Reducing the ‘white noise’

Ben Hornbrook, 15 March 2015
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white noise:

  1. an unintelligible noise generated by combining multiple frequencies
  2. a constant background noise; especially:one that drowns out other sounds

A video featuring flashy imagery but no substance; a scattergun marketing campaign that shouts sales messages and buzzwords; a social media account that is rarely updated and has limited engagement. If not executed strategically, all of these can be expensive distractions that dilute your message, confuse your audience and add to your communication ‘white noise’.

Here is one way to think about it. Let’s say two people are talking at the same time. You can usually understand at least one of the two voices. However, if 10 people are talking, there is no way you can pick out just one voice. Even if you could, how would you know which to pay attention to?

If you are saying too much, in too many ways, you end up saying nothing at all. All your audience hears is ‘white noise’.

In my opinion, many organisations are making too much noise, trying to do too much, and are therefore not truly communicating at all. As much as possible, I believe that it is important to keep it simple, and not overcomplicate marketing and communication.

Here are a few suggestions to help ensure your organisation is communicating more effectively:

  • Don’t feel like your organisation has to be everywhere, and communicate with everyone. Focus on your priorities and what your audiences really want and need.
  • Look at what’s working and what isn’t. Stop doing things that are ineffective.
  • Have a clear strategy, and a strong vision for how everything fits together
  • Ensure your team has clear roles and responsibilities (both internally and externally)
  • Keep your messages simple and to the point, removing jargon and buzzwords
  • Actions speak much louder than words. Deliver on your promises and commitments.

Importantly, your organisation needs to speak with a genuine and consistent voice about what is you stand for, and why your audience should care. After all, it’s about them – not about you.

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