The biggest threat to news, PR, and the good feelings of an entire nation is the group.
The group is easy to report on, easy to categorise, and easy to blame. The group is an amorphous entity that isn't like a person; it’s both cunning and stupid at the same time, it’s easily influenced and yet it’s completely intractable, it’s scary and stupid and misrepresentable.
Because the group is a group there’s no one to sue you.
Start with asylum seekers. They are a swarm, they want to take our money, they want houses, and benefits. They’re uncontrollable and they need stopping at the border.
Asylum seekers are people.
Asylum seekers are people with individual stories, with families, and hopes who have journeyed for months to get to Europe, to get to the friendly shores of the UK so that they can build a new life.
Individual stories matter because it’s much harder to hate a person than it is a group. If we don’t tell stories about people, people don’t care.
Criminals are another group. People who break the law are scum who are trying to kill you in your bed, and then steal all your stuff… or are they individuals who find themselves pushed to the edge of society and have no other choice?
I'm an unreconstructed leftie, so when I see an injustice being perpetrated on a minority group by the right wing press I get flared nostrils and a huff if indignation escapes my mouth… which is a problem because when I think about others describing dehumanising groups I forget that I do it too.
Bankers are evil, Tories are just in it for themselves, big pharma, big tech, big business is always bad for competition… oh… oh dear.
That’s why you always need to think about individuals, about people, when you’re telling your organization’s story. No one cares about a company, but audiences will stop for a story about a person.
Make it personal and you’ll change hearts and minds