know-your-audience

Many communicators, in both the commercial and non-profit marketplaces, tend to confuse messaging and communication. According to Ronn Torossian, President of the Ronn Torossian Foundation, and CEO of 5W Public Relations, communication is not just delivering a message. Communication only happens when that message is captured, understood, and becomes transformative. This definition of communication is even more imperative in the realm of charity work, because so much of the dynamic depends on the audience truly buying into the message and the mission.

Torossian said, where many non profit PR people miss it is by making the message one dimensional. Everyone knows to write for the right audience, but do they know how to connect on every level? Because understanding is much more than skin deep.

Understanding is intellectual. People need to understand the message in a way that grabs their attention, gets them thinking, and keeps them thinking. Your message should not just land and evaporate. It must sink in, take root, and get people to continue to ponder both the issue at hand, and how you are solving it.

Understanding is also emotional, intellect alone is not enough. You have to connect with both hemispheres of the brain. It’s easy to get an immediate emotional response, but does your audience understand your message on a level that not only invokes a response, but also triggers a connection that leads to action? The key step here is to craft a message in a way that invites the audience to act, and gives them a concrete opportunity to do so.

Understanding is also physical. When your audience truly understands, they will “feel it in their bones.” They will have a definite and lasting physical reaction to the message that makes action both necessary and pleasurable. They will get up and DO, both because they feel they must, and because it makes them happy to do so.

Your goal should be to communicate your message in a way that is understood on all of these levels. When you can connect in this way, your fundraising will be more successful, your volunteers will be more excited, and your staff will be more connected to the mission.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.