I was recently at a pharmacy picking up a prescription and I had a quick question about the medicine, so I waited patiently for the clearly advertised service of “speak to a pharmacist.” Now, she wasn’t having a great day and you can really tell that when a person is rushing around, hurried, not smiling or making eye contact with you. She grabbed the package, ran through the caveats and instructions with the meds VERY QUICKLY and then she glanced up, made hard eye contact with me and said, You understand, right!” And it wasn’t a question. Yes, our time together on that lovely afternoon was over.
So “communications” is now (and has always been) about a sort of magical connection between sender and receiver where the intended message moves from one person to the other and the person on the other end gets it and provides that positive feedback to the sender to indicate the transfer has happened. But it rarely does.
I see this same approach sometimes at work in marketing & communications programs out there. A lot of companies are in a BIG hurry to sell you something and they won’t let a little thing like YOUR preferences or needs get in the way of THEIR goals!
So to help out here, let’s take a look at the things you need for people to understand a message:
- Clarity — If you confuse, you will lose. Your message MUST be clear.
- Empathy — If you do not ever consider the audience, their needs, their desires and even their right to be left alone, you will not achieve understanding.
- Response—This is REALLY important and often left out of many approaches — what did they think about what we said or did? I’m not saying send out more surveys (remember, people don’t like additional communications from you) but there are ways to see if it worked (If it’s social media, did people Like it? Did they share it? If e-mail —did they OPEN i t? Did they click on anything? …And the list goes on.)
Just firing out more messages with bad messaging and aggressive tactics DOES NOT increase understanding. And as of Jan. 1, 2020 when the California Consumer Privacy Act hits, you just might attract some of the WRONG type of attention.
There is a better way. Learn how to be an attractor, (not an interrupter) with your brand. Create fantastic messaging that gives YOUR BRAND a STORY that isn’t just about selling! Avoiding the “You understand, RIGHT!” syndrome in your marketing & communications begins with caring about whether your audience REALLY gets it or if they’re just a little sorry they waited in line for so long to talk to you.