What am I saying?
What do you think I am saying?
What do you hear?
What do you think you hear?
What is actually being said?
Most of us spend large parts of our days communicating. And we’ve done so since the day we were born. But no matter how old we get, and no matter how skilful we get at many different things in life, communication is one skill that most of us never seem to master all that well.
Whether it is communication with your target market, your boss or your friends and family, here’s a few tips to make it easier to communicate in the most effective way possible.
The 10 Cs of communication
When writing or speaking to someone, be clear about what you want to communicate. Make sure that it’s easy for your audience to understand your meaning so they don’t have to make assumptions on their own.
When you’re concise in your communication, you stick to the point and you keep it brief. Your audience doesn’t want to hear or read several sentences when you could communicate your message in one.
In a complete message, the audience has everything they need to be informed. All relevant information, like names, dates, times, locations, etc. need to be included.
When your communication is coherent, it’s logical. All points are connected and relevant to the main topic, and the tone and flow of the text is consistent.
Your communication needs to be tailored to your audience. All technical terms need to fit your audience’s level of education or knowledge. In writing, make sure there’s no grammatical errors and that all names and titles are spelled correctly.
When your message is concrete, then your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. There are details, but not too many, and there’s a clear focus.
You communication needs to be friendly, open, and honest and you should always try to keep your audience’s viewpoint in mind.
Your message should highlight your credibility. This is especially important when communicating with an audience that doesn’t know much about you.
These tips are not about storytelling but you should still keep your audience engaged by talking or writing in such a way that they want to hear and understand what you want to communicate.
10. Confidence Check
Never take for granted that your audience gets your message. Just because you know what you’re saying doesn’t mean that your audience will understand you....
So.... Did I master number 9? Did you make it ‘till the end...?
The word “Infographic” is made up of two parts; “info” and “graphic”. “Info” is short for information, and “graphic” refers to what we do, the design part.
For a better view on a mobile phone, click here for the long version.
Here's a few selected examples of infographics we have designed.
Define a topic. Do some research and remember to credit your sources. Leave the rest to us;-)
We are delighted with the new infographic. We really appreciate your work and design expertise in helping us to pull our ideas into a succinct infographic document!
Carmel B Buckley, Area Director, Nursing & Midwifery Planning & Development, HSE South
I always find May fantastic to deal with - extremely innovative, professional and responsive to the varying needs of whatever project we are working on. I have no hesitation recommending May for all your branding project needs.
Louise Reynolds, Communications Manager at INDI
Trumpet Branding & Design have worked with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on both large and small scale design projects. May and her team have always had a clear understanding of the brief and bring a personal touch to their design work, offering a friendly & professional service underpinned by a comprehensive understanding of our specific corporate needs.
Conor Peoples, Communications Officer, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
About 4,000 years ago livestock owners switched to burning. At around this time brands were also used to identify various goods. Pottery makers from Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia (Iraq), China and India used engravings to identify where the ceramics were produced as well as who made them. And in Egypt, masons engraved symbols on the bricks they produced for the pyramids to distinguish their work from other masons.
Many ancient civilisations, from Greece to China, used branding to sell their goods. As a way of explaining their offerings to people who could not read, the merchants hung up pictorial signs and they also painted their storefronts with symbols explaining their trade.
In the 13th century, when trade was established between the east and west, the merchants made it mandatory to brand goods with proprietary marks in order to control trade. These trademarks also helped to assure the buyer of the quality of the merchandise.
Papyrus was, for over 3000 years, the most important writing material in the ancient world. The Egyptians mixed vegetable gum, soot, ochre and bee wax to make the ink. However, what paved the way for different forms of branding was block-printing and paper, which were both invented in China some time during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279).
This was the start of printed banners and printed advertisements, but it was the German businessman Johannes Gutenberg who invented the printing system that enabled mass production. This happened around 1450 and from then on printed information could be easily distributed and advertising became a popular and effective way to sell goods.
My primary school in Norway staged a play about Gutenberg and guess who had the part of the very man himself? Me. You’d want to see a photograph of that! Or maybe not...
The Industrial Revolution (which began in Great Britain in the mid 1700s and reached North America a few decades after) spurred the growth of branding. Petrol and coal powered energy paved the way for mass production. However, the selling of these products came off to a slow start as consumers were used to buying local products made in their own towns. There was trust in that, and generic products created ‘en masse’ didn’t have quite the same appeal.
The solution for the product manufacturers was to copy what winemakers had been doing for some time already. They branded logos onto the barrels used to transport their goods.
So the product manufacturers started to put their brand names onto their products and the brand identities they created represented human characteristics. This responded to the concerns of the public in trusting mass-produced products.
It worked. More and more people were drawn away from commodities sold out of barrels to attractively packaged goods that promised “sealed freshness” and quality.
Soon after, the product manufacturers began to mark individual products as well, as buyers were now able to choose from a wide selection of products for the very first time.
By the late nineteenth century, companies had invested so much in branding that they needed a way to protect those investments from competitors. In 1875, they got it with the passing of the Trade Marks Registration Act. Now branding wasn’t just something companies did, it was something they could own. And that changed everything.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the western world prospered. More people than ever before could afford to spend money on branded goods, services and luxury items.
As a lot of new brands entered the market and competition between brands was becoming more heightened, visual communication played a more and more important role in the success of their business.
Corporations aimed to create professional images to represent their products. There was big business in targeting specific audiences by injecting a certain ‘look’, style and personality into specific products and companies. The Quaker Oats company replaced their trademark with the Quaker Man, and many popular brands like Coca-Cola and Campbell Soup followed.
This began the modern practice of branding as we know it today. Shoppers were now buying the brand of a product. Branding evolved into a mark of quality and not only ownership.
When Apple released the first Macintosh computer in 1984, they introduced it with a TV ad. This was a TV ad like no other. They got Ridley Scott to direct it and they showed it at the American Super Bowl where almost 50% of American households watched it.
That was before internet and social media and we all know how the advertising channels have changed since then.
But their brand strategy is just as relevant today: It was about introducing Apple as a brand, not just a product. And the main focus was to communicate how they wanted their target audience to feel. The product itself, the wonderful Macintoch (that I purchased my first of in 1991) was only shown at the very end of the ad.
Branding is still about taking ownership, and not just for property and products. It’s about owning what your company values and represents, owning up to your shortcomings, and earning customer trust and loyalty through your words, actions and stories.
Today, the internet is involved in all aspects of advertising and marketing. Search engine optimisation has taken centre stage with the biggest advertising agency now being Google.
Pessimists will say that the internet age has created a culture of instant gratification, leading to a generation of more and more demanding consumers. Sure, consumers have more information and more choices than ever now. But success is no longer determined by who has the biggest advertising budget or the most recognizable logo. It is determined by who makes the greatest emotional connections.
And we can all do that. So go on. Tell your story.
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