I have a motto for strategic communication. I describe it as “part science, part art; part brain, part heart.”
What I mean is that purposeful and meaningful communication—whether it’s in the form of marketing, advertising, or public relations—must be at once quantitative and qualitative; objective and subjective; proven and experimental; logical and emotional.
Say, what, you ask?
We all know there are certain time-tested “rules” of effective communication (know your target audience; avoid jargon and clichés; use fewer words; use shorter words; use proper grammar; etc.). There are also ways to measure communicative efforts (micro-conversion rates; conversion rates; ROI; number of PR hits; etc.). As you might have guessed, this is the science/brain part of strategic communications.
But there’s a spate of other factors that also influence the efficacy of your campaign—factors that are more intuitive and affecting than tried-and-true methodologies; factors that are measurable only anecdotally. I’m talking about the humanization of communication. The cultivation of real and trusting relationships with your target audience. The engagement and interaction with not only your prospects, but also your current customers. The sharing of relevant ideas and helpful information with like-minded groups and individuals. The sincere display of interest in the lives of those whom your product or service benefits. The positioning of your company as more than just a cold, corporate brand—but as a group of real-life, empathetic human beings who are just like everyone else.
You see, communication is all about building and maintaining relationships. (The word “relations” in “public relations,” for example, underscores my point.) And this is where art and heart come into play.
Social media (note, by the way, the term “social”) tools like Twitter are the perfect avenue for this, in my opinion: there’s simply no better or more immediate forum for engaging and interacting with your prospects and current clients than online. And, even better? You can take those online relationships and turn them into real-life connections.
Sure, the science and the brain behind strategic communication are critical. But following your heart—that is, being genuine, human, and approachable—is an art that should never, ever be omitted from your strategic communications plan.