For whom the bell tolls
Updated: Jul 6, 2020
The Lockdown in response to the Pandemic has significantly affected the way in which we communicate. The long-term trends have been exaggerated as we employ the typical assumptions that influence how, when and whether to communicate. These include but are not limited to;
The faster the message travels, the better the media
The shorter the communication the more effective the message
More information and greater detail are always better in presenting information
Imagery always improves understanding of the message.
Communication should be consistent and frequent
Communication is mainly free at the point of use
In basing our communication on these assumptions, we fall into the common trap of placing media in front of the message. Despite clever imagery it often remains difficult to discern the message at the heart of communication.
Nonetheless, Covid-19 has confirmed that we are in the fast lane towards a digitally designed and delivered approach to conveying information. Video conferencing is great; no more travel, grey suits, or out-dated conventions. Immediacy, efficiency, and rapid decision- making rule.
In assisting businesses with pitch decks for investment, or the messaging to their customers and perhaps newsletters for their staff, we suggest a simple pause for thought and an answer to the question “why”.
The purpose of communication is to inform, reassure, raise awareness, sometimes entertain, and warn, (we often forget that one of the best established and consistent media is road signs). In seeking to meet these objectives however, we can inadvertently confuse, confound, worry and annoy.
In utilising the ever more sophisticated digital platforms it is essential that we return to the well-trodden path of defining our desired outcome. Then think how best to achieve it and question the relevance of the assumptions listed above. It was always great to hear the bell ring on the 1950’s phone, someone may be calling with an important message because it cost real money to communicate at the point of use.
Whilst speed and frequency now characterise our communication sector, the messages we receive and the meetings we attend have not become any more important since that bell rang. Our advice is to slow down, consider the media and define your audience when planning your communication strategy.