The goal of all communication plans as well as the professionals who execute them desire that they be effective and efficient. I would add that they are measurable and can be improved over time or after achieving results. In any case, experience has shown me that four elements generate their forces and are capable of promoting a brand or a name depending on the corporate or political field in which it operates. Here we raise them.
The flight of airplanes regardless of their size, category, modality, or performance is only possible due to the conjugation of four forces that are lifting, weight, thrust, and resistance. For an airplane to fly, all of them must interact in the correct proportions according to the moment of the flight. In the same way, corporate communications or political or government communications require the forces that produce four key elements, which are similar to the forces of aviation. Each one, independently, produces for a brand or a name effectively communicate with their audiences and can achieve the PRAMS that is without a doubt the roof desired by all.
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If we develop the simile of aviation and effective communication, we can see that the lifting force that is applied to the wings is equivalent in communication to how messages are delivered. The force of weight, which is exerted by gravity in aviation, in communication is in charge of the substance of the messages. The force of the thrust that in the airplanes is in charge of the motors in the communication is due to the messages that are generated. Finally, the force of resistance, which in aviation is exercised by the environment, understood as the force that a body suffers when moving through the air, is in charge, in communication, of the attitudes that accompany the message.
So let’s talk one by one of the forces that generate messages based on the way they are delivered the substance of the messages, and the attitudes that accompany them. If we can manage to make each of these elements produce the necessary force to impact the audience of our brand or official, we can have a robust communication strategy and be effective. On the contrary, if these elements and the forces they produce are weak, the strategy will fail to achieve its objectives, and failure will be inevitable. My call is to build messages in good shape, with background and with attitudes that reinforce them.
The form as a lift force of the strategy is fundamental. Years ago, through my work with diplomats and in diplomacy, I learned a phrase that for them is vital and that at first seemed superficial to me, “Form is substance.” Over the years, but especially with the achievement of results, I understood the great value of form and that it is very evident in diplomacy and what it achieves. Applied to popular terms it would be said that “what hurts is not the insult but the little fool.” Those are applications of the form as the most perceptive element by the people who in the end are the ones who compose the audience and process the messages. The positive feeling that produces a message delivered in the right way is unbeatable. The form also includes aspects such as time, mode, place, and environment. Knowing how to choose all those sub-elements of the form is the secret. That is why it is not a topic that should be left to chance, but it must be taken care of in the face of the message you want to send. I would say that an example of handling the form was the photo of the empty chair when “Tirofijo” did not appear at the beginning of the peace talks in Colombia in 1999. To this image, there is nothing to add. As a message, It said all only with the conjugation of the sub-elements that gave him the overwhelming force of the form. Like that case, a brand or name must be able to generate more powerful messages constantly enhancing the form.
The fund, therefore, is no less important to neglect, but the call is to include it in the appropriate proportion based on the value given to the form. Having said this, it is clear that the messages must have a background, that is, they must be aligned with the principles, values, mission, or attributes of the brand. The substance of the messages must come from these elements and must be able to be integrated into the form to be understandable by the audience. A message of bottomless form can achieve impact but does not achieve transcendence. That the audience can fully perceive the message lies in the fact that the form serves as a showcase or packaging for the fund to be accepted. The background leads to permanence and with it the construction of positioning and reputation, something that forms alone cannot achieve. An example of good and bad use of the background is seen in the presidential debate between Kennedy and Nixon. The first one was presented in a good way and with the underlying message that said, I can be your president and you can trust me. His opponent completely neglected the form and concentrated in the background cramming his messages of numbers, hard-to-understand, and hard-to-understand terms. The result was that people did not choose it because they did not understand it and they did not do it because the background was superior to the form.
The messages understood in general as what is said to our audience should be very clear, concrete, preferably factual, simple, understandable, and focused on people and how they improve the lives of the audience. We would say that any topic or issue can be a message, but for it to have the value of effectiveness it must be aligned with what the brand or the person professes. It can be a declaration of principles or a humorous reference but always framed in what is professed and proclaimed. Messages outside this framework should not exist because the association with the brand for positioning and reputation will be null or minimal. It will be at that moment when one enters into contradictions, ignorance, or awkwardness. All of them punished with rejection by the audience. An example of a bad message was the phrase of the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos when he stated that “such national strike does not exist” when it was a week of cessation of activities, negotiations to end it, and incalculable losses. In addition to bad messages, bad shape, and bottomless.
Lastly, let’s talk about the attitudes that are the ratification of the message itself and that, like this, must be in form and substance so that they agree intending to ratify and make the message durable. The audience may not remember the substance or remember the form, or the exact message, but they will certainly remember the attitudes that accompanied the message. When they are positive, the permanence of the message will be greater and forceful. When they are negative the permanence will be zero and the harmful consequences for the brand. Attitudes can become more powerful than the message itself for both good and bad. They are not easy to achieve or communicate because they generally involve the effort of many people or thousands when it comes to organizations. If they occur in form and substance they will be valuable to reaffirm the message. A recent example could be the case of Banco de Colombia, which for years invested resources and time positioning itself as a brand with positive action on people and their well-being and faced difficult times in reporting pandemic relief to its clients. I could say that I saw so much rejection from the audience to an attitude that did not align or agree with their predicament.
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A pilot to undertake a trip with safety, punctuality, and without setbacks begins his journey with a flight plan that makes clear the way to go, the way to do it, how to do it and what he will achieve upon successful completion. In all cases, you will be ready to combine all four forces as needed. Thus a communicator must do the same. Although people will not die if the objective is not achieved if they will expose their prestige and that of the brand or the person they represent. The best way to do a good job in communication is to plan like the aviator who knows that life is at stake at every opportunity. Whether the crisis of the pandemic has not affected your brand or the person you work for or, on the contrary, it has been greatly affected by the objective today as before is to execute effective communication strategies focused on the PRAGS model that I have developed. An assessment should be made of the current state of the official’s brand or name. A strategic plan must be created and implemented combining the four forces. To learn more about how to implement an effective brand or government communication plan, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org tell me about your need or project and, I will be able to advise you.