The current pandemic has devastated modern societies, and one of the early learnings emerging is that language, and good PR must be used as a tool against such global issues from here on in.
The argument presented herein is that with a stronger, clearer PR message and some innovation and out the box thinking around language and culture, perhaps our defenses will be improved.
The message is important
PR is about perfecting the message of the business to their clients and encouraging a purchase. These are the skills that are needed to encourage changes in human behavior, adherence to vaccination protocols, and acceptance of a new way of life. Any public messages that are used to notify and advise the public as to any such future major health issues must be clearer. A good message is a simple one.
Keep it clear; what was seen in the early days of the pandemic is that the message was not as clear as it could’ve been. There were many contradictory COVID messages across several States which then diluted the strength and clarity of the national message.
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Language is important
Both the manner in which the message is written as well as the actual language used is critical. Oftentimes the assumption is that a message in English will suffice, and in most instances, this is indeed the case. English is the mainstream language in the country, and as such most public messaging is carried out in this format.
But where a disease is actively more dangerous for specific demographics and given the diverse nature of American society, it may be increasingly pertinent to consider the other languages that should be used, Spanish in New Mexico or Texas, for example. The current pandemic was said to be more prevalent and dangerous for ethnic minorities, and as such, the requisite languages should’ve been used to communicate the expected community response.
The nature of Harlem, for example, means that you wouldn’t use English-Hindi translation as the numbers wouldn’t warrant this, but if you were in California, a state with over 150,000 Hindi speakers English-Hindi translation would be very useful. And if the right message in the right language reached the right people, there may have been a reduced impact and better management of the risk.
The context is important
This means that you need to clearly understand the area, who lives there, and the predominant ages and backgrounds. This type of contextual understating will provide a framework for the two aforementioned points allowing you to target the message and choose the language. America is a melting pot of cultures, creeds, and languages, and PR marketing and messaging needs to take this to heart and use it for more precise, focused messaging, which is arguably needed in times of national crisis.
Public relations messaging is a very precise skill to get right. The ideas for improvement in this article are incredibly simple means to begin to rethink the PR messaging and language used to make public health announcements and deliver information.