Some Expert Opinion On What Makes Communication Work.

I have been a professional communicator for a long time. I’ve worked for large multinational agencies, iconic Canadian agencies, marketing companies, design firms, marketing and communication consultants, large and small direct clients and for startups.

The best part of all this, as any creative person will tell you, is that every day is a whole new ball game, presenting new opportunities to learn, new things to do, new media to explore and new skills to master.

As my career in communications progressed I picked up many up bits and pieces of knowledge, insight and wisdom that stuck in my head and become, in a way, part of the professional code I live by. Here’s some of what I have learned:

  1. Good Communication Is All About The Conversation. Communication, in whatever form it happens to come at people, should always form the basis for a conversation or response. This is as true now as it was back in the day before the Internet was a glint in the eye of Tim Berners-Lee.
  2. Good Communication Does Not Try To Bullshit Anyone. The integrity of whatever the communication is about, whether a product, a service or a corporate credo, rides on every message that goes out. If you’re not telling the truth, then the people on the other end of your message will find out pretty quickly, and they will spread it around. This is not good for anyone. And today, bad news travels at what feels like something faster than the speed of light.
  3. If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, You Simply Won’t Get There. Every piece of communication, whether it’s stand-alone or part of a program or campaign, needs to be guided and shaped by a well thought-out strategy, or at the very least a sharp focus. Unfocused messaging sticks with no one.
  4. Good Communication Starts With Good Communication. What this means is that whoever is involved in the communication process gets a say in shaping the direction, tone and manner of the communication. This is so today where clients are much more hands-on in the process than they used to be.
  5. Related Experience Means A Lot Less Than Most People Think. Good communicators have the ability to hit the ground running in any area of the market. There may be a learning curve, but for professionals, it’s generally quite short. Because specifically hiring people with lots of experience in a certain category comes with the risk of getting something completely predictable. Today more than ever, you want to stand out and stand apart. And when you hire a true professional who is NOT steeped in your industry, background and experience takes a back seat to a much greater ability to create, converge and coalesce your communication in a considerable way.
  6. Media Is Still Media. Since the advent of the Internet, the number of marketing tools (or tactics) at our disposal has increased. But the primary functions (or strategies) of marketing have not changed. A good communicator has the flexibility built into his DNA to adapt to these new media rather quickly, especially if he/she has worked in communications for a spell pre-Internet. The same cannot always be said for communicators whose background is strictly in the digital realm.
  7. The Communications Entity Itself Has Changed. In today’s world, large ad agencies and marketing companies exist primarily to serve huge national and multinational corporations. The vast majority of the rest of the marketing world has been right-sized to fit with the non– national or non-multinational businesses which typically work with consultants and their teams, freelance communications people, or with their own in-house function. This has accomplished two key things for smarter businesses. 1. Boosted their profits by eliminating the huge Agencies and their attendant huge overheads and markups, and 2. Allowed their internal marketing people to be closer and more in touch with their communication programs.
  8. Everybody Has Good Ideas. A smart communicator is a powerful filter. Everyone has good ideas; however, not all good ideas are equal. By taking in ALL the ideas that everybody involved in the process has, digesting and then ruminating on them in an unbiased and logical fashion and then by creating something original that is powered by the best of everyone, the result is extremely powerful.
  9. Research Is A Tricky Business. The voice of the people is not always something you want to risk your company’s image and future on. Companies who use research to develop strategies are taking a huge risk. Companies who use research to verify and fine-tune ideas are not.
  10. Business Is Personal. Communication Should Be Too. This is perhaps the most import point of all. Communication should be designed to be personal at all times. There is a simple reason for this. ‘Personal’ is the only way that the people on the other end of your messaging will engage. People have simply become cynical of ‘aren’t we great’ messaging and tune most standard corporate communication completely out. People want to be totally engaged in and almost entirely focused on the kind of customer experience they themselves can expect. And frankly, it doesn’t get any more personal than that.

This entire belief system about communication is something we work very hard to get right every day. For our clients and for ourselves. It is certainly not easy. We’d be lying if we said we were perfect. We simply strive for excellence. Every day.

We know everything about business is personal. One of the important keys to the success of your business is the ability to reflect that from product or service development to customer experience to service. We can help you with all your communication needs. Call us