Frank Talk: Comms that Connect (Part 1)

Mark DessauerGuest blogger Mark Dessauer is Director of Communications at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

Frank: A gathering of communicators who work for the common good (or public interest). I found myself there this past winter, delighting in northern Florida rain while the rest of the country was being buried under snow.

Frank brings together communications practitioners, funders, experts, students and speakers in a petri dish of transformative ideas and exceptional people. Here are three key challenges we discussed—can’t wait to hear your thoughts:

How can we best communicate with unbelievers?


Public health experts are trying to change the minds of people who do not believe in vaccines or fluoride, just as environmentalists are trying to shift the perspective of global warming skeptics.

We heard from academics and social scientists sharing some of the best ways to help people change their hearts, minds and eventually behavior—find a messenger they trust, get an emotional connection, and enough already with the bad news. In order to change minds, tie the change to the identity of the group.

How do we get to become a viral sensation (like the Human Rights Campaign marriage equality logo)?
Planning, planning and planning. We need to work closely with our audience and partners to build the drum beat across all groups and media for larger social change (example of marriage equality now in 37 states). Let’s take the time to ask ourselves how to engage with the right audiences, and pinpoint the content that motivates engagement.

How can we shape and share better stories?
The path to high-impact, memorable and repeatable stories is emotional connections and messengers with direct connections to the audience (built-in trust). No matter the channel or medium, good communication happens when it is authentic.

We saw this theme played out by so many speakers who truly opened up to the crowd. No talking points, bullets points or clever messaging. Just their truth.

What are your answers to these core communications challenges? If you have something to add, or don’t see it quite the way folks did at Frank, please comment here.

Continue with Part Two.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 16, 2015 in Strategy | 1 comment
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