In this age of instant mass communication, almost anyone can be accessed at the click of the mouse. But according to Aaron Sherinian, vice president of Communications and Public Relations for the United Nations Foundation, what remains to be decided is who should be contacted.
In a networking presentation March 29, Sherinian said the U.N. has a large audience it needs to resonate with.
“Our goal is to connect people with the big issues,” Sherinian said. “What is hard is that our audience is everybody.”
Sherinian goes on to explain that when it comes to global issues, the U.N. has been talking to the wrong people, but it has refocused its communication efforts to reach two specific groups, the first being teens.
“It would be folly not to talk to teenagers,” Sherinian said.
Sherinian also said that today’s youth are highly motivated by big causes and want to get involved in making a difference in the world.
“They are more cause oriented and moved by causes than any other generation in history,” Sherinian said. “Pew tells us that millennials are dedicated to a cause on day one.”
This dedication leads millennial consumers to reward companies associated with causes and punish companies that are not. They punish companies by posting negative comments on Facebook, blogging about a product and Tweeting against companies.
“You have the ability to take down a brand with your Facebook feed,” Sherinian said.
Brook Ward, a public relations major from Canada, said that understanding teens’ ability and craving to make a difference in the world has helped her know how to be a better communicator.
“This reinforced what we are learning in the program and helps me take a step forward,” Ward said.
As Sherinian continued his presentation, he said that the second important group to communicate with is mothers, especially those who blog. They have an incredibly influential voice and desire to make a difference. Sherinian said the U.N. has been trying to foster better communication with blogging mothers but is still refining its techniques for doing so. Sherinian said one mommy blogger spoke for many bloggers like her when she said she wanted to become more qualified to give commentary online.
“(She said), ‘We don’t want you to sell to us, we want you to (establish credibility for) us,'” Sherinian said.
Shey Grossen, a public relations major who attended the presentation, was impressed with the United Nations communication strategies and the foundation as a whole.
“I just think (the U.N.) is promoting good causes and helping the world,” Grossen said.
To conclude his remarks, Serinian told attendees that the way to make change is by communicating well.
“The bottom line is that you, the communicators, are what make the change happen,” Sherinian said.