Burson-Marsteller has just realased a study on Message Gap Analysis where they investigate the cut through of corporate messaging to mainstream media.
Their research indicates some scary results:
“… a 48% gap between the messages a company communicates and the message conveyed by the media. The study also found that the gap is even bigger between a company’s message and bloggers’ messages (69%). ”
Some other key insights from the study include:
1. “Aspirational” branding language needs to be supported by concrete facts and messages or it will be ignored. Messages that tied back to the company’s core values and identity were more successful.
2. Tell the whole story or the media will tell it for you. While this is age-old advice, companies that focused only on their own message paid the price by having their message become relatively more diluted in the broader story.
3. Avoid using jargon, as the mainstream media and bloggers either ignore it or must create their own explanation of the potentially confusing company message. Make communications as accessible as possible.
4. Press releases are being reprinted extensively, which affects the strategy for the communications professional. Communicators should realise that the audience for press releases is no longer just the media, and their language should be adapted for consumers, financial analysts, and other stakeholders, as well as media.
5. Bloggers are more likely to make comparisons to competitors and to speculate about an organisations intentions and strategy. Because bloggers are more likely to incorporate their opinions and include messages from multiple sources, companies should consider developing messaging that is more targeted for a blogger’s needs.
It is interesting to ask how we can apply these insights into our corporate messaging on an everyday basis. How much of our corporate messaging is actually getting through? How much of it is jargon ridden waste?
Time to start looking seriously at our language and the way we present our organisations to the world. It’s time to fight corporate gobbledegook and jargon and to start putting a human face on our organisations.