ABC’s of Communication Strategy: C is for Communication

by Kirk Westwood

Maybe you think that this one seems a bit too easy.  Perhaps you are thinking communication is too broad a subject to cover in a single post and fact of the matter is, you’d be right.  But today is about pointing out the extremely obvious, so obvious in fact that a lot of people don’t realize it.  It’s so plain it gets lost in the other 1000 things you are doing in your business.

What is it?  What is so plain that everyone misses?

Pretty much everything you do in business is communication.  That’s right, everything.

The products and services you offer?  Communication.
The product and services you DON’T offer? Communication
The things you say?  Obviously communication
The things you DON’T say?  Ironically enough, ALSO communication.

Fact of the matter is, in this the day of the internet and nigh-unto completely open source information, everything you do sends a message and is open for interpretation.  The public reserves (and often exercises) the right to interpret (badly) your actions to fit their understanding and world view.

This sounds more nefarious than it is, but fact of the matter remains that your customers will react consciously and unconsciously to more-or-less everything you do.  The layout of your store/website, the wording and frequency of you emails/social media posts, even the presentation and demeanor of your staff.  All of it communicates to your audience a message about your company, your culture, your priorities, and you capabilities.

It actually gets a bit daunting.  Everything about you and your business reflects on the brand you are creating.  And yes, even the things you aren’t doing reflect on what you do as a business.  Two key factors on how the public gauge you against your competitors is points-of-parity and points-of-differentiation.  Simply put, are you offering like or better service than your competitors and do you offer added value that your competitors don’t?

This can be as all consuming as you want it to be.  Many choose to “ignore” communication beyond having a website and focus on the core business, which is a valid tactic but makes growth particularly difficult.  Others over-think it so much that they get locked up in monitoring everything so they ultimately accomplish nothing.

The secret is, of course, in the middle.  It is extremely important to engage with your audience.  The modern customer pretty much requires the companies they deal with to be actively engaged in a two-way conversation with their public.  Adding time or personnel to the task of customer engagement is the single best way to add value to your customer. Ensuring your core product or service is solid is the top priority but frankly, customer trust and brand loyalty trump product superiority nearly every time.

The modern public wants a relationship.  Sure, they want what you’re selling, but more they want to feel included.  Apple manages to sell a nearly identical product to their competitors at near double the cost for a simple reason:  Everything they do communicates a consistent, clear message. Consumer reports show that their brand tribalism drives high-end sales that are related to literally nothing other than trust.  The product isn’t better but the user experience, the communication, the brand consistency drive consumer value through the roof.

Communication is everything.  Your customer wants to hear from you and if they don’t they will fill in the blanks with their own story.  Make sure you take control of your own brand narrative.

Everything Communicates.

Kirk Westwood

Kirk Westwood

Creative Director

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