“If you aren’t a little different than your competition, you’re in trouble.” – Mark Sanborn
Companies take a lot of trouble and issue several communiqués to customers, especially prospects about how their company and products are unique, and why they are different as compared to others. However, soon enough another company with similar products would make the same claim – which in effect dilutes their efforts and the efforts of the other companies. In order to be convinced, creative communication is what would work with customers. Things that become staid, and appear ‘run-of-the-mill’ soon become irrelevant and obsolete since customers lose interest in them – even communication. Customers are busy and unless a company deploys creative communication, it would be difficult to become noticed or stay ‘popular’ with them, which would ultimately sound the death knell for a company. We have written earlier that it is extremely important for a company to keep pace with and match the preferences of their customers. Creative communication is one of those things that tells customers the company is contemporary, has a broad outlook, and a growth mind-set.
The challenge for companies now is that it no longer suffices to be the best. Then what is, one might ask? Well, customers must believe that your company is the only one to offer certain products, or do things that no one else in the market does. Creative communication and messages is what will convince people to notice a company, and soon become long-standing customers. The idea is to break away from the traditional and ‘popular’ in order to become the company that every customer would want to associate. Blending in no longer seems to be working – being one of a kind is what customers want companies to be. Creative communication has become indispensable in ensuring that a company and its offerings stand out and consistently remain in the mind of customers.
While customers seem to have several choices, the fact is that there is a lot of overlap with companies offering similar products, and customers soon see through this. Both creative communication and radically different offerings together will get the attention and possibly, loyalty of customers. A company could have unique products, but if they are unable to convey this differentiation to customers, these products would be of no use. In order to introduce uniqueness, it would be prudent to do so through creative communication that would immediately arrest and sustain the attention of not just the target audience, but a large customer base too. Sending out creative communication should start inwards – most organizations apply little or no thought to the messages they send out to their employees. The memos, meetings, companywide communiqués – all appear boring, dull, and fail to inspire interest and enthusiasm. Such negative feelings, especially if the communication is about new ventures with regard to customers, could very easily backfire. Bored and unenthusiastic employees would have the same demeanour towards customers too, while being unproductive and lax towards their core jobs.
Creative communication has the ability to raise enthusiasm levels, and create a workplace where people are willing to do whatever it takes to please customers. In the same way, creative messages and stand out communication would get the attention they should, and customers would listen despite all the ‘noise’ and clutter of communiqués that constantly bombard their world. Companies often are stuck in a rut, simply because something may have worked earlier. However, by staying aware of the changing needs and expectations of customers and the market, companies would be better equipped at creative communication that overflows with innovativeness, and is attention grabbing – ensuring that the messages are not only heard, but move people enough to want an association with the company. This, as we mentioned, is true also for all internal communication with employees. The fact is that creative communication has leeway and the ability to show prospective customers how much value personally they would gain through the company and its offerings. Research has proved that at least 68% customers would be willing to pay more in order to stay associated with a company that offers both personal and business value. A company’s values and culture must reverberate through the communication, such that people know instantly what they can expect, and how much value the company would add to their business and personal lives.
Does your company believe in the power of creative communication? What steps does your company take to ensure that every message that goes out to both customers and employees, ‘sticks’ and makes them want more? Through creative communication, a company would be able to target and convey to customers, that everyone in the company empathizes and understands their needs and expectations, and treats them as important. It is all about letting customers know that humans, who would have had similar experiences, run the company, and hence understand how customers feel. This builds an emotional connection and personal rapport with both existing and prospective customers. Creative communication is not about fancy words and great graphics – it is about being able to convey a widespread message while ensuring that whoever reads it, believes it is written only for them.
We have mentioned several times, that consistency is critical to any business imperative, if a company expects customers to trust and depend on it. For a company to be able to convey its understanding of its customer’s needs, it would be imperative that everything it does and communicates resounds with that understanding. We know also, that customer perception becomes their reality and the truth about any company. Hence, if customers get the impression that a company is not consistent, especially if the messages delivered to them by it seem to present a different picture of the company each time, they would stop trusting the company. For customers to connect emotionally with a company, it is essential for them to perceive the company as one that is interested in them as people too, and that the company would be willing to do whatever to make the lives of its customers easier. Through creative messages and campaigns, a company can achieve and build a rapport with customers that soon could become an emotional connection, leading to loyalty. A company must find its voice, and that voice must convey what customers would love to hear – what would be ‘music to their ears’.
One of the biggest advantages of creative communication and ‘speaking to the heart’ of listeners is that people feel valued and important. Customers and employees would know that the company conveying the message truly cares about them and would give them what matters most to them. The great part of being creative is that the company has the leeway to use its experience, skills, and feedback from customers to convey ideas and messages. There would be no right or wrong messages – just ones that touch the readers, and others that may fall flat. It is all about truly understanding your target audience, and personalizing communication in a way, such that each reader believes that the message is directed towards her or him.
There are scores of companies out there, sending out messages, and communicating with customers all time – sometimes to the same customer base and target audience. Customers and prospects have limited amount of time and capability, and would choose to read only those communiqués that instantly appeal to them – those that speak right to them. All others are sure to be ignored and discarded. Through creative communication, a company would win each time it delivered a message – both with customers and its employees.