As a corporate communicator/ PR practitioner, how much effort have you put in to developing craft?
For example, can you write a crisp, newsworthy press release that can attract the attention of a busy editor? How about a polished feature article for a business publication; a thought-provoking speech; an influential thought leadership piece; an informative and enticing brochure?
Do you have an “ear” for tone, and do you understand how it can either establish or destroy credibility? Do you appreciate how a single photograph can convey more than a two-page spread? And can you recognize that photo when you see it? Can you tell excellent from ordinary when it comes to graphic design?
It’s tempting for communication professionals to see themselves mainly as providers of advice and developers of strategies and tactics. Granted, these activities are vital if communication and PR are to help achieve corporate goals. This is why we put so much time and thought into communication plans.
But such plans on their own won’t get the job done, because they are only there to guide and help us stay focused. Plans are inert – they don’t reach out and touch audiences or stakeholders.
In essence, for communication to take place an organisation must produce information worth sharing with stakeholders – information an audience would value and can relate to. And since we cannot yet taste or smell communication (although foodies might disagree), any such product must be shaped and packaged to suit the eye, the ear, or both.
All of which brings us back to craft: the ability to assemble the right words and images and present them in the right manner with the right tone.
Such ability lies at the very heart of effective corporate communication and public relations. It always has done and always will.