Monday, July 17, 2006

Your Attention Please, The Prequel

BusinessWeek Online (Rob Hof and Heather Green, July 24, 2006) has done a very important story entitled "Your Attention Please". It encapsulates the changing ways people receive information and how various companies are coming up with approaches to get their attention. Here's an edited excerpt that summarizes the goal of the piece:

"It's not just that media is splintering, as it has been for decades. The difference now is that the Internet is thrusting that trend into overdrive. . . . The result: a serious case of attention deficit for every business that depends on traditional mass media to reach customers."

The story goes on to look at this issue. This story is not only at the heart of media and communications changes happening today -- and thus impacts us rather dramatically -- but it raises a corollary question: "Are there certain inalienable truths about communications that apply, no matter what the medium and its pace?"

I think there are, including:
  • Good communications are about building relationships with the audience. That's why "looking your audience in the eye" literally or virtually is so important.
  • Often that translates to making the communications personal: "why is this important to me?"; and/or making a person the focus of communications.
  • Experience has shown that people need to hear a message three or four times before they start to internalize it.
  • Drama can help tell the story.
And, last, but by no means least:
  • THE MESSAGE MATTERS. Quality is as important as quantity (maybe more so).
There are probably a few more inalienable truths. We can add to these later.

One of the side effects of these truths is that it's possible that some of the older communications tools can have a new life in today's world. In addition to blogs, podcasts, short videos, etc., which communications vehicles from the past can be used in "modern" ways to enhance effectiveness of communications? That's the subject for a future post.


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