By Sarah Hawes
When I started planning the new website content, I did what I tell all my clients to do – get someone else to write it for you!
Now that might sound weird when I am capable of writing it myself and spend a lot of my time writing others’ but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to step far enough back from it or be able to drastically change what was there before.
And so I enlisted help from a very old colleague and friend (by old I mean we’ve known each other a long time!) – but she didn’t just take charge of the text, she came up with an idea that shaped the branding too.
The initial conversation went a bit like this:
Theresa: I was thinking about animals for the theme for your new website.
Me: Oh…right…OK, what did you have in mind? Not sure how we’re going to link animals to PR…
Theresa: Bear with me…this might sound weird. Animals all communicate in different ways, so do humans and so do communication professionals. We could use their images to get across communication on your website.
Me: Yes, very weird – but I think it has legs. What’s the plan?
And just from that small conversation, the whole concept of the website was born, with her writing the fabulous new text and Paul at Mivvy Creative taking care of my new look – the wonderful and vibrant colours and animals blended with sparkles!
I had various other PR colleagues take a look, proof read and send me feedback and the result is a website I’m so pleased with!
So..why are animals like PR & Marketing then?
All animals communicate differently – with sound, behaviour and colour too.
The chameleon as we all know, changes colour.
Peacocks use their wonderful tail feathers to get their message across.
Whales use sonar which scientists have worked out as patterns
Prairie dogs use a vocabulary of sounds – and create new ones when needed!
How we sound and come across is important to our business success. A shouty solicitor on an advert isn’t always going to be effective because we really want them to be professional and expect a level of calm! Market traders however, wouldn’t get anywhere like that – and so they use their sound in a different way that works!
The words we use, the style we write and how we speak are all linked to our sound and tone of voice, just like animals.
Just like humans, animal communication reflects personality. Let’s take dogs – the pooch that bounds up to you, makes friends straight away, is a bit over-excited and OTT…we all know a human like that too! Other dogs like to check you out first, are a bit more timid and cautious – we all know this human too.
There are pages I could write on colour and anyone working within it will tell me off for shortening it so much but colour really does play a huge part!
For example, red is an anger or danger colour whilst black is more for low mood. But – clever use of them with others or using different designs enables you to get a different message across.
The colours for this website were just what I was drawn to – and they now work so well with the animals too!
Marketing and PR:
Sometimes, we need to be the bounding dog, shouting our message from afar and at other times we would do better to be more timid and careful. It depends on the message and it depends on the company, its products, services and values.
Sometimes we need to be subtle, sometimes we need to be OTT, sometimes in blazing colour and sometimes in stylish black and white.
Prairie dogs invent new sounds – and sometimes marketing requires us to invent new ways to get our messages across too.
My advice is to think about what you want people to do before you decide on your sound, behaviour or colour.
Are they learning, reacting, buying, sharing, giving, taking – all require a different set of ingredients to get them to do what you need them to.