Meaningful Message, Personalized PR

In their study "Capitalizing on Effective Communications," Watson Wyatt examines what it means for an organization to communicate effectively by studying both effective and ineffective firms. The amount of information they dispense is immense, but one conclusion in particular is important for the public relations profession. Of the firms Wyatt studied, the most effective communicators tailored their messaging directly to the individual groups they aimed to engage


A concept sometimes taken for granted by poor communicators is individuality. Every individual has unique feelings, opinions, beliefs and thoughts. No one person is alike. Because of this, the way that two people interpret the same message can be drastically different. The idea of individuality is not new, and yet poor communicators continue to make the same mistake of sending out one message and hoping it fits every group.


While it is impossible for communicators to tailor a message for every person they approach, segmenting goes a long way. Market research and trends allow the active communicator to group individuals based on any number of factors (age, gender, interests, shoe size, anything!) The strategic communicator will specific target groups as part of the communication planning, and will set to work.

The Result

The resulting messaging, when done correctly, will speak to the interest or opinion that were used to group the individual. Starting from the consistent core message, an organization can tweak certain parts and emphasize certain others to capture interest among stakeholders. Most importantly, a directed message has a greater chance of capturing interest than basic overarching messaging.

Tailoring messages is an important part of communication planning, and communicators ignore this step at their own peril.


Kathryn Kates, CEO of Kathryn Kates Public Relations a boutique agency based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada--catering to the North American market. Kathryn opened a full service PR firm and talent agency over 20 years ago, and later worked as a journalist and broadcaster. Today, Kathryn works on both sides of the communications spectrum...opening doors wherever she goes. Kathryn has a proven track record in public relations. She's shown her natural ability to create "buzz" by combining imaginat...

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