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Adjunct Professor, Public Relations and Communications Graduate Program,
Georgetown University, and
CEO, EnviroComm International
January 7, 2011
Story in Boston Globe says politicians need to spit it out.
They say sound bites have to shrink to nine seconds.
Politicians have to say it fast, clean, clear.
They have to figure out what works with voters.
Same for corporate communicators?
Don't CCOs have to figure out what works?
What's the company's message?
How do we get it into the heads of stakeholders?
We know we're not talking to publics.
We know our stakeholders are not audiences.
They don't sit there waiting to take in our every word.
We know we have to hit them where they are.
What do they care about?
Why do they buy our stock, our products?
What makes them want to go to work for us?
What makes them feel good about us?
Peter Drucker said to ask three questions:
– Who are our customers (stakeholders)?
– What do they want from us?
– Knowing these things, what do we do?
Drucker said the main job is to create customers.
Without folks who buy into the deal, the company sinks.
Corporate communicators' job is to create stakeholders.
Get people to buy into whatever the win-win deal is.
Prove that our company's deal is as good as competitors'.
We need to tell the truth clearly and cleanly.
Do we need to speak in sound bites?
Are we over our word limit?
Is the elevator speech an express?
Is each sentence tweetable?
Is our message we like you?
Are my nine seconds up?
Bruce Harrison is an adjunct professor in the master's program at
Georgetown University, Washington, DC. He and Judith Muhlberger teach
courses in leadership communications and corporate crisis communications.
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