Keep on message

August 12, 2010
The term ‘keep on message’ is one that we are familiar with during an election campaign as political leaders try and repeat the slogans that have come out of research as the sentiments that will best appeal to those important voters in the key marginals.
But why do they do it?
The simple reason is that repetition is how human beings remember things. It started with the repetition of the two times tables when we first started school and the same principle applies in all other instances where we need to remember something, or someone else feels we need to remember it. Cramming before an exam is an obvious example of the need to remember information in the hope that if we get that question our memory will be able to regurgitate the answer.
But how does this apply to you and communication about your business?
I have used the following phrase throughout my PR career to sum up how it works:
‘Effective communication is the repetition of credible key messages and the degree of repetition required is always underestimated’.  
You have to tell ’em, tell ’em you told ’em, then tell ’em again.
In every PR program we undertake, one of the vital first steps we do for our client is to develop the key messages, which are the ones that will repeated throughout the PR activities. I emphasise that they must be credible otherwise you risk shooting yourself in the foot as no one will believe you anyway.
Has anyone got any anecdotes of good, or bad examples of key messages?
@Dennis Rutzou

PR Mentor – Training & Mentoring for Small Business PR

August 9, 2010

Every organisation has a good story to tell and must tell that story to its customers to grow the business and increase market share in a competitive environment. Public relations is a marketing investment that will help raise the public profile of your organisation over time to create a position of market leadership.

At Dennis Rutzou Public Relations (DRPR), we have often witnessed the great PR potential of small businesses and start-ups, yet see them suffer the frustration of not being able to commit to a full public relations program at a time when PR can make a significant contribution to their future. For this reason, we’ve developed PR Mentor, a cost effective 12-week group training and mentoring program specifically tailored to small businesses and start-ups.


PR Mentor provides you with the knowledge and small business PR tools required to start raising the public profile of your organisation, in an interactive collaborative environment.

PR Mentor find out more!

Is honesty the best policy?

August 5, 2010


Sitting around the dinner table last night my family and I were having a typical ‘solve the problems of the worlds’ conversation over a few glasses of red and the topic of respecting politicians came up.

Everyone around the table had some very valid points, but the one consensus that surfaced, regardless of political persuasion, age or gender, was that the Prime Minister of Australia should be referred to as just that, ‘Prime Minister’.

This may sound odd at first, but there have been several examples in recent media coverage, especially in interviews and even in the leader’s debate held a few weeks back, where political commentators are referring to the prime minister as Julia, or Ms Gillard.

The dialogue between politicians and members of the media seems to have evolved. There appears to be more banter, brazen comments, questions and innuendo, as well as moments of utter premeditated humiliation.

As the youngest member of last night’s ‘family’ debate it lead me to question whether politicians have bought this predicament upon themselves? Do they warrant as much respect as they used to, in the ‘good ol’ days’? I was quickly reminded of a time when slogans such as, ‘Keeping the bastards honest’ echoed throughout political campaigns.

My recollection of political history is obviously filtered through the views of my parents and elders so I don’t assume to have objectivity, but in this current political climate I can’t help but feel like the ‘strategies’ used by politicians in their media/political campaigns are so cautious, contrived and self-edited that it does breed a seed of resentment. Are we expected to just lap it up without question?

The same can be said in day-to-day PR campaigns not just political PR. Is it better to offer the public honesty and transparency and take a risk by humanising your organisation and making it somewhat vulnerable? Or do you play it safe and treat the public like the ignorant masses and assume they won’t question what they’re not told?

I would like to think there are still a majority of people out there that don’t take information on face value and that honesty in communication is paramount. There seems to be a focus on how you say it, rather than what you say these days- I think both are equally important.

I love it when I can put an Oscar Wilde quote in context, so let’s finish on this pearler… “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”

Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)


Microworkers – a case of ethics?

July 29, 2010


Cherry Picked recently blogged about a new site, ‘Microworkers’ – “Think of it as Santa’s Little Helpers for odd jobs. Except you’re not Santa, and they’re not doing it for love. Don’t have time to edit a cover letter for that must-have job? Simply become an “employer” and hire someone (a microworker) to do it for you. Can’t seem to attract traffic to your work-of-art blog? Start a campaign and watch your numbers rise. You can even ask workers to product place your latest business venture on discussion forums.”

 I have to admit I was intrigued, we are all looking for ways to earn that little bit of extra money right? So I clicked through to the website, but as I started to read more the first thing that came to mind was surely this isn’t ethical!?

 According to the homepage employers are asking people to blog about their products, post reviews to websites and blogs, become a Facebook fan, follow them on Twitter and the list goes on.

I can understand if businesses are trying to find people to review their products, as long as the reviewers are honest. However there is an ongoing debate about whether paying bloggers to review products is ethical (see my last post on the ethics of food blogging) and asking people to become fans of your brand on social media takes it that one step further!

Personally I believe that it is not the amount of fans or followers you have on Facebook and Twitter it is how many are engaging with your brand and providing valuable feedback and real referrals.

If you are paying someone to become your fan or follower then how likely is it that they are going to be interested in your brand and really engage with it? Is it likely to help you promote your products and/or services? In my view, probably not, it is likely to just make you feel better about yourself, being able to reach those milestones of 100, 200, 1000 etc fans.

So when you are looking to set up your social media strategy or reviewing it, think about what you really want, hundreds or maybe thousands of people who ‘like’ your brand or maybe just a couple of hundred people who really love you brand and are engaging with it?


The best conversations are two-way

March 13, 2009

The more I learn about social media the more I realise that it is really about conversations and what I know as a PR practitioner is that communication aims to start or continue a conversation.


The main challenge businesses have with social media is to stop talking ‘to’ their target audiences and start conversing ‘with’ them. But knowing this new audience can be a daunting task. The online audience can be fickle and scathing in its attack but yet it also gives voice to the fans and champions of a brand.


Just by listening, social media can be a fantastic tool of gathering customer information and feedback. Dell has done a great job of doing this with its Ideastorm  site   that allows anyone to comment, provide feedback or give suggestions about Dell’s products.


The main thing we recommend to any business entering the online arena is that the online community isn’t interested in your marketing messages rather they are interested in what you have to contribute. The worst thing a company can do is go out gung-ho and spread their marketing-speak.


For instance, the National Australia Bank’s hit and miss attempt to reach bloggers and those commenting on blogs with blatant sales messages resulted in a blogger backlash.



The businesses that are achieving success with social media are those that are offering interesting insights and most importantly a human personality.


Telstra’s BigPond ISP is on Twitter. The micro-blogging site Twitter is often used by user’s to vent their frustrations and as it is easy to track mentions of brands and topics, BigPond are quick to respond to these outbursts by offering to help solve problems and offer information. Their account attracts many questions and is a good example of a large corporate engaging and conversing with its audience.


Conversations aren’t just limited to the online realm. Any communication issued by a business should seek to engage an audience. Engaging an audience isn’t just about talking about your brand as the best in its field, communicating involves listening to your audience and tapping into what is relevant to them.


I guess it just comes down to, if you want to be heard, join the conversation.


Jo Gitsham