Do I need to be passionate?

Agony uncle and University of Westminster's visiting professor of PR Trevor Morris gives it to you straight.

Trevor Morris: PRWeek's agony uncle
Trevor Morris: PRWeek's agony uncle

One of our biggest clients insists we should be passionate about its brand. Its products are perfectly good, but they are dull. I’d be lying if I said I felt passionate about them. My colleagues feel the same. We seem to be doing a good job, so how necessary is it for us to be passionate?

I know what you mean. I once had a client who was passionate about gravy.

Outside of high interest areas such as fashion and cars, few people are passionate about any brands. A PR person who was passionate about a brand that most people at best quite liked would be useless. They would be unable to see the brand or products as most people see them. Their copy would be full of flowery adjectives and hyperbole that would alienate the media and audience alike. That sort of enthusiasm isn’t infectious, it is annoying.

A good communicator looks for what will interest and engage the neutral or only marginally interested person. Communicators who are passionate about what they promote can usually only communicate effectively with people who share their passion.

One of the problems that PR people in charities and NGOs have is that they are often passionate about their subject and fail to understand most people aren’t. They preach to the converted rather than expand their flock.

Got a problem? Contact Trevor at agonyuncle@haymarket.com

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