So … what is the best way to make certain that your brand—internal or external—stays front of mind, believable, and relevant?
Some brand managers treat their communications strategy like they were studying for finals. They procrastinate and dither all semester, then try to cram months of effort into a short, glorious spurt of activity over a brief few days before some magical date. Afterward, they meet briefly with their peers to grouse about their grades before going on vacation to Fort Lauderdale.
No doubt there are times when communications, branding, and positioning are aggressive and frenetic. These times are usually project-based. But if that is all you do, if your activities always feel rushed and crammed, then you are missing the planning, strategy, and most of the value.
This tendency to rush—to over-communicate in fits and bursts—has always been present in both
politics and corporate halls. It can bee seen in large, mission-critical efforts and the daily activities of our craft. But never has it been so evident now that we have the advent of social media to add even greater velocity and urgency to our voices. If you follow the Facebook or Twitter feeds of your customers and competitors you will experience long periods of silence punctuated by five or more posts in quick succession (usually just before 5:00 PM in their local time zone). The poster then retires from his social media “strategy” for the day, self-satisfied that he or she has checked off this task.
It is waste.
The Space Between the Notes
The composer Claude Debussy is quoted as saying that, “Music is the space between the notes.” In his debut single—Hallelujah How I Love Her So—Ray Charles wrote that he was convinced of the love of his girl not because of her beauty or a grand gesture, but because, “Every morning ‘fore the sun comes up, she brings me coffee in my favorite cup.” The communication that ultimately convinces—that creates belief—is the one that is consistent and non-urgent. We are believable in the urgent times because we have spent the quiet times in faithful reinforcement of a message.
Timing. Tempo. Rhythm. No one dances to a screaming guitar solo—no matter how brilliant—without that rhythm section. The soloist’s virtuosity is arrived at only after the groove has been established.
It does not take billions of dollars, and neither should it be a frenetic spew or checking off of a task. If you want your messaging or brand to have lasting meaning and impact, deliver it like a faithful cup of coffee in the morning.