Thought Leadership

August 18, 2014

Balancing Message & Mission: How Organizations Can Respond to Cultural and Societal Shifts


CEO Anne Green speaks with PR News on the appointment of Becky Hammon as the NBA’s first full time assistant coach – and what lessons companies and organizations can learn when their culture changes.

The recent appointment by the San Antonio Spurs of Becky Hammon as pro basketball’s first female full time assistant coach has implications far beyond the NBA. While the hire made news on both the sports and culture pages, it also serves as a reminder of how larger cultural and societal shifts can impact not only a brand’s message, but also how that message is developed and ultimately disseminated.

In speaking with PR News for an article titled Map Out Your Messaging Strategies In a Changing Culture, CooperKatz president / CEO Anne Green noted that companies must balance the messages they want to share within the context of larger cultural changes, since these changes open the opportunity to connect with different groups of people through multiple channels. But, she cautions, “it has to come from an authentic place.”

In the article, Green recommends three tips to consider when thinking about the impact a cultural change may have on a brand. PR practitioners should:

  • Conduct a thorough pre-analysis to anticipate what questions may arise from all constituencies (and train executives to be prepared for them);
  • Understand and align those messages with the organization’s mission and values, making sure to serve as a conduit between the person at the center of the media’s attention and senior management; and
  • Strive for balance between what interests the media about a certain story (message) and the actual job at hand (mission) – so the bigger story does not become a distraction from executing against organizational goals

Whether an issue is playing out on a basketball court or in a boardroom, knowing what your story is and how to pivot to account for cultural factors can help public relations pros win the media game.

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