Communication in a time of hyper-connectivity and chaos… is anyone listening to me?

Published on
September 23, 2013

Communication and marketing have changed.

There has been a paradigm shift where traditional forms of communication – verbal, print and visual (TV) –  have been surpassed by a plethora of digital formats, and if you’re not part of that digital conversation or don’t intend to be in the near future, you will be left behind.

The challenge we face now is how best to navigate and utilise these formats to ensure they flow harmoniously together, to reinforce our messaging in an integrated and cohesive manner.

Rather than dismiss the old or traditional mediums in favour of grabbing hold of the next, new shiny digital offering, we are seeing the benefits and results from leveraging the old and new in concert, to build relationships with audiences far larger than could previously have been imagined.

The first thing to understand is how information is being distributed and consumed in today’s world. As seen in the graphic below (image courtesy of Google | Think Insights “The New Multi-Screen World Study) click here to view the study

think-insights

Like it or not, the digital screen is here to stay and the majority of us don’t just have one screen, but two, three or more – on the face of it this seems a bit silly when each device, a smartphone, tablet (and yes, I do know people with both full size and mini iPads), laptops, desk tops and smart TV, can intrinsically do the same if not similar tasks.

These devices should not be thought of as functioning in isolation. Contrary to the belief that men can only focus on one thing at a time, we are in fact evolving into a species of multi-taskers or more specifically ‘multi-screeners’ who either move between our devices following a specific conversation or task, or simultaneously using devices to run multiple tasks.

The key to great communication is to deliver consistency in messaging, but with so many devices and opportunities to communicate with customers and key stakeholders, how do we ensure that a consistent message and experience is being delivered? Apart from the method of delivery, the primary component of strategic, targeted communication/marketing (deliver your key messages, be consistent and tell a compelling story) hasn’t changed – so don’t panic.

The opportunity now however, is to engage with a much larger audience and have that audience engage with you through bi-directional channels such as social media and website commentary.

A word of warning – the advantage of being able to deliver your consistent message across a plethora of devices does not mean that you can simply cut and paste the same content to fit each medium – your audience is far too sophisticated and fickle to accept that kind of lazy storytelling or shabby delivery. The opportunity instead is to tell a much richer and deeper tale that engages them at a cerebral, and tangible level and offers a unique piece of content across each channel. By doing this you not only create a deeper understanding of your messaging by the consumer, but you also engender a sense of ownership and loyalty through participation and contribution.

These channels can be traditional, digital and experiential working in concert as in the example below (PUMA). The key is to ensure that the underlying messaging is supported and presented in a variety of compelling ‘story experiences’.

puma

Case study courtesy of Brightcove – www.brightcove.com & Puma – www.puma.com

This concept of transmedia storytelling is not new, but with the ever-increasing availability of content delivery methods, it is becoming more important, allowing for a clearer, deeper engagement with your audience across a broad spectrum of media in a focused, concise and compelling way.

So, is anyone listening? Absolutely – by avoiding the chaos of a disjointed scattergun approach to message delivery, by entertaining or engaging with your audience in a thoughtful considered manner you’ll get them to do more than listen, you’ll get them talking with you and sharing your story with their networks.