WHAT IS NARRATIVE GRIDLOCK? When your own key messages back you or your organization into a corner. The worst part? Getting out of that corner without reputational damage.
Here in Ontario (Canada), the province’s teachers unions continually doubled down on the “it’s not about the money, it’s about the children” narrative in their grievances with the government. Initially, this message worked well in garnering with parents of school-aged children. Now? The government has conceded on many of its demands – but are holding firm on maintaining a 1% pay raise. The unions refuse to settle and suddenly, the money is the issue. Yet, the unions have not pivoted from their narrative, mainly because they have nowhere to go. They now risk falling out of favour with their largest stakeholder group.
How do you prevent narrative gridlock? Create key messages that stand the test of time, even when there’s an ultimatum. Ensure they work as a sound bite, are evidenced-based and simple to understand.