By: Eric Berman
Monday through Friday, at approximately 8:07 “bus” is shouted loudly by the elementary school kids at the bus stop across the street. While it produces a smile thinking back to when my kids were part of that chorus, it is also an excellent communications reminder as I get ready to start the day.
That daily occurrence reminds me to find the message and communications vehicle that most closely aligns with who my audience is. And more specifically, it reminds me to resist assuming that the latest and greatest communications tactic, technology, or “shiny new toy” of the day is the best option to deliver that message to my audience.
In the case of kids at the bus stop, the one-word message “bus,” and the shout works best! Why? Because it’s organic, it’s the language the kids use to communicate, and it’s able to cut through the noise (and there is noise!) When the message is delivered, it means it’s time to stop playing and running around, pick up their backpacks, and get in line for the bus. We’d be extremely lucky if the daily communications that we produce for our companies and clients could be as effective.
There’s no question that we would significantly enhance our success rate by deciphering our target audiences more intently. What does that mean? It means digging in a bit more by asking and answering these type questions:
How do the members of your audience communicate with one another?
What channels do they use?
Is there a special language?
If so, when and where do they use the language?
What topics generate the most conversation?
These are the fundamental questions that we’re all taught to ask in school or the early months on the job. Sometimes under the pressure to deliver a message, we as communicators forget, or simply don’t take the time to revisit fundamentals of the craft. While I don’t know if I’ll ever reach the pinnacle of communication in terms of the perfect one-word message and communication vehicle, I know I get a reminder every morning to strive for it: Bus!!!