Keep passion where it belongs

PR, marketing and comms people who proclaim passion for their brands or their products are not to be trusted. CEOs who do the same, even less so.

A dispassionate approach, cool, calm and above all fact-based, is the only reliable way to engage with a chosen audience.

I was reminded of this recently at Guildford station when approached by a man raising money for a military charity called Our Local Heroes Foundation. He was wearing his service medal from Afghanistan and we chatted for a while about our respective lives in HM Forces.

He told me that Our Local Heroes Foundation (not to be confused with Help for Heroes) was set up to help provide employment, job training, accommodation and support for local people who served in the armed forces and now suffer from either physical disabilities due to injury, mental disabilities or both.

The point is that he, and his mate, had a wholly professional approach to their task. They spoke clearly, calmly and were entirely focused on their mission: to raise funds. There was no visible or evident emotion and zero sentimentality to be discerned. They were engaging effectively with commuters, one-by-one, and fulfilling their mission.

Passion is great between the sheets and between the ears but is generally annoying and irritating to people who don’t share it. It is rarely infectious and makes for incredible – as in not to be believed – communications strategies.

Charities are usually the worst offenders because they use volunteers who nearly always confuse their own enthusiasm and passion with effective communication to folk who don’t share the same feelings.

It’s easy to preach to the converted; much harder to craft effective messages to expand your audience.