Communication is important. That we can all agree on. After all, it is your name, your face and your message to the world. But how do you get it right in this fast-paced, ever-evolving world? Does it feel like you’re trying to hit a moving target? Don’t fret. These 6 criteria of outstanding communication will keep you on track.
The 6 criteria of outstanding communication:
1. Be effective
We know. There are so many cool and fun communication tools and technologies out there. And it is so easy to get caught up in the excitement. But how do your communication messages and media contribute to your business goals? Asking yourself that question is half the battle. Often, the least “sexy” media are the most effective. So keep your eye on the prize.
2. Be efficient
Oh, all the fun things we could do. The possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, your budget isn’t. So does that video need to be shot on location with actors or will an animation do? Do you need 2,000 copies of a brochure that will be updated next month? Efficiency always factors in. A communication professional’s job is to allocate resources wisely.
3. Be relevant
Your inundated buyer has the power to ignore or delete your message. The passive audience is long gone. To get noticed and resonate, you must be relevant to their needs, challenges and goals. Knowing your audience and tailoring your message to them is an absolute requirement.
4. Be consistent
Mixed messages don’t work, they never have. Your messages and visual identity must be consistent to leave the intended, powerful and lasting impression. This means that internal disagreements or different ways of working never make it outside. It also means doing things differently should be a deliberate, careful choice and a commitment for the future.
5. Be authentic
Today’s audiences can spot fake a mile away. We have all grown up with marketing communication. It surrounds us from the moment we wake up until we put our cell phone down for the night. The result: more than one generation of smart, savvy buyers. In a world full of fake smiles and unrealistic perfection, authenticity convinces.
6. And stand out!
You need to stand out from the crowd to get noticed. No, you don’t have to be the loudest or the most outrageous. There are many ways to distinguish yourself. Just find your own voice. And choose and stick with an identity that is honestly distinctive.
That is all, folks: the 6 criteria of outstanding communication. We sort of wish there were less. After all, a simple 1-2-3 would have been easier to remember. However, in today’s red oceans, you have to be all that and then some to succeed. On the plus side, there is a peace of mind that comes with knowing there is a structured way to getting communication right. And it only involves 6 check boxes.
Remember the time when people sat in front of the TV and paid attention to commercials? When you walked into a business meeting and you found five people happy spend the next 30 minutes passively listening to your presentation? Yeah, we don’t either. Nobody has time for that. Enter communication relevance.
As communication professionals, we have had to shift from trying to persuade customers to trying to influence their decisions. Our stakeholders filter, block, ignore and delete – unless what we provide is relevant to them. That is why relevance is not just one of full.stop’s six criteria of outstanding communication, it is a necessary requirement. Know your audiences. Don’t just list and map them. Gain real insight. What are their goals and challenges? Why are they (not) doing what you want them to do? Only then can you create communication that is relevant to them and pass their spam filters.
Photo: Bert Stephani
Technology is rapidly changing our world, especially our media and communication. We are witnessing an explosion of touchpoints, i.e. the points at which we interact with our customers and other stakeholders. But what happened to communication effectiveness?
Whereas many touchpoints used to be paid (advertisements on TV or in a newspaper, billboards, etc.), most now live online. The Internet has freed businesses from the dependency on (expensive) paid media. It has also created a free-for-all as companies vie for the most likes, retweets, and downloads with an endless supply of animations, virtual reality, apps, videos, online content, click bait, etc.
Getting it right matters
Not so long ago, communication was so expensive that much thought went into strategy and translating that into a Big Idea. Today, more is more. The cost of communicating has gotten so low that the common approach seems to be: let’s just throw enough mud at the wall and some of it might stick. However, the rise of “cheaper” earned and owned media masks the fact that getting it right still matters. And that getting it wrong is still an expensive proposition.
Cutting through the communication clutter
When we started full.stop, we were an agency that created smart communication campaigns, tool mixes and individual tools for customers. We still do. But too much of communication has been reduced to tool production. The means have become the end. “Do we need an app? What social media should we use? Infographics are cool. Can we have some made? How about iPhone video? We need likes! Right?… But we have always done a brochure. Why stop now?”
Along the way, we figured out that our true value is in how we can help customers cut through the clutter, not contribute to it. In other words, we want to focus on what communication is really about: reaching, engaging and convincing a target audience, to deliver the business goals you have set.
Back to communication effectiveness
So instead of more-more-more, we go back to the basic 1-2-3 of communication. Back to a focus on effectiveness. Who are you, what is your audience and how does that translate into communication needs and to dos? Your communication tools are a logical reflection of who you are and where you want to go, and who your stakeholders are and where they are going. That’s why the tools come at the end, not the beginning.
Once a strategy (your big.picture, as we call it) is in place, we craft your custom campaigns, mixes and tools. Instead of simply developing the tools that are trending now or, on the flip side, build the media you know because “you have always done it this way,” we set out to meet the six criteria for communication that works in our cluttered society. Specifically, we want to develop communication that is consistent, effective, efficient, authentic, relevant and remarkable. In short, we want to get your communication right and can’t wait to get started.
Photo: Bert Stephani