Last week it was announced we were entering lockdown 3.0 followed by a series of press briefings punctuated with "next slide please". When I tuned into Radio One this morning I discovered I was not alone in my frustration of the catchphrase "next slide please" with Greg James creating his own rendition of DJ Casper's Cha Cha Slide and a member of the British Public gifting Chris Whitty a slide clicker last year, it was delivered but he doesn't appear to have used it.
Last October, I was surprised and frustrated to see the Press briefings with their sterile backdrop and illegible graphs punctuated by the words "next slide please" had not moved on since March. Not one to sit back and complain from my sofa, I took to LinkedIn to understand who was behind these briefings. I requested to 'connect' with the people I thought were relevant stating my desire to bring a fresh and modern approach to their briefings based on my background in live events and communications. To my surprise, the acting Head of Content at Downing Street responded and suggested a call. For this exciting opportunity I decided to outline my recommendations and that two heads were better than one so asked Jonathan Izzard to help. The potential of using my background to help during this global pandemic felt exciting and although our virtual meeting never happened, the thinking is still relevant for effective communication as we continue to navigate the "new normal" in 2021 and beyond.
Our proposal employed the strategic communications approach of live events to help maximise effectiveness of the press briefings in order to create a more engaged, informed and empowered British public. We believe there was, and still is, an opportunity to help build a slick, ambitious operation that would deliver a message that’s coherent (easily grasped by anyone, irrespective of prior knowledge), consistent (on-message regardless of who is speaking) and connected (existing across a variety of relevant touchpoint for different audience segments).
We outlined the 3 x key production variables – Purpose (is the message and event rationale clear?)
, Platform (is the set-up appropriate?) and People (are the speakers relevant and engaging?), as well as sharing the core elements of a successful live events comms strategy (based on the Prime>Participate>Propel model), all designed to maximise the engagement in and impact of any future briefing.
When asked about his catchphrase "next slide please" Chris Whitty responded on BBC Breakfast "I'm rather hoping someone has sent one to Downing Street". I wonder what 2021's catchphrase will be?
How do you think No 10 could improve their briefings?