. They are under 21, communicate differently and coming into the work force. To engage these people we need to think and communicate like them. It’s not just that they prioritise social media, it’s that they expect different behaviours from personalities. It is humble, approachable experts who are respected and seen as better leaders. In a crisis, leaders need to be seen on the field, acting appropriately – that may also mean that they need to be active on social media.
4) To run a successful campaign, particularly a successful public affairs campaign, we need to do what is least expected. So if that means we need to break stereotypes, then break stereotypes. If a consumer is expecting a statement then you need to consider viral content. Doing different things will get traction.
5) Expect the impossible – a year ago none of us would have expected so many celebrity deaths, Brexit, May, Leicester winning the Premier League, Trump, the list goes on. Those who are prepared for the unexpected can differentiate themselves and their clients.