[BLOG] Brand Communication: Essence of listening
Effective brand communication rests on certain pillars. Some of which include listening, speaking: oral or writing, message, medium and target. Each pillar is important and none can be overlooked if brand communication effort is going to be successful.
In this piece, we will be looking at one of the pillars which is listening. Listening is an act that many never learnt. Many people are taught to speak. The essence of listening is often overlooked. This error affects communication process in many ways. Listening refers to one’s ability to pay attention, taking note and ‘pinning’ one hears to the floor.
We all aware speaking is easier done than listening. Often when other people are talking, the recipients constantly process the information received based on their belief systems, exposure and antecedents. Instead of paying attention and taking note, most receivers are busy organizing reply in their minds while the speaker has not finished his/her speech.
Sometimes, a brand may have great stuff to communicate, but if it does not take time to understand receivers’ mood and the kind of action or responsibility the message requires from the receivers; the message may fail. When a brand places a demand on the clients to make sacrifices and the clients were never prepared for the challenges, the brand should never expect immediate compliance.
For those who monitor Nigeria situation, we have a good case study. The issue now is centred on fuel subsidy removal. The debate has been going on for a couple of months now. While it may be said government has good intention, the antecedents of government-both previous and present, with regards to trust is zero. Trust had been continuously violated and this makes it really difficult for the citizenry to believe whatever the government has to say.
Couple with this is the element of timing. Removal of fuel subsidy on January first when the initial promise was April 2012, in my own opinion, damaged every good point the government may want to project. No one is then surprised when people reacted negatively to the policy. While we keep monitoring the trend, here are the lessons:
Due your brand’s due diligence: To communicate effectively, there is need to conduct adequate research. This research should cover the people, the message, the medium, antecedents etc. The research finding should guide the next stage.
Listen to elements that are not pronounced: the research finding will push forward some issues that may not be pronounced. Some of which may be vital ingredients in communication process decision making. If a brand overlooks this element, the communication process may be floored.
Consider the message implications: are there serious implications or demands the receivers must act on? Has your brand provided enabling environments which makes compliance from the recipient easy?
Is the timing right? One best way to damage brand communication effectiveness is to communicate something good at the wrong time. Effective listening will help in understanding the right timing of each message.
Listening delivers the brand from wastages: several wastages may accompany ineffective brand communication. One, great time will be lost while trying to justify the communication need. Brand can also lose money to media adverts aimed at convincing the clients why they should reason along with the brand.
Trust may be violated: trust is an essential brand’s social capital. When a brand loses its social capital base, it will take longer time to build it.
What is your opinion?
Yinka Olaito is a passionate Brand-PR, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. He is the CCO of Michael sage consulting, Lagos Nigeria.
This article was originally posted on Nigeria Business Communities