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What can comms professionals learn from the King’s Speech?

King Charles III made history on Tuesday, delivering the first King's Speech in over 70 years. While conversations around state occasions such as this, will naturally focus on the pomp and ceremony of the event, this particular occasion has to carry messaging that addresses public concern and interest in our health, wealth and happiness.

Although it is termed “the King’s speech”, it is actually written by His Majesty’s Government and sets out its agenda for the coming 12 months. 

The glitz and glamour of this may seem a million miles away from the work we, as communications professionals do, but it is a tightly orchestrated event by the Government of the day – particularly this one, being ahead of the election next year.  As such – what can we learn from observing occasions like this?


Get a star performer

Many have commented on the King’s delivery of this speech.  Stone-faced, with little to no hint of emotion, following in the footsteps of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth.  The neutral tone is designed to avoid giving any sign of political bias – an essential feature of a monarch – so no dramatic emphasis in speech is possible. 

While the constitutional relationship of crown and government dictates the reigning monarch presents this occasion, you have the opportunity to choose your star performer. For example, Steve Jobs from Apple was one of the most engaging and dynamic presenters of all-time. When introducing its new iPhones, he had no limitations and was able to fully breathe passion into his speeches. This kind of star performer humanises and brings entertainment to the role, which generates interest and anticipation. Such personality should be used to full effect in company seminars, speeches, keynotes, webinars and advertisements. 

Choose someone who is fully committed to and enthusiastic for the message being put across. Someone who knows the business, sector or product inside out to deliver keynote speeches or webinars most confidently, and who can handle the media. If your team would benefit from media training, why not get in touch with us at Clear. 


Know your target audience

For the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, this speech was a big opportunity before the General Election next year to drive the narrative and deliver compelling reasons to support the Conservatives, both in the red wall seats (where Labour hopes to retake these constituencies) and in Tory heartlands (which will also face stiff challenges).

This is always going to be a difficult balance, and on this occasion it is clear that the Government chose to focus on policies that differentiate themselves from other parties, looking to add more carrots in the Autumn Statement to persuade those target areas.

Accurately understanding your audience, their needs and the ways they are influenced are key considerations, as well as how they consume content when deciding which channels and events to target with your communications.  Once correctly identified, you can assemble the range of tools required to effectively communicate with your audience.


Produce an engaging offering

While many have cited this as one of the least engaging Monarch’s speeches in a generation, the Conservative Party had been incredibly busy in advance trialling and testing many potential policies in the days and weeks beforehand (plans, announced by the Home Secretary, to ban charities from giving tents to homeless people were noticeably dropped from the Speech after a public outcry). 

To generate engaging content, you need to know and test what your audiences want and how to present those messages to be understood best. Differentiating your offering from your competition is important, although you don’t always need to be controversial. Strength of opinion and thought leadership, however is essential. A creative approach will help grab interest and you’ll need to be sure of a strategy that ensures your messaging is consistent, cohesive and credible. Perhaps it is most important that you speak only once you have defined something powerful to say!

At Clear we have helped many clients create compelling content that has enabled them to engage effectively with their target audiences.

Get in touch if you want to explore different methods of communicating with your target audiences – and we’d love to talk through how we have helped other clients in your field.

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