January Luncheon Recap: Transform and Punch Through with Boyd Matheson

January Luncheon Recap: Transform and Punch Through with Boyd Matheson

By Olivia Oldroyd

As communicators, we tell stories. Those stories can transcend deadlines and reach across borders. Former President of the Sutherland Institute Boyd Matheson shared a few communication strategies from his time as chief of staff for Senator Mike Lee at January’s networking luncheon.


Create an experience to transform the consumer

When you write content does the consumer breeze over it and quickly forget it or are they changed by it?

There are different transactional levels when it comes to communicating about products or ideas. A tangible commodity, like a potato, is at the lowest level of the spectrum. The next level up evolves the commodity into a product, like french-fries, which transforms into a service, like a fast food business. The evolution continues to grow into an experience, such as a themed restaurant focusing on all varieties of potato creations, and the final level is transformation. Matheson used the potato analogy to compare the top level as a tour company that takes customers to a potato farm in Idaho and teaches them to be connoisseurs of potatoes.

He explained we must aim for the experience and transformation levels in order to achieve real success with our audiences. Those top two levels transform our audiences and foster a sense of brand loyalty. We cannot be satisfied by communicating about a product or service alone. Products and services are easily forgotten. But with the right creativity, we can produce something resulting in an experience or even a transformation that changes their views and actions.

To create something that goes beyond the status quo may require some thought, but that’s what a good communicator does. “As communicators we make things happen,” said Matheson. “We are asking people to invest time, money, or emotion. We want consumers to remember what we have to offer and that can only happen if we give them a transforming experience.”

A good example of a company aiming for experience or transformation is Disney. Instead of focusing on the product or service, Disney focuses on the consumer’s experience with those products. Does anyone forget a trip to Disneyland? Disney does a great job of making sure the guests only see the magic.


Punch through!

Your hit your deadline. Great! What’s next? Is your audience or customer going to remember that information or product tomorrow? Next week? What about next month? Will you even remember? Matheson recommends “punching through” deadlines to strengthen the impact of your communication with your audiences.

Punching through means aiming beyond the target, so that when you reach the target you’re still moving at full steam. Many PR practitioners move on to another project after they’ve published a news release, but practitioners who punch through continue to create experience and transformation moments about the content of their news releases after hitting send. Going that extra mile is what truly pays off.


Look out for Kairos moments

While it may seem that all the good ideas are taken, there are moments in our day to day lives where exhilarating opportunities come and tap us on the shoulder. Those moments are called Kairos.

We all have them and if we stop and listen a little more, those moments will carry our ideas to the punch through. But we often don’t recognize those moments unless we take a moment to shut out the world and set apart time in our schedules to think. An opportunity could be trying to catch your attention right now.

“You will run out of energy long before you run out of opportunities,” Matheson said. “As you focus on experiences, punching through, and taking advantage of the Kairos moments, you will be a more effective as a communicator in your storytelling.” 


About Boyd:

Following our Utah Valley PRSA luncheon, Boyd Matheson announced his new role as Opinion Editor at the Deseret News. A former president of Sutherland Institute, Matheson also served as chief of staff for Utah Senator Mike Lee in Washington, D.C., and has a wealth of experience as a coach, executive adviser and business consultant. He is a regular contributor to Fox Business Network and Utah’s Rod Arquette show on KNRS 105.9.

In addition to his service as Sen. Lee’s chief of staff, Matheson built a successful political consulting firm advising national and state elected officials and candidates. From 2005 to 2012, he served as president of Trillium Strategies, a consulting firm focused on branding, business transformation and operational excellence. Matheson and his wife, Debbie, have five children and four grandchildren.


Bio and photo courtesy of

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