Aspire to be a better communicator

For years as communication professionals, we work hard to design campaigns that have an impact on the brand or the company’s equity. The focus is often clear – bring value to the table and ensure the brand is growing in alignment to the business. This is the larger picture around which we often build our careers.

Then enroute come personal experiences or a mentor or the hidden empathy that makes us realise how we can use our skills to support social-cause campaigns. In a way, it reminds us that we can push our voice behind a campaign that we believe in and can humanly connect with, at so many levels. What hit me was the feeling of giving back to the society or being that small change that you want to see. In a corner it made me happy that as a communicator I could support causes that are working hard to make a difference for so many lives.

This is why we all should go back to basics and ensure to support more than enough social cause campaigns, in every walk of our life. It’s what we learnt in schools, remember girl and boy scouts? Learning to help local communities, preserving the natural surroundings, living simply (in those overnight tents)! So why not embed support all through the professional journey? At this point I’m slightly envious of professionals who spend day and night working on the social responsibility campaigns for their organisations (and hope to make a pivot in that direction too!).

Sharing a simple checklist of how social cause campaigns can make us better communicators.

Give them a voice

Sometimes all that the social-cause campaign or NGO needs is a voice. Often, they are exhausted going out and talking about their initiative and the benefit they bring to the society. So just go give them an impetus and speak only if you believe in it. Goes without saying that you need to do a thorough fact check before venturing out and supporting any campaign. But once you are sure about it, go beyond and spread a word within your local community too. Toybank works hard to help kids learn to play with games. It’s a simple idea, some remember and some need that nudge. So, when we did a small donation drive, it was heart-warming to see the support and faith that the community had in this initiative. The donation drive went beyond everyone’s expectations and we were glad to have contributed a little happiness to a kid’s life (somewhere). This seemed like a blessing and gave an opportunity for everyone connected to volunteer for a wonderful cause.

Understand their needs beyond media

All campaigns don’t always need media backing, some need on-ground presence too. So, when RPG foundation wanted to make Christmas special for their kids, we had Chef Manish Khanna, founder Brownie Point & Noir, teaching kids how to decorate cupcakes. Yes, simple and delightful pleasures of life can make many smiles! Kids at the foundation were thrilled for being able to binge on delicious cupcakes and at the same time felt contented to have learnt something new. As communicators, keep a lookout of how you or your brands can contribute through simple gestures.

Add the social media razzmatazz

There is no denial that social media channels have today taken on a strong role in creating awareness and converting the call-to-action. It’s no more a ‘good-to-have’ channel, but a must-have, emphasising its importance to exist. Sometimes these channels for social-cause campaigns need advocates, who can help push the credibility meter higher. KARO, is an NGO supporting cancer patients coming to Mumbai for their treatment, by way of giving a roof to stay or through therapy. They ran a simple campaign bringing to life advocates, who are commendable faces in their fields. All that they had to do was steer the conversation for KARO and in a way give them visibility to raise funds – with Instagram posts.

Be a connector

We can be great convenors and connectors. It just comes naturally to be able to spot a trend or an opportunity for that matter. So, just get better at that. Figure out how from your professional pool you could extend help for any causes you wish to support. Yes, crowdsource help! Best case in example – Teach for India – crowdsourcing teachers and creating students in places they couldn’t exist. We did exactly that for Robin Hood Army and Nabhangan Foundation. Working with restaurants and food brands made it easier for us to support Robin Hood Army to feed needy families. Our generous restaurant partners cooked fresh food everytime there was a chance to feed. What seemed like a wonderful collaboration with Nabhangan Foundation was how we could dip into our pool of chef’s and home chefs to help curate an e-cookbook, the sale of which would help raise funds to build schools in the interiors of Maharashtra. And raise money, did we?!? It was a team of close to 40 contributors and 5 core team members, who made this project happen, all through Covid, remotely! So you see, we connected the dots well.

Lastly, don’t just be a flash in the pan. Whenever you extend help, make it a point to keep going back and evaluating if the project needs more. Indeed a simple technique to stay grounded as a communicator and maybe pick-up a new skill too.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Pooja Trehan
Pooja Trehan, VP, Communications & Public Policy.

Building brands through story-telling is what keeps me going! Having spent 18years in this industry, I am far more excited to experiment on what's next to unlearn. Worked with industries across FMCG, Oil & Gas, Technology, Fashion, Telecom, Media House, F&B and now Sports, my curiosity to craft a narrative only gets deeper. Marathons, Black Coffee, learning about Scotch and Malts, reading everything i can, travelling, are few of other personal passions that I happily pursue.

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