Possibly The Most Important PR Campaign Yet
PR campaigns come in all shapes and sizes.
There’s the brash and the bold, or the engaging and emotive.
What holds them in common, is that there’s usually some kind of ‘sell’.
Or, to put it another way, there’s a ‘call to action’ which seeks to prompt or push the recipient to make a transactional commitment.
First and foremost, as you read this, you’re most likely thinking of that transactional activity as being a purchase of some kind.
You’re thinking of the kind of PR tactic where a retailer or service is hoping to convince you to part with your cash or shift your brand loyalty toward them.
But some campaigns call for more nuanced and considered strategies, but with no less an important ‘ask’.
Take the efforts to get people to become a donor, for example.
This isn’t about a one-off purchase which may or may not turn out to be a pleasant addition to your home until you grow tired of it.
This, instead, is about altering a way of thinking, delving into the sensitive world of discussing death, and asking someone to elect to save the life of another…once they are no longer here to issue the verbal consent.
And it’s in a similarly sensitive arena that the issue of vaccination now finds itself in need of a careful and very necessary campaign.
We all know that the idea of a covid vaccine has been viewed as the ultimate ‘beginning of the end’ to this awful global pandemic.
But until very recently, few dared to believe it could become a reality so swiftly.
Therein lies just one part of the problem.
Now that the vaccination has landed (been medically approved), a great swathe of the population is left doubting the efficacy and safety of something which hadn’t existed a few months ago
Throw into that a world of social media commentators and some historic stories of long-term health consequences found in those who took particular medicines or treatments, and now we have a doubting audience which may well threaten the potential to mass immunise our population.
So, mix these challenging ingredients together, and despite the urgency of the ultimate goal, you can begin to see why the PR activity has to be the most perfectly finessed campaign that our country may ever have seen.
What key elements does it need therefore?
For sure, one of the priority notes to this campaign has to be authenticity.
We’re a weary mass community, tired of feeling our politicians, celebrities and representatives were preaching one thing, while doing another.
We crave the voice of honesty and decency.
Whether that comes from those who’ve lost loved ones, or those who we respect and are ready to roll up their sleeves, or the medics we’ve come to believe in – we want truth-speakers who articulate with authenticity.
And then there’s clarity.
We’re sick of the u-turns and the mixed messages.
We’re tired of the three-word slogans.
We require crystal clear insight into how this vaccine will work, when we’ll get it, and what it means for us and our loved ones.
And what’s more, we need knowledge of timing.
Good PR campaigning always acknowledges where timing sits in the concept of the initiative.
When is the recipient meant to act in response to this messaging, but also, when will the recipient see change or a new stage or chapter arising from this activity?
In the case of the vaccine, we expect – and deserve – a true sense of the timeframe in which we will see our lives return closer to a sense of normality, and when and how we’ll know that the rollout has proved effective (enough).
Key too, in this all important campaign, will be how the messaging is conveyed.
We want to see it carried over all kinds of mediums, from our mainstream press, to our social media feeds, our by-post government mailouts, and straight to our smart devices by messaging.
Each of these will be vital to collectively ensure the significance of the message is understood.
Of course, knowing the ingredients is all well and good, but there’s no doubt that the embedding of this campaign comes on the back of a wave of so many poorly received requests and demands from the powers that be, that the recipient requires a very special approach if they’re going to willingly and swiftly comply.
So much is at stake, and there’s no room for a false start.
Fingers crossed we can expect the ultimate of all communication strategies this time.