Efficient communication of products requiring explanation
Posted 12 Oct 2017
Many of our customers offer products that require explanation. These include, for example, IT security solutions for companies or highly developed and completely innovative consumer electronics. In contrast to vacuum cleaners or electric kettles, these are products whose purpose and advantages are not immediately recognizable. But how can you communicate the special features of such products, solutions and services efficiently?
In our complex world, we are constantly confronted with complex challenges in our private and working lives. The appropriate solutions are usually also complex and not always understandable right away. This means that a simple product picture and a short claim are not enough to make customers understand why they need the product and which benefits it offers exactly. Good for us PR consultants – otherwise we would be dispensable ?
Instead, our customers depend on the fact that the advantages and especially the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of a product are understood by the people involved in the purchase process or the end consumer. Several people are involved in this communication process and all of them have to process and pass on the information correctly so that the correct information reaches the (right) buyers. On the one hand, there are the experts and contact persons on the customer side and us PR consultants and on the other hand the journalists and influencers.
Of course, we are happy to advise our customers regarding the selection and wording of USPs – so that these not only reach their target group, but also have a lasting influence on the recipient. In order to be able to successfully accomplish this task, PR consultants need a deep expertise regarding the respective topics and the specific product of our customer. The HBI consultants are incredibly interested in technology which makes it easy for us to get familiar with the topics and products. We also call for proactive briefings on the products, should we deem it necessary.
Once our consultants are familiar with the topics and products – and important documents such as Q&As have been created – we start the communication process. The transport of the information to the journalists and – in case of Social Media – to the buyers is one of our core competences and requires solid PR skills. Whether it’s social media posts, press releases, case studies, infographics or byline articles – nothing leaves our agency without careful examination according to the principle of dual control.
For the direct contact with journalists, we recommend the same principle for one-on-one interviews at press tours or trade fairs as well as for press events: In addition to the speaker (who hopefully had a media training beforehand), there should always be another person from the PR agency or the customer’s marketing and press department present and listening.
The speaker is often under pressure of time, journalists interrupt his thoughts by asking questions or major challenges in the company may concern the speaker additionally. If, in the heat of the moment, something important is forgotten or misleadingly formulated and no one else with expertise listens, the information does not reach the journalist completely or even incorrectly.
But even if the speaker communicates everything correctly, there is a risk that he or she will not communicate on the same level of knowledge as the journalist. As a company’s spokesperson, you are often so familiar with your topic that you expect the same understanding from all other people – especially from journalists who appear as experts.
Communication problems in direct contact with journalists can lead to incorrect or incomplete media coverage. After all, PR agencies do not always receive the texts for review and approval before they are published. If, on the other hand, a PR consultant or a colleague is present at the interview with the journalist, the principle of dual control takes effect and the communication is successful: The journalist understands the added value of the product and receives all the important information he needs for a solid article.
– This article was written by Christian Fabricius, Senior Account Manager at HBI.