When It’s OK To NOT Give AF During Communication
Updated: May 22
“Its extremely important to frame all forms of written communication clearly, concisely and to always take into consideration perceptions that could be possibilities in the interpretation of that message.”
When I think about language, unique words and phrases symbolic of a specific company or person instantly spring to mind. For example: I think of Skittles when I think of the phrase “Taste The Rainbow” and I think of Beyonce when I hear the word “Bootylicious”. I define effective communication, as a way messages are designed to be perceived and experienced by the listener or reader to achieve a specific goal.
Businesses and public figures use language and communication to distinguish themselves from competition all the time. This is branding, and in this context, the rules of general communication to be polite and inoffensive, or even what we associate negativity with, can be altered based on your overall objective.
Forget Lessening Offense, Let Your Freak Flag Fly!
If you’re a newbie to the small business space, the first thing you’ll realize is how saturated it is. Then, you’ll want to become that pink elephant in the room. This is where what you say and how you say it can either make or break you. If getting there for your brand means being a bit brass faced in the way you communicate, trying to side-step possible misinterpretations will only take you further away from your goal, which is to stand out!
So what matters the most to you? Are you troubled by trending habits in your industry? Do you hold key experiences that can shed light on things your target market are oblivious of? Are you breaking ground in your industry because you’ve improved on an an old formula? IF the way you talk about it is distinct from your industry, then by all means take the scenic route!
I realize for those who prefer to whitewash the way they communicate with generic phrases like, “we decided to do things differently by being the ones who will make a difference”, what I’m suggesting will seem crazy. But, you can only make a difference after you’ve first educated your public on the problem.
You know that phrase “be about the solution, not the problem”? It’s awful advice for a small service business because before you can show someone a better way, you gotta show them what’s not working first! That means equally being about the problem as much as you are about the solution: listening to their complaints with the same passion you put into providing the answer. But that first part, can be a stumbling block for those who don’t understand that the objective is to convey to the client where your value is positioned. This way, when they come to you they’re primed to work and you’re not stuck wasting time, trying to convince them.
A key quality I wanted in all my clients was their ability to trust my advice upfront, on how they should structure their online presence. I wasn’t trying to play the ‘functioning website’ game every other local web designer is playing. I am trying to answer a bigger question — What content should this website function around? And what I’ve realized is trying to figure that out, has been a major trust builder between my clients and I.
Therefore, from my humble experience, avoiding the possibility of being misunderstood when you communicate isn’t a prerequisite for successful communication as a small service business brand because it can rob you of what sets you apart from others in your industry and possibly alienate the people who need you.
I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB
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