Some suggest that the art of effective communication has been lost forever. We are living in a world of instantaneous, rapid-fire communication. I fear that our desire to respond rather than reflect has resulted in a society that spends more time trying to clarify rather than progressing. Perhaps the classic line from Paul Newman’s 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke" sums it up best: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”
A recent study by SIS International Market Research revealed that a company with at least 100 workers spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications, costing businesses $524,569 a year. Seriously? Perhaps we have become addicted to fast-and-furious email and text messaging at the risk of effectiveness. The SIS study suggests that internal productivity is clearly at risk.
These five pain points were revealed in the SIS study as most prevalent in negatively affecting internal communication effectiveness: inefficient coordination; waiting for information; unwanted communications; customer complaints; and barriers to collaboration.
Could the same be true of brand messaging directed toward consumers? My guess is that messages are often lost on their path to purchase due to lack of clarity, memorability, consistency, and overall communication effectiveness. Allow me to submit this as an example: Does anybody really remember any of the key messages or brands shared during this past February’s Super Bowl commercials? I believe that the majority of these insanely expensive investments have not been recovered and have most decidedly been forgotten.
Messages are present almost everywhere one looks, including logos, identities, and the graphics on product packaging. The exuberant use of visual and textual elements to attract shoppers has resulted in a vast array of product packaging, which can be “aggressive” in appearance, overly persuasive and overzealous, incoherent, and downright chaotic. In other words, brand messages are no longer being heard.
In today’s “always on” environment, consumers are bombarded by unnecessary messages from products, expressed with big words that can be difficult to understand. So, if the volume of messages and the resulting noise have become ineffective, what must a brand do? I recommend getting back to basics and cutting to the chase. Brands have less and less time on shelf or through their promotion to stand out. Keep it simple, succinct, and consistent.
Mark Twain was credited with saying, “Don’t use a five dollar word when a 25-cent word will do.” Try it – you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Hamacher Resource Group vice president Dave Wendland, a 20-plus-year retail industry veteran, is a popular presenter and discussion facilitator available to speak at corporate and association events on a variety of retail-related topics. HRG is a research, marketing and category management firm specializing in consumer health care at retail. Product manufacturers, healthcare distributors, retailers, technology partners and others rely on HRG for strategic and creative solutions to help build their business. Learn more at www.hamacher.com.