As professional communicators, we must know how to speak to varying audiences. At Ogilvy, our clients depend on it, and our counsel would be ineffective otherwise. It’s up to us to master our audience’s dialects and languages, the nuances and customs of their culture, emotional triggers, and how to access them with information we are sharing.
We should never let go of research as our official compass, but our personal experiences are hugely influential and important, too. We naturally turn to our own knowledge first when we begin to study an audience. For this reason – and so many others – diversity in the workplace is critical. When I encounter the limits of my own knowledge, I immediately turn to colleagues who have personal know-how connecting with the audience I’m trying to reach. If not for them and their experiences, I’d feel much less confident in the creativity and effectiveness behind my communication strategy.
So, how do we ensure we continue to grow this precious collection of experiences that make our work rich and memorable? We recruit colleagues who are different from us – whether it is their upbringing, education, previous employment, gender, ethnicity or race.
Just as we dedicate ourselves to finding our target audiences and capturing their attention, let’s put the same effort behind seeking out professionals who can broaden our cultural expertise. Let’s market public relations to university students and professionals who may not have considered a career in our industry before. Let’s inspire them to see how their unique backgrounds and experiences make them incredibly valuable as professional communicators. Who better than us, the PR professionals, to take on the challenge?
“If you always hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If, on the other hand, you always hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.” – David Ogilvy