Are you sending the right message?

Are you sending the right message?

The Toronto Transit Commission just partnered with the National Ballet of Canada for a seemingly innocuous campaign.

The campaign featured dancers posing in front of subways. So what’s the link between the two organizations?

The TTC physically moves people, while the dancers emotionally move them.

But the campaign’s tagline, “We Move You: Connecting you to Toronto’s arts and culture scene,” didn’t deliver the intended message. Instead, it sparked a debate about whether the campaign was perpetuating “unrealistic” ideals of beauty, since the ballet dancers’ bodies don’t represent those of most TTC users.

It’s certainly a challenge to deliver the intended message to an audience — especially when it comes to social media.

So as a PR professional, how can you ensure that you’re sending the right message?

First, choose your words carefully — leaving as little room for interpretation as possible. In the TTC tagline, the “We” could have been the TCC — rather than the TCC and the National Ballet.

Second, pause and read your message from a new perspective. When writing, it’s easy to forget that an outsider doesn’t have the same knowledge base as you.

So take a step back and read your tweet again. Did you leave anything unsaid? Could your message be interpreted differently than what you intended?

And finally, ask a coworker (ideally one who’s not on the project) to check over your message. She’ll be able to give you a fresh perspective — and you’ll be able to tidy up your message if it comes across as unclear.

Katie Behrman