I remember well. My teacher media, Erik Meganck, told me in 5th grade all about Marshal McLuhan and how his famous quote “the medium is the message” did evoke a big discussion in our classroom. He didn’t however tell us much about the “global village”, and that’s something that, even today, I regret. But one thing’s for sure; I found his lessons (among) the best I’ve ever had.
But back to the famous quote of McLuhan: “The medium is the message.”
I believe it’s not about what you are trying to communicate but how it’s communicated. His statement was made when mass communication media was just taken over by commerce. There was no conversation possible what-so-ever. The message was send to everyone in the hope someone picked it up, tried it and, in the best practices, told a friend to do also. Only messages that were very good reached a form of storytelling. Advertising evolved form information to seductive infotainment.
Times have changed. The conversation is the most important driver of web 2.0. Comments on blogs, messages on profiles in social networks, etc. have no other purpose than to share thoughts on a post, personal interests or a particular theme that the writer covers. Enterprises that spent millions at advertising should embrace this principle. They need to see their consumers as customers who co-create. Customers nowadays are empowered and could make or break your brand or product. A customer is someone who is a producer, user, participant, member & critic at the same time. Targeting a customer with even the simplest message isn’t so easy anymore. But there is a solution for this. That needs a shift in the enterprises’ mindset. Start a conversation with your (potential) customers?
A conversation can mean a lot of things but in fact, it’s dead simple: Connecting with people creates empty relationships, conversations between people creates meaningful relationships. Communities are built this way. In a commercial point-of-view, these relationships are underdeveloped, not fully exploited. Enterprises have a lot of connections but they should turn them in relations. A good conversation is not easy to create. It just happens, like all good things in life. When the quality of your message is good, it will be noticed. It will engage people to comment and help you forward with constructive criticism. Therefore offer your customers an experience. The user experience will reflect on your brand and/or products. Both positive as negative is possible. But your engagement will give you an advantage in cases of doubt.
Starting a conversation needs engagement from your part. But the conversation will soon become your legitimation of trustworthiness. It’s all about the conversation. So start today.
Do you think I’m right?