Don’t Ignore the Elephant in the Room, 10.21.2011

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons User MG

  During a recent trip, I picked up the book “Switch” by authors Chip and Dan Heath. The book explains that each person has a strong emotional and analytical component. The authors refer to these facets as the elephant and the rider, respectively. According to the book, the elephant and rider must be in tandem to make a change on any level--individual, social, or corporate. I think this method of reflection is pertinent to the work of communications, marketing, and public relations professionals. The take home message for us isn’t necessarily how to make a change, but rather how we can develop compelling examples and materials to demonstrate why our clients are special, and why the public should view their work as such. The best way to represent a client is in a manner that evokes both analytical and emotional rationale when people see, experience, and read about their work. It's true that a strong elephant is quite weak without its rider, and vice versa. However, we should also recognize that an emotional connection (elephant) can be an extremely motivating factor for employees, colleagues, and audiences alike, and we should infuse this bond into our work and support it with research and numbers (rider). *Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Switch, Broadway Books: New York, 2010.