By Gerard Braud
As I watch the Apple iPhone 6 roll out, I’m hearing lots of technical stuff. That’s great if you are a techno geek who cares about screen size, pixels and data points.
But what does the new iPhone 6 do to make my life better? As a consumer where is the “What’s in it for me?” information.
Many organizations fall into this key message trap when they do media interviews or when executives do presentations. Usually, the presenter, speaker or executive is so thrilled about the many internal goals achieved, they can’t imagine the rest of the world doesn’t also care.
Here are four ways to avoid self-centered presentations and media interviews:
1) Ask the most important question. How does this product, event or initiative make the world a better place for humanity?
This should be your lead statement in a media interview. This should be your opening line on stage in your presentation.
This is important because you have to give the largest audience possible a reason to care. As a consumer, I’m embarrassed that my friends with other phones can wash them under a faucet. Can the new iPhone 6 do that? What about all that broken glass? Have you invented a phone that won’t crack when it gets dropped so I don’t have to buy an Otter Box?
2) Ask, “What is the pain, problem and predicament of the current customer?”
Steve Jobs did this so well when he introduced the concept of the iPod by talking about how hard it was to carry all of your music with you. In those days, having a CD player and a binder full of CDs with you at all times was the pain, problem and predicament. The solution was to have a small device in the palm of your hand that played all of your music.
If I were making the iPhone 6 presentation today, I would have opened the presentation with photos of broke iPhones and images of iPhones in the toilet. My opening line would have been, “Do you have an iPhone 4 that looks like this? Have you ever dropped your phone in the toilet or gotten it wet? Then I’d reveal how the new phone will not fall trap to the old problems… if, in fact they have solved these problems. I really don’t know because I’ve not heard anyone say it yet.
Late in the presentation there have been a few videos that talk about some of the conveniences, such as Apple Pay. But it still falls short of the pain, problem and predicament formula that you must use.
3) Know the personality type of the presenter, speaker or spokesperson. An analytical individual will always go to the data points, as we’re seeing in the iPhone 6 presentation. For the live audience of geeks this may be fine, but the consumer audience will turn off the presentation and fail to make a purchase if you don’t quickly tell us what’s in it for us.
4) Ask for an outside review of your messages before you present them. As a public relations and communications team, it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of the internal excitement. This exemplifies that old expression, you can’t see the forest for the trees.
Whether you reach out to PR colleagues who will do it for free or a messaging expert who will charge you a few dollars, their distance as an objective observer will be highly valuable. You can expect that they will be puzzled by your technical jargon and call you out on it.
The most important thing I always ask of these internal teams is, “What does that mean?” This forces the communications team to simplify the messages in a way that a 6th grader can understand it.
In conclusion, keep it simple and tell the audience what’s in it for them. Your sales and revenue depend upon good messaging.
To learn how you can be more effective with your messaging, register for the PRSA Effective Messaging workshop that I’ll be leading in Chicago on November 11, 2014. Learn more here.