In this article about the importance of repetition in communications, I will state the fundamental message – “To effectively communicate, you must repeat your key message dozens, if not hundreds of times” – and then frame that message differently, repeating it throughout the article. Using the same technique as in great public speaking (tell your audience what you plan to say, then say it, then tell them what you said), you can reach your employees and build your brand.
When you’ve sent out an all-staff email or addressed employees a staff meeting, it’s easy to assume that since people read or heard your message, they get it. Sadly, this just isn’t true. At best, we generally remember maybe 20% of what we’re told. And that’s for people who actually hear your message. As with most companies, your workforce changes all the time. New employees haven’t been exposed to your key messaging at all.
What’s your vision for the business? What’s the strategy for achieving that vision? It’s vitally important to boil the answers to both questions down to their essence and state that core message in clear, easy-to-understand language. Then it’s equally important to repeat the message time and time again, in a variety of settings, such as:
- Emails to staff
- Personal blog
- Team meetings
- One-on-one meetings
- Informal conversations
- Other in-house communications venues
No one will remember each key element of your strategy after the first time they hear it. Only by repeated exposure to important messages in a variety of media do employees begin to absorb a message and retain the key points. Effective communications happens as a process, not a one-time event.
Building the brand
If employees find it difficult to retain key messaging, the challenge is greater for consumers. We are all bombarded by media noise every day. So the message your brand sends isn’t always as critical as the frequency with which people experience it. (Keep in mind that no matter how weary you may get at repeating a tagline or brand message, it’s likely that many in your target audience are hearing it for the first time.)
Of course, there’s a fine line between reinforcing your brand message through repetition and turning off the audience you intend to reach. So consider the multiple platforms you have for re-packaging that message:
- Your email signature (and employees’ email signatures)
- Company blog post
- Guest post on an industry-related blog
- Company video embedded on website (and uploaded to YouTube)
- Mentions on your Twitter and Facebook pages
- Free webinars offered to registered subscribers
- SEO and pay-per-click advertising
Brand consistency is just as important as repetition. If you vary the message too much (different wording, different imagery, etc.), you’ll likely confuse your target audience and lose that precious opportunity to make the desired impact.