Sunday, 16 January 2011

'Music to my ears ...'

'You hum it, I'll play it ...'

During a job interview once, as I was talking about integrated campaigns and joined-up marketing communications, one of the panel interjected with, 'Phil, that's music to my ears ...'

In so many organisations, large and small, those responsible for communications hardly talk to each other. There's no connection between the web team, for instance, and those who put the printed publications together. Customer testimonials may appear in a sales brochure but not on-line. No-one's thought to inform the receptionist or all the front-line people who answer about the latest intiative, discount or event.

It's one thing to have a strong message, a strong proposition, but if everyone involved in communicating that message is a bar or two out, or even singing a different tune, the effect is muted.

I got the job, by the way. We were all tuned in.

Of course, orchestrating the message, making the words fit the tune, as it were, is where the hard work starts.

But it can be done.

'Dad, do you know the piano's on my foot?'
It isn't a case of, 'You hum it, I'll play it ...' - simply muddling along and playing by ear.

It's all about agreeing core messages and making sure they're embedded across the organisation and reflected in all communication channels. It's about finding the right pitch and harmony, of making sure everyone knows what parts they're singing and when and where the solo comes in.

And when it all coheres together, the effect is more than applause or the hair rising on the back of your neck. It means happy customers, informed and motivated colleagues and a real difference to the bottom line.

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