We don’t talk about it very much because we specialise in communication for technology companies, but we have quite a few clients in the government. These are nice people who are looking for a more professional manner of communicating, but some of them are suffering from a dangerous disease: the spectacular stunt disease.
This “spectacular stunt disease” is an illness which makes people lose sight of good communication policy’s basic activities, because they keep on wanting to do something special: the website is quite hard to find, texts are almost unreadable, contact databases haven’t been centralised and planning is either non-existent or objectives much too vague, but let’s put all our energy into organising a flashmob, so we can pull off another spectacle at the end of the month.
Some days I get this disease too, but in a different form. I get my illness from organisations that spend almost all their time and budget on stunts without ultimately achieving very much (except for a nice, warm feeling during the actual performance). These are the same organisations that become very disappointed if their stunts go a little bit wrong, and then go and tell everyone their communication isn’t working.
But in fact exactly the opposite is true. There is a better chance of stunts succeeding when you work on your communication in a well-organised way, because they become part of a larger framework. So it’s like a circus: stunts are only for professionals; other people won’t survive the trapeze.