When discussing a work project, a business mentor used to constantly ask me, “what’s the message?” The same question applies to Occupy Wall Street, a headline-garnering, fast-spreading movement taking place in cities around the country. Even watching the local news in New York last week didn’t clarify unified messages or goals for me. Every person who responded to the “why are you here” question by reporters gave a different answer. On the upside, crowds were entertained by impromptu musical renditions of 60s classics like “This Land is Your Land”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about fixing a broken system. Contrary to Gordon Gekko’s 1980s “greed is good” talk in the “Wall Street” film, I think reform is better or at least as good. But give me a common purpose, a call to action or an emotional response rather than universal skepticism. Even the Occupy Wall Street website lacks clarity of message and goals although it does accept donations to fund protest operations.
Vagueness of purpose makes an organization’s mission impossible. A lack of consistent messaging exacerbates the situation. And while we’re discussing some basic tools of a public relations campaign, the absence of a media policy or at least talking points further confuses the audiences.
While Occupy Wall Street is spreading to the point of an official groundswell, any measurable action achieved (other than media attention) will be negligible. Effective public relations professionals know that our clients judge us by results. Successful results start with clarity. Success continues with consistency.
You get my point.