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Who do you communicate with?

A fundamental concept that emerged as early as 1949 in communication was the Shanon and Weaver model. It stipulated that a communication model had only three components- sender, channel, and receiver. Since then, many theorists have come up with models with their own flow. The most popular communication flow has 9 components to it and maps the process right from the encoding of the message. As we step into a world that is increasingly moving towards McLuhan’s global village, we see that communication has moved beyond the confines it was once described in. Geographically bound, it was created for a specific demographic. With the advent of multinational corporations, we see that mass customization became a necessity. Further as moved to the cultural boundaries being blurred, we saw a replication of message on a more massive scale. In all this, we have somehow lost the plot and confined communication as per our own target audiences and market segments. Maybe we need to bring in 1949 here and go back to keeping the message between the sender and the receiver. This also means reversing the model on its head so that the inception of the message comes from the receiver and not the sender. We need to include human psychographics in the equation if we are to have an effective model.

Dispel the noise

One of the biggest factors in the wrongful interpretation of a message is the noise that clutters the communication model. Noise in the real world scenario will be the other brands that are vying for your audience. The contradictory reports in the media that may counter your work. Sometimes, the noise comes from the firm itself as it fails to give out a clear message. How do we ensure that the audience does not engage in selective behavior then? The reason to only grasp a part of the message is that the audience is not interested in what you have to say. This is where a clear understanding of the market comes into play. By tailoring the message according to the public, you are able to retain their attention and rise above the noise that dominates the information overload in the market. A thorough behavioral knowledge of the target audience will give you an insight into what clicks with them. Often we give into preconceived notions about audience groups based on their nationality and ethnicity. This limits our understanding of them which affects the efficacy of the message.

Social media is the great leveler

Communication objectives are always designed with a target audience in mind and a region in mind. It affects the channels of communication employed, the crux of the message as well as the composition of the message. With social media, the geographical boundaries have been blurred like never before. With official pages of brands being “liked” by consumers from around the world, it has become impossible to differentiate messages regionally. Similarly, social media always gives you the chance to

be a source of great behavioral insight into the consumer’s mind. Through instant feedback and digital mapping of their preferences, we can ensure that our message attracts the core clientele that identifies with the brand. This kind of classification will generate better results than a segmentation that takes the only location into account.

The rise of the informed consumer

The consumers of today are markedly different from their predecessors. They are better informed, have access to even more information and have to be wooed. How will a brand entice such a consumer if it only relies on superficial data like demography and geography? Hence the need to include human psychographics as a crucial factor in the communication model. Ford may have gotten away when he proclaimed everyone can the car they wanted, as long as it was black, but a supplier’s market has long since ceased to exist. The customer has very specific preferences and expects the brand to know and plan accordingly. With the luxury of the choice-rich market that gives them viable substitutes, they need a reason to listen to your brand. If the communication channel does not take this into account, it could become an exercise in futility as the brand will get lost in the market. Understanding their personalities, opinions, lifestyles, and attitudes gives the sender of the message clear guidelines on the designing of the message. Such a message will resonate with the consumer endearing it to them. Once considered a soft science, it has emerged as a strong set of data in itself affecting various operations, particularly marketing.

Using data to determine trends

We see a rise in live communications, especially on social media where the engagement can be instantaneous. Going beyond the physical, we also see a surge in virtual reality and augmented media that further takes the experience to another level. These initiatives are in response to an increased demand in an interactive communication channel where the consumers play an active part in the flow as opposed to being the passive receivers. With the market in a constant state of flux, our methods of communication should also adapt to the environment. Our objective should be to not only capture but also retain the attention of the consumer. This will only happen if and when the customer is able to relate parts of the message with his values and lifestyle. The AIO analysis, most commonly used in marketing, is one such example of how simple everyday activities of the consumer can give the marketer deep insight. It maps the Activities, Interests, and Opinions of the potential customer to give you qualitative data on the market you are pitching to. Psychographics has become an instrumental tool in understanding the consumer and designing the communication process that takes it as a starting point. Increasingly, businesses are going beyond the conventional mediums to include more path-breaking mediums. As brands seek to humanize their brands, the message must follow suit and must be tailored to each receiver for a deep impact.


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