Scale Matters In Marketing: Communication Strategies For Unconventional Business People

An effective communication strategy starts with a clear brand identity, by defining clear boundaries and compromises your brand will not take in the marketplace. Based on that, understanding, whether context, formats, and scale are in line with your business message to prevent a loss of identity.

What business communication is about?

One of the key tenets of content syndication is you take a piece of content, break it down in small parts and spread it around several platforms when you do that you amplify your message. This kind of thinking isn’t only limiting but dangerous for whoever is trying to build a successful marketing strategy.

Primarily an effective communication strategy should start by clear brand identity and look at the following:

  • Context: What kind of behaviors this type of communication and platform incentivizes?
  • Format: What format is available on that platform?
  • And scale: How fast a message can spread on the platform given the context and format?

In this article, I want to highlight some of the thoughts I had hanging in my mind about communication for business.

Let me tell you why.

Clear brand identity? It’s about what you’re not about

Usually, a clear brand identity starts by identifying the core values. And that is fine. But in reality, strong brand identity starts by setting clear boundaries around what you’re not about.

Therefore, make sure to define the compromise your brand is not willing to take in the marketplace and make sure you comprise that in your message and you treasure it as the most valued asset.

For instance, “FourWeekMBA is not about quick business education for the sake of it, it’s about the minimum dose of business education that leads to action, rather than paralysis.”

So from a negative statement, a positive outcome is born.

Preserving your brand identity is the key to an effective communication strategy to prevent your message to get lost.

The message is the context

A message has meaning based on the context it sits. Communication between two people, it’s not the same as a group chat, where more complex social dynamics kick in.

Therefore, when communicating it’s critical to understand the context the message is getting delivered. Because the same message delivered through different context changes the meaning.

The same words spoken within different contexts are not the same message!

If you are at a company retreat and you’re giving a motivational talk to your employees, that might be well received and understood in that context (remember you might be sharing the same company’s culture).

The same speech recorded and shared across social media can be a disastrous endeavor.

Not only the communication will change from one to a few (the boss and its employees) to many (people sharing it on social media) but the message will get out of the context it was thought for, thus changing its whole meaning.

When that happens, things can get messy. That is why it might be better to avoid any sort of communication there, rather than wanting to be “innovative” yet risking a complete disaster.

The format is the message

Another element to take into account is the format. An article can be summarized in a post. But while an article can conceive several ideas a post will communicate a single, clear idea.

That is why taking the same message to spread it across different platforms won’t work. In some cases, a message can be adapted to several formats, but that is not always the case.

For instance, an article can be adjusted and summarized in a LinkedIn post. However, a LinkedIn post to work has to have certain features that make it aligned with the platform dynamics.

For instance, on LinkedIn, a short story might work better to conceive the idea of the article. In short, if you have a short story within the article you want to start from there to amplify the article.

Therefore, the question becomes whether using a format that a platform makes available (on Twitter, for instance, tweets and tweetstorms work well, on Instagram stories go viral, and on TikTok duets spread quickly) is in line with your communication style.

If so, you can adjust the message to fit the format without using its essence. But keep in mind that if the message scales, the more it does the more it might change its original meaning.

Are you ready to take that risk?

A tweetstorm is not a blog post

According to some, the first tweetstorm appeared maybe when venture capitalist Marc Andresseen broke the boundaries of Twitter’s 140 characters a new format on a new platform was born.

While a tweetstorm might seem just like a short-form article, it’s a completely different form of communication and that’s due to the scaling of the message.

When a tweetstorm gets released, the fact that its length is that of a short-form article might trick you to believe it has the same property. Yet they are not the same thing.

A tweetstorm is a one to many, only at the moment, it gets shared. Yet at the moment that spreads that same tweetstorm will become a many to many communication, and the message which once you controlled and it was yours will be adjusted to the scale it reaches.

Thus, if you have expressed an idea which is prone to be understood by a small group of people, are you sure that the tweetstorm is the best place to start? In short, to keep the same property of the message probably a newsletter would do the job way better?

Network effects and scaling

When a message scales it changes its core properties. That implies also a change of meaning on the other side. That is why it’s important to understand how prone is a message to scale, given the context, format, and platform where it gets delivered.

A blog post has a different scaling propensity than a twitter post or a TikTok video. A newsletter, for instance, is usually a one to one communication and remains so up to a certain extent (unless you launch the same message to hundreds of thousands people).

Why does it all matter?

Context, format, and scale influence your communication and based on the message you want to deliver it’s important to know what you’re doing to prevent disasters.

Because while we all want to communicate on the web, and most of us do at amateurish level, it’s also important if you’re building a business, to understand the hidden risk of communication done wrong.

Key takeaways

When communicating you are explaining to people what is your identity, why you exist, what your business is about and this all helps to build your business’ personality, what marketers call a brand.

A brand is valuable as it enables a business to scale beyond the person who created it. In short, people can relate also to an abstract entity, called brand, as soon as they can perceive this abstract entity has human-like features.

This demands your communication flow to be in line with what you want to conceive. The era of digital platforms seems to demand brand to be there just for the presence’s sake (everyone is there so I must be too).

That makes small brands, but also larger ones to fall into the trap of losing their message just because they adapt, without too much thinking at the format the platform offers.

We saw in this article, how context (what kind of behaviors the platform incentivizes?), format (what format is available on that platform?) and scale (how fast a message can spread on the platform?) can change the meaning of your message altogether.

This brings a loss in translation which can translate in loss of brand equity. Therefore, before committing for all the platforms out there ask yourself:

  • Is this platform in line with my brand identity?
  • Is there a format available on the platform which will enable us to preserve the meaning of the message?
  • How prone is the message to scale? And if it does would it lose its original meaning?

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