New Pope shows Small Messages can carry Big PR Impacts
Media advisors often point to how big initiatives and dramatic comments can drive media coverage and deliver a spirited online response. Less than 24 hours after Pope Francis was elected by the conclave of Cardinals, it is clear that the opposite can also be the case.
We are barely into the next news cycle regarding the election of the Head of the 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church and it seems that it is the ‘small things’ that are resonating about the new pontiff. What do I mean by ‘small things’?
Most comment I have read online and all coverage I have read in the mainstream media has referred to the fact that Jorge Mario Bergoglio lived in an apartment instead of a Cardinal’s Palace, that he refused a car and driver in favour of using public transport and that he began his first speech with the colloquial phrase ‘Bueno Sera’. In comparison, there has been little reaction to his comments on faith, outreach to other religions and the role of women in the church.
The, apparently, minor considerations of where he chose to live and how he travelled have trumped his decades long pronouncements on the position of the Church which he now leads. In Ireland, we saw a similar reaction when, after being elected as Taoiseach in March 2011, there was a huge volume of commentary on the fact that Enda Kenny chooses to walk to work (in fact, it is still brought up by taxi drivers in my experience).
It goes to show that, sometimes, the small messages carry the big PR impact.