By Jenny Fujita and Joy K.Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations, LLC.
In a “New York Times” article last year, writer Ben Wallace-Wills featured Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod. The article detailed Axelrod’s political consulting history, philosophies, and his role in Senator Obama’s senatorial and presidential campaigns and recounts how “Axelrod has been intimately involved with the staffing of the campaign…, with its strategy and pacing and with the scrubbing of its message and language. Because of the vastness of the operation, Axelrod has had to hire other media consultants to help him develop commercials; his own role, he says, will be as ‘keeper of the message.’”
Every operation, whether it’s a business or an organization, needs a keeper of the message, someone who checks and approves all of the major public and even internal communications for consistency, appropriateness, effectiveness, tone, spelling, grammar, etc.
For example, when we write website copy for a client, we send the first draft to the head of the organization by email and have them send changes back to us. We make those changes and then send the final document back to the boss for her/his approval. Only then does the document go to the web designer who places it into the website design template. Before the site goes live, we check the copy one more time, just to be sure nothing was inadvertently changed or omitted, and then finally, the site goes live.
This check-approve-recheck process can be lengthy, but it avoids problems that can compromise your business. At a recent event, a sponsor banner for a mainland company that had recently purchased a local business was hung right next to the buffet table. The word “Kaua`i” was incorrectly spelled “Kaui.” Everyone who saw the banner no doubt made comments and internal assessments about the company’s lack of care about the spelling of the place in which they are now doing business. Had this company had a “keeper of the message,” the whole thing could have been prevented. Who is the keeper of the message in your business?