The Jack Reacher school of marketing & communications


I’m a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. The new one is out next week (September 2014) and is now in preview.

There’s a great phrase early in the new novel that neatly reminds us of what it is we should be doing.

For those who don’t know the Reacher milieu, he’s an ex-US Army MP, now retired and wandering the US. He doesn’t own anything beyond the clothes on his back, a folding toothbrush and an expired passport (post 9/11).

No phone, email address, laptop or post office box.

He’s entirely off-grid.

So when the US army needs to find him and bring him in for a mission, it uses – and here’s the phrase – the natural economic habitat of the audience with which it needs to communicate, to get to Reacher.

In the case of the novel, the Army knows he travels on buses and by hitching, that out of habit he will read the Army Times, and that the Army Times is also the natural information resource of enlisted men and women.

In other words, the Army knows its audience, where its target fits within that, and how to distribute the message. The message is also very simple: a name Reacher recognizes and an instruction to ‘call now’.

As you’d expect from a best-selling author, a beautifully succinct summary of what’s required.

Time we were as succinct in our thinking.

Know who you want to reach. Create the simplest, most compelling message that resonates that you can. Communicate. Often.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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