Making Your Campaign Memorable

Half the battle when undertaking a public affairs campaign is ensuring that it is memorable. Without thinking about how best you can do that, your campaign will fail to deliver the influence you are seeking.

We must appreciate that, at any one time, there is a lot of public affairs taking place. Much of which is focused on the same key stakeholders. So, we operate in a highly competitive marketplace. That makes the need for your campaign to be memorable even more important. If it, and its messages, do not stay in the minds of the stakeholder then very little will happen.

On reading Meik Wiking’s latest book, Happy Moments, which isn’t really about public affairs at all (!), it struck me that making sure a meeting, event, or campaign sticks in the mind of the stakeholder is something we all need to give more active consideration to.

His book contains some thoughts which can really be applied to our work:

“We remember when we pay attention – and we pay attention when we are present, engaged, committed, when what we see and process is meaningful to us.”

“There is no doubt that some of our most meaningful and memorable moments are when we connect with other people.”

So rather than ‘just’ having a meeting or holding an event, how can we ensure that it is a meeting or event that stays with them for a period of time?

Obviously exactly how to make your campaign memorable will vary with the issue itself. It requires not just an understanding of what makes for good public affairs but also a dash of creativity as well. A political stunt, march, or something to grab attention could be useful.

However, we should all be thinking about:

  • Tailoring the approach not just for meetings but for events as well. Are there key people the event is really designed to influence? Does it reflect their requirements, for instance politically?
  • Thinking about the content from their perspective, not yours. What will make most impact on them?
  • Choosing speakers that will resonate with those you are seeking to influence.
  • Is the venue likely to help your event be remembered?
  • Could the power of association help your campaign to be remembered? That could even include the food on offer.
  • Thinking about how to manage your events. Well managed meetings, for instance, do not meander off into irrelevance.  If the meeting is short and sweet, then fine.  A politician, especially, is more likely to remember that you didn’t waste their time and instead gave them some time back.  That will leave a positive memory.
  • Do any accompanying materials help reinforce the memory or is it ‘just another leaflet’?
  • Could something like music or hearing different voices help a session to stand out?
  • Are we facilitating discussions and connections that may not otherwise happen?

But also remember that bad memories could just as easily work against you – speakers that go on too long, lack of food or drink, no air conditioning on a hot day. Your session will be remembered but for all the wrong reasons.

It is important to challenge ourselves and to think about whether our campaign will really remain with the target stakeholder or merely fade into the dark of a previous diary entry?

Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Stuart is a public affairs and communications specialist with BDB Pitmans advising clients on all elements of their public affairs strategies including political and corporate communications and reputation management. His work also includes consultation and planning communications and he has advised on a number of high profile media relations and crisis communications programmes. Stuart is an honorary research fellow at the University of Aberdeen and is the author of several books including ‘New Activism and the Corporate Response‘ (heralded as a book that “every aspiring business leader should read” by MIS Asia), ‘Public Affairs in Practice’ and ‘The Dictionary of Labour Quotations‘. His most recently published book, ‘Public Affairs: A Global Perspective’ has been called ‘an absolute treasure-trove’ and is a recommended read by the Government Communication Service (GCS). Stuart regularly writes and lectures on a range of business and political issues and as well as blogging for BDB Pitmans he contributes to the Huffington Post and has written for the CBI, (former) UKTI, Total Politics and LabourList. He is also an adviser to the Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) and a regular speaker and chair at conferences. He has appeared on Sky News, BBC 5 Live, BBC World, the Today programme and on Ukrainian TV and has been a judge for the Public Affairs News, PR Week, Public Affairs and the European Public Affairs awards. Stuart is a CIPR trainer leading the 'Practical Public Affairs' course.

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