Research, Polling, Stakeholders, Strategy, Execution vs … A Simple Message

August 20th, 2010

The best publicists understand that full-fledged PR campaigns require significant effort and diligence – even stage-management, like a Hollywood blockbuster (more on that below).  When we hear excellent quotes, great taglines, catchy arguments, or anything else similarly persuasive and identifiable, we assume that the communications are spontaneous.  And that is the is the mark of stellar public relations – you believe the messaging is organic.

The truth is, 99% of the time, messaging that reinforces a client’s goals is the product of an intensive examination of how to deliver concise and effective statements that connect with key stakeholders.  In other words, messages that resonate are no accident, they are scientifically determined, tested, and delivered to ensure maximum impact and traction.

Still, sometimes the client’s thought leadership or public affairs campaign is so concentrated and distilled on a simple message that it’s hard for it not to generate fawning headlines – even if a thorough and thoughtful strategy is or isn’t behind it.  Case in point: yesterday’s release by the CDC of the latest smoking in movies statistics.  The report contains heaps of damning number and figures that still show a prevalence of smoking by film characters, and urges Hollywood to continue vigilant efforts to deglamorize the harmful practice on screen.

And what does such a packed-report, coupled with a simple press conference, get for the CDC?  The following headlines:

• “CDC to Hollywood: Stop with the Smoking, Already!

• “‘Step Forward’ in Limiting Smoking Scenes in Films

• “Butt out Smoking on Silver Screen

• “Smoking Still too Common in Movies

Not bad for a PR shop’s day’s work, if you ask us.  Puns in headlines are always a bit cheesy, but here they get the job done – bravo CDC for understanding that simplicity in messaging will always trump the million-page Power Point.

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