“It’s a small world, after all.”
– Robert and Richard Sherman
In business, “Thinking Big” is an imperative. We celebrate “big thinkers” and avoid “small minds” like last year’s fruitcake. But the “size = quality” equation doesn’t always work in public relations where it’s often more effective – cost-wise and results-wise – to narrow one’s focus.
From newspapers, magazines and newsletters to blogs, e-zines, Twitter and satellite radio, the potential ways to reach stakeholders are multiplying almost as fast as the spam choking your Inbox. But as the number of channel choices goes up, the effectiveness of any single channel goes down – and fast.
Fact is, the days of a monolithic culture are gone. Don’t believe it? Ask a 10-year-old to identify any two of the following: the Fonz, Uncle Miltie, Johnny Carson or Walter Cronkite. Without a case of DVDs or TV Land, the chance of that kid knowing these towering icons is less than K-Fed’s chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. While still influential, mass media channels are growing less powerful as singular communications tools every day.
To connect with stakeholders today, think small. In a fragmented world brimming with communications clutter, eschew shotguns scattering data (and money…) in favor of rifles that hit targets with laser-like precision. Need to reach medical specialists? Skip the national news release and order a generous helping of targeted journal articles with a side order of professional association newsletters. Need to talk with neighbors? Hold a coffee klatch instead of a news conference. Want to get input from teens on a new product? Implement a mobile market research program and leave the Facebook posts, e-mail blasts and magazine contests to the dustbin of history.
Choose the right tool for the job. Remember: a bigger hammer does not make a better house.