12 May 2020

To achieve, PR must step outside the echo chamber

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Sandy Trigg / sandy@nwkcom.co.nz

I was recently in a meeting where some of the small talk in the room revolved around how great Jacinda is and how terrible Trump is. 

Assuming for one moment that I have no opinion on the relative merits of either Trump or Ardern, it got me thinking about the role of PR and the importance of stepping outside of an echo chamber.

One of the strategies that Trump has so successfully employed has been to engage whole swathes of the American population who feel that they have been marginalised and cut off from the American Dream. People who feel their voices aren’t heard or even considered by either traditional governments or mainstream media.

Our job as communicators should be to actively assume that not everyone in the ‘room’ shares the same values, thought processes and view of the world as we do.  Only if we consciously start from this point can we objectively consider how best to communicate with everyone in our target audiences.

Setting aside our own opinions or even just being cognisant that not everyone thinks like you (and that that doesn’t make them wrong), allows us to better understand our audiences.  It enables us to tell better stories and craft clearer messages that will have resonance and motivate action across demographics, instead of just finding favour with ‘people like us’.

If we assume that everyone in the room thinks “Jacinda is great and Trump is bad”, we have failed as communicators and risk playing into Trump’s rhetoric (I think I may have shown my hand).