Whether the person receiving your communication is internal or external to your organization, it must be relevant to them. Content should reach people where they are and address the needs, wants, challenges and aspirations of our audiences. For example, when crafting marketing messages about a co-working space, I could focus solely on aspects of the space such as its beauty and convenience, and the types of offices available. Alternatively, I can share the same information about the space and add my research, insight, and examples about how increased focus, productivity, and social capital can be achieved by choosing not to work from home.
By choosing the later consumer focused approach, I am telling the consumer that I understand some of the goals they might want to achieve when they are seeking a new workplace.
When we put something into context, we choose to frame the discussion in a way that is more meaningful to the listener. For example, I can talk about the value of communication in an abstract way or I can put it into context by providing specific examples of its implications for a particular work process or business task. An example of contextual communication is when a Realtor asks new real estate clients to share past experiences with property buying and selling before sharing his or her approach to the work. These consumer experiences provide a context so the Realtor can frame the discussion more personally and compare new information with what the consumer already knows. When thinking about context consider personal, business, industry, geographic and cultural framing.
Communication is often more compelling and effective when you can contrast and compare. Embrace every opportunity to compare your business, team, and products with the competition. Often, new consumers and employees don’t know the difference between excellence and mediocrity when it comes to your industry. Take the time to exploit these differences and don’t assume others are aware of them or understand their significance. Comparative approaches to communication include highlighting differences between you and other companies in intellectual capital, industry insight, products, services, organizational structures, leadership, processes, results, etc.
Conscious communication provides insight into your value systems and helps the audience make deeper connections with you and your business. If your values resonate with your target consumers, they will be more likely to do business with you and refer you.
Consumers can care about a wide range of concerns such as social and environmental justice, equity, diversity, fair labor, clean energy, gender equity, and more. The first step in conscious communication is to find out what your target audiences care about and do a deep dive into those areas. From there, you can see how your products and people can impact, align, or intersect with these areas in a way that benefits everyone.
If you consider the 4 C’s in every communication, your messages will become more meaningful and memorable. It is a helpful approach for standing out among the competition as the expert in your field.