August Letter from the President

Dear IABC/SC Members,

About a week ago, I had one of my standard nightmares.  It’s test time and I haven’t studied. Another variation: one hour from a newscast and not a word is written.  In this most recent one, I was standing inside a graduate classroom at UNC-Charlotte. Dr. Jack Piel was about to test my skill using math manipulatives. But, I woke up just in time. Before falling back asleep, Dr. Piel’s class motto popped into my head.

“You never learn anything completely new in the abstract, you only make adjustments to what you’ve learned in the past.”

Our subconscious minds are very cool.

In his class, Dr. Piel stressed that teachers should introduce mathematical concepts with things students can hold in their hands. Think legos and scales for introducing fractions and decimals. I don’t teach math anymore, but that motto is certainly applicable to the kind of work we do.

Whether you are announcing a new product or service, changing a price structure, or running a messaging campaign, business communicators must begin by identifying the audience and, more importantly, what it already knows. Once you’ve done that, the stories start telling themselves.

A case in point — a fake book burning party that saved the library in Troy, MI.

The folks responsible for that campaign understood their community. The people of Troy believed in the power of knowledge, information and the exchange of ideas. The library supporters tapped into that base belief brilliantly. Burning books provided for a perfect metaphor that spark widespread engagement.

Before starting that next project, give pause. Deeply consider not only who you are trying to reach, but also what they already know. If we can start where they are, it is much easier to get them to come along with us.

PS.  The deadline for Palmetto Award entries has been extended to August 15th. And, our professional development lunch next week takes us inside the Capital City’s new minor league ballpark. Let’s ‘glow’ learn about launching a new brand: The Columbia Fireflies. Register here.

Kevin N. Floyd

IABC/SC President, 2016