Kelly Borth: How breaking through the clutter is a matter of how it is presented Featured

8:01pm EDT April 30, 2012
Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest Kelly Borth, CEO and chief strategy officer, Greencrest

Whether or not your message gets heard has a lot to do with the way you present it to the market.

We can all relate to how challenging it is to take in all the communication we receive on a daily basis — television, radio, billboards and other outdoor messaging, signage at the drive-through, e-mail, voice mail, newspaper, Twitter and Facebook — just to name a few that impact me by 6:15 in the morning.

As consumers both personally and professionally, we make numerous decisions each day on what we will spend time reading and what we will ignore due to lack of time or interest. Our available time to review and receive messages continues to be challenged by the sheer number of messages we receive, not to mention the myriad of other demands on our time.

With the birth of social media, the 30-second rule has become at best the three-second rule. This challenges our ability to capture the attention of our audience members, engage them and convey a meaningful message.

Relevancy of message

It should go without saying that before we can communicate our message, we first need to understand what the customer is looking for, what we intend to communicate and why it matters to the customer. Without that, there is little hope that our message will be successfully delivered, no matter how we present it.

Concise messaging

Learning how to capture your message in three seconds is an art. Public relations professionals mastered this years ago when learning how to write an effective press release: present the news story in the first paragraph of the release. That way, reporters could quickly review the release and determine interest.

To help you keep your message concise, keep it focused on communicating one main thought. The strength of a message can easily be clouded by too much information and become ineffective. Use a good headline and a lead-in sentence or two with a link to the rest of the story in case the customer wants more information. Frame the message so that it appears to be an easy read: “Three easy ways to save...”, then present them in three easy-to-read bullets with links to more information.

Use graphics

According to one source, graphics communicate up to 60,000 times faster than text and increase the odds that you will win work by 43 percent. Graphics can be very effective in delivering a clear message very quickly. Infographics have become all the rage in presenting all kinds of data — survey results, research data and statistics to name a few.

The more complex the messaging, the more helpful graphics can be to simplify the communication. Creating graphics forces us to clarify our message to the intended audience. A word of caution, however; more is not better. Beware of trying to convey too much information with a single graphic. It may make more sense to have several graphics. The use of graphics as sales tools can be very effective in delivering a compelling message and an argument for why your company is the best choice.

Use videos

Video is a preferred way to receive information today, thanks to YouTube. We have become conditioned to watching short videos that convey information we are interested in or simply ones that entertain us.

Video is a great medium for thought leadership — a friendly way to share knowledge. It is more content and less advertising message or sales pitch. Think of it as a substitute for white papers. It is also a great medium for storytelling — your company story, your customers’ stories or case studies. It also helps your search engine optimization.

CEO dashboards

Why do CEOs love dashboards (web pages that collect information on a business)? Because they tell the story at a glance. In one place, the CEO can have his or her finger on the pulse of performance metrics they are responsible for managing. Concise information presented in an easy-to-view manner can be a powerful tool. It is an efficient and effective form of communication.

Consider what your organization can do to more effectively present information and communication to prospects and customers. The investment will be returned in improved sales and marketing results.

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 21-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, kborth@greencrest.com or @brandpro, or for more information, visit www.greencrest.com.