This month’s quote on our Twelve PR 25th anniversary calendar is from Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
It’s a classic.
I’ve been ruminating on this quote for several weeks, knowing that I’d be the author of September’s blog – my last before I head off on maternity leave. And it particularly struck a chord with me in an unusual situation…
Breech baby breech
About two weeks ago, I was admitted to the John Radcliffe Oxford Hospital to the Breech Clinic, as it turned out baby Bartlett was lying upside down. After 45 minutes of monitoring, watching the baby’s and my heart rate plotted on a CCG machine, a sagely consultant, Dr Laurence Impey, comes in to explain how an ECV works.
An external cephalic version or ECV sounds terribly complicated and for many, could be unnerving.
However, my consultant calmly explained that they’d first shoot me up with a dose of synthetic adrenaline, which would work for precisely three minutes, ensure all necessary internal muscles relaxed and make my heart race like the clappers.
In this three-minute window, the consultant and midwife would simply push the baby round like doing a forward roll. My only job was to concentrate on staying relaxed. I’m happy to report that Dr Impey and midwife successfully turned Baby B and fingers crossed, he’ll now stay that way.
This anecdote is relevant because I know that the key reason for the successful ECV was Dr Impey’s ability to explain to me simply and clearly what was about to happen, so I felt informed and confident and therefore, calm and relaxed. (The doctor’s many years of experience also played a crucial role too!)
Permanently available material – huh?
The ability to explain complicated concepts is a challenge which we are regularly presented with in the PR field. Turning technical language into terminology that can be understood by the common man and pique the interest of journalists and key target audiences is a finely-tuned skill and the very essence of good communication.
I have now worked within the packaging field alongside the trade association, the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association, for almost all my working life and phrases like infinitely recyclable and permanently available material now trip off my tongue.
But these phrases are not widely understood. Permanently available material for example is not used as regularly as renewable or non-renewable in common parlance, but essentially it means that a material, like metal, can be recycled again and again without its core properties ever changing and with no loss of quality.
For the MPMA and its members, it’s crucial that everyone involved in industry can explain metal’s unique status to their customers and consumers further down the chain in a way that’s easy to understand – just as Dr Impey was able to do for me when discussing my ECV.
To do this, we created a series of visual animations which clearly describe this core terminology. The video on YouTube has now had over 14K views and is used by MPMA members to explain what permanently available means.
If more buyers, designers, commissioners and brand owners appreciate metal’s specialist material status and its ability to contribute to a circular economy, there is a greater chance they will seek metal as a solution for their packaging needs.
So, if you find yourself with technical jargon and terminology that needs to be adapted so that your wider audience understands what makes you unique, then a PR is what you need.
Get in touch with the team via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see you back in 9 months!