10 Dec Are You Fighting the Right Battle?
Generally speaking, corporations communicate from a level that does not relate to their audience; messages are often filled with jargon or too general. Consequently, they spend considerable resources trying to figure out why their messages aren’t getting through to their audiences. When we talk to people, whether it be men, women, adults, teenagers, seniors or children, if we don’t reach to communicate at their level the signal is missed or, worse, misunderstood.
Recently, I attended the International Association of Business Communicators Western Regional Conference and was inspired by the information Steve Cresenzo shared in his powerful and entertaining workshop, “Taking the Corporate Out of Corporate Communications.” To hear him be so frank and honest about the corporate industry and the reality of its communications approach was refreshing and motivating.
Cresenzo’s position is this:
In business, we fight many battles on a daily basis. But, when it comes to marketing and communications, the truth is…we’re fighting the wrong battles:
- The battle to meet the deadline
- The battle to create something that will make it through the approval process
Cresenzo’s key point is that we need to stop fighting the wrong battles, and start fighting the only battle that really matters:
- The battle to gain our audience’s attention
Making our clients happy and meeting their goals is our ideal scenario. As a result, the pressure and satisfaction of meeting a deadline and earning approval can take focus. However, if we don’t achieve the audience’s attention and desired reaction, both the deadline and the client’s approval have little benefit. Mediocre messaging may be comfortable and meet the status quo, but typically fails to really “move” a market.
When making decisions about messaging for branding, advertisements, newsletters, annual reports, or any other communications materials, we must take our personal opinion out of the equation and focus our analysis on what will compel the target audience to action. What I (or the client) likes doesn’t matter; what the audience likes does.
When we make a conscious effort to take the time to understand the target market’s needs and see messages from their point of view, we’re moving in a direction that achieves results.
Considering these options, which sounds riskier to you?
a. missing the deadline or challenging the approval process
b. missing the mark on moving your audience
I vote b.