The power of a single message

Picture of man washing hands

Over the years of looking after client PR we have consistently emphasised that any press release or social media post should convey just one single message to its target audience if it is to be effective.

All too often the impact of a client’s key message can be lost because it is delivered surrounded by add-on information that clouds or dilutes what needs to be communicated.

Step forward Boris Johnson, currently the national exponent of the single message. Every time he addresses the public about Covid-19, ie frequently, his concluding message is always the same:

‘to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, preferably every two hours.’

The simple, direct, no frills, singular message, repeated constantly by the public-health team, is being heard and acted upon across the country. Of course, its impact is partly down to who is conveying the message: it is not exactly what we expect to hear from a Prime Minister. But leaving the power of the speaker’s position aside, Boris Johnson has consistently repeated the same words every time, resisting the temptation to elaborate or embroider, driving home the single message without drama in simple language.

Full marks to his PR adviser.

And thank you for confirming the power of a single message.