Evidence, example, endorsement
3 September 2021
I can play the piano.
If I simply tell you this, do you believe me?
If I tell you I can play the piano and produce evidence of having passed a number of exams, do you believe me any more?
How about if I actually sit down at the keyboard and rattle off a tune? Maybe I could get a friend of mine to tell you how good I am.
The point is that in a media interview, simply telling the audience that something is ‘so’ is not enough to persuade them of the efficacy of your argument. Modern media messaging needs more ballast. If you are launching a new product that you think will change the lives of those who buy it, you need to evidence its effectiveness as well as proving – through example – that it works and, possibly, showing others who’ve used it.
So much messaging has a hollow ring to it – it sounds good on delivery, but on examination proves worthless since it is the opinion of those who are saying it. It is seldom an actual verification of the circumstances which it is supposed to be endorsing.
If you are defending the reputation of your organisation, it is not enough to lay out the facts of the case as you see them: today’s media consumers are a sceptical and cynical bunch who can instantly sniff out a poor position. Having a specific reason to believe backed up by evidence of what you are attempting to do to rectify the situation helps cement your credibility with the audience.
There is a real need to show how the move you are making may improve the situation: it may be that you can point to a previous success or experience that shows you know what you’re talking about.
Third party backing helps too – the academic community who back your research, consumers who’ve purchased your products in large numbers or even high profile individuals who support your actions. It all provides an extra level of reassurance to the audience.
Remember, you too are a member of this cohort: think about how you’d want convincing and build this mitigation into you or your organisation’s positioning for a media interview.