The Importance of Key Messages

In public relations, identifying the client’s key messages is essential to a successful campaign. Many times there will be “fluffy” information that disguises the core message. As a PR professional, it is your job to extract the main idea and trim away the rest.

Using key messages is necessary in crisis management PR. Addressing the public with a consistent message leaves less room for critique and conveys a clear and concise message to the public.

The “snowbrawl fight” at the University of Oregon in Dec. 2013 generated national media attention. For a national brand like the Oregon Ducks, it was crucial that the UO’s administration, the athletic department and the athletes were all expressing the same key messages.

The statements addressed:

  • Unacceptable behavior
  • Apology
  • Individual’s actions do not represent the entire community

Statements:

“The behavior exhibited in the video is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus… We will use this incident as an opportunity to remind our campus community of the positive values and quality of character that we as a university hold dear.” – Paul Shang, Dean of Students.

“I was one of the many UO students involved in the snowball fight on Friday and my actions escalated to an inappropriate level and for that I sincerely apologize. We never should have engaged innocent people and I deeply regret my actions and will accept the consequences.” – Pharaoh Brown, Oregon football player.

“While the reprehensible actions of a small number of students and student athletes are very disappointing, this single incident should not be taken as a reflection of the student body at large or our athletes,” –Sam Dotters-Katz, president of the UO’s student body.

Using the key messages to address the scandal, University of Oregon was able to slowly deteriorate the media coverage.

 

 

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