Put your pipe down and speak up.

From the minute we wake up to the moment we put down our phones, our lives are one long blur of messages. Every site we land on or medial channel we open pours brands and clicks past our eyes straight into our brains. Some estimates say we see around 10,000 a day. But they have no effect on us, right? We’re immune. Sadly, none of us are.

There is a reason our cupboards are full of foods we love to eat and those we can’t even remember buying. The must-have gadgets that we could never master to last year’s fashions now stored away in the attic waiting for the time they pass from old to vintage and can be worn again. But these are the push points from the world of FMCG – fast moving consumer goods’. How about the service and business sectors? Well, they are there, just fewer of them and not as funky. But if they had the budgets, you’d see them in more places beyond those e-mailers you open.

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As a communications director, most of my work is helping communicate brand stories to external audiences through events or helping staff understand their company messages through workshops. The brand and imagery has mostly, not always, been created by others, and we pick up the challenge to ensure it is communicated consistently and in an enjoyable way.  The difference between the leading companies in, say, accountancy, are hard for outsiders to distinguish because whilst the brand bible – full of rules about logo use, fonts and Pantone colours  – focuses on the visual, the reality is a brand is communicated mainly verbally by its employees with a few million emails to interpret the visual.

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The importance of the non-visual in brand communications is often overlooked, but think about your first interaction with your best clients. More than likely this was via a conversation or an introduction. But so little of communication budgets are spent on the word or the best communications tool we have: our mouths (and what comes out of them). Finding the right tone to suit a company’s communications is often an afterthought, and while you don’t want to produce stilted scripts for your teams to learn, finding the right ways way to communicate what you represent is best not left to designers.  Now where did I leave my pipe?

 

Image: The Treachery of Images (1929) by René Magritte.  Also known as This Is Not a Pipe. 

Mark Herring

Mark Herring

Co-Director of Talent Lab. I trained as a Theatre Director and use the disciplines of staging a performance in my work. I call this 'audience thinking'.
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