I recently snapped this photo at my local feed store - a perfect example of how NOT to make a sign.
I don't know which is worse: the fact that the sign painter didn't plan the layout, or the store owner saying, "Looks good, let's go with it."
A few minutes of planning would have made all the difference in legibility. After all, isn't communication the whole purpose of a sign? Ya might want to make sure people can read it.
Planning is an important part of signage... and all forms of marketing for that matter. Billions of dollars are spent on advertising products so that you'll "buy in" to their message. Companies create focus groups, do market research and conduct polls to best understand how to reach their target market. Then they carefully craft their logos, fonts, colors, brands, commercials and advertisements to appeal to the consumer in such a way that they'll WANT to spend money on their product.
You know, when it comes to communication at home, we could learn a few things from the marketing world. We are communicating every day- to our children, our spouse, our co-workers...if you think about it, we want people to "buy in" to our message, too. Whether it is giving instructions, sharing our feelings or talking about our day, we need our "customers" to understand and respond to what we are saying.
Here are 5 Tips from the marketing world that can help in your personal world of communication:
1. Know your target market. Do you need to tell your husband something important? Try putting it in terms he understands. Sports analogies, technical terms, bottom lines and examples from his own life show that you value the things he cares about as you express yourself.
2. Timing is everything. There is a reason that arthritis medicine commercials air during the evening news. Marketers know that is the time their senior audience is watching TV. Find a time that your own audience is most approachable for sharing your message.
3. Be appealing. Commercials don't whine, beg or beat you into purchasing. They show how their product will enhance your life by making you more successful, attractive, and healthy. Be positive in your approach so your audience can see the benefits of your message.
4. Use humor. The most effective advertisements use humor to make their point. I enjoyed the Chevy commercials that featured the Santa salesman during the holidays and simply HAD to watch them when they came on. When I make things fun or add a dash or humor, my family is much more receptive to my direction than when I drone on and on (as I am inclined to do.) You don't have to be naturally funny - sometimes just lightening up a bit is all you really need to do.
5. Be clear. Don't you hate having to try and figure out what a sign or advertisement is about? Maybe the logo is too small or the layout too cluttered. Maybe it's just too darn confusing, like those perfume commercials are. A simple, clear message that is easy to understand eliminates a lot of frustration and miscommunication.
Today's Small Thing is to plan for effective communication by using one of the above 5 tips.
Instead of simply blurting something out without thinking, take a few minutes to make a plan. Think about your audience, your timing, your tone and your message. Ask God for wisdom and grace....and a sprinkling of humor. Ephesians 4:29 comes to mind.
How can you communicate what you want/need so that your "customer" will buy in? I'd love to hear what this will look like today. And please feel free to share other marketing tips you've observed!
Song of the Day: Say All I Need, OneRepublic