Successful PR campaigns engage and delight the audience and spread good will for the organizations producing them. If executed well, they flow smoothly and appear effortless, but behind the scenes, their execution is a finely crafted plan with six key elements that ensure success.
Let simplicity lead. This doesn’t mean an effort to dumb down the content. Instead, the message is crystallized in a way that jumps out at the viewer. And speaking of jumping out, presenting the unexpected is a keen way to hold attention. Break a pattern. Be bold. Inject the element of surprise. Be concrete, painting a mental picture that will be remembered. And let’s don’t forget the credibility factor. The message has to be believable. Adding an emotional element is important. People care about other people, and they want to know what’s in it for them. To relate to a message with feelings is important. Lastly, wrap all of these factors together by telling a story. Stories cause people to act through motivation and inspiration. Adding pictures with the story makes it even better.
Good PR campaigns embody all of these elements into one. The AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign does this eloquently. Their message is simple: don’t text and drive; if you do, it may kill you or someone else. It’s concrete. The ads speak of over 200,000 annual deaths due to texting and driving, but that’s not what makes an impact. It’s the emotional hook, the stories that are told with vivid images. Believable documentaries of real stories and real people. Lives who were impacted or even ended due to texting and driving. Real people exhibiting the same dangerous behavior as you and I might be. This message personalizes it for the viewer.
Simple. Unexpected. Concrete. Credible. Emotional. Stories. These elements make for a successful campaign. For a more in depth look at these critical steps to success, view “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath, a fast and insightful read that introduces and crystallizes these concepts. It will convince you that no communication plan should be executed without them.