Lost in translation in communication?

by | Jan 19, 2023

Two of the essential characteristics of corporate communications are coherence and consistency. These two factors determine whether and how messages are received in various channels. But how to achieve both, and how to remain understandable and trustworthy?

What is coherence and consistency in communication?

In communication, coherency describes the structural quality of content. Coherency is high if the content works well regarding its logical structure. Consistency, on the other hand, represents the content’s aesthetic and narrative quality. Consistency is increased if the content is perceived as being connected to each other, even in changing channels.

Why are coherency and consistency essential in corporate communications?

For one simple reason: budgets are limited. If the content is not understood by customers or partners or is poorly understood or perceived as not belonging together, measures lose their impact. In short, more budget is needed to achieve comparable effects. Therefore, the most crucial point in communication is to be understandably coherent and thus also trustworthy.

Concentration on the essentials.

When communication doesn’t work in private, we talk about too many things simultaneously. In corporate communication, this is not much different. The problem: People have a limited span of attention. And the length of this attention depends on the environment and its condition. Good communication is aware of this fact. Therefore, it is geared to the needs of the counterpart.

But it’s damn difficult to say only a little and, above all the right thing. Therefore, it is crucial to structure and prioritise messages according to target groups in corporate communications.

An analytical approach: logic and structure in corporate communications.

When there’s a lot to tell – and there almost always is – it helps to categorise content into clearly defined areas. Determine which content needs to be revealed at which time and in which channel. The trick is to put yourself in the shoes of your target groups and understand when they come into contact with which message and where – and what action they should take.

Sometimes it can help if you assign imaginary places to your content. Which part of a story would you tell at the front door, what in the dining room?

Distributing messages via analogue and digital channels is a job for experts.

Visual design systems help to tell information coherently across multiple channels, provided they are used correctly. A straightforward brand story, the brand narrative, helps to spread messages in the form of a network across several channels without losing the thread. In doing so, each channel follows specific conditions regarding text lengths, reading times, reading and viewing behaviour, and expectations of visuals.

Use experts to set up your business communication for various channels so that, in the future, these channels can be used and controlled by you and your employees. In this way, you determine the content yourself.

Last: Get feedback!

No matter where you are with your company’s communications, test your content and stories often and early. Ultimately, you’ll improve your communications when they receive feedback. One of the most expensive mistakes in communications work is sharing content, messages and information too late, investing too much time in something that doesn’t work.

Therefore, talk to your target audience. For example, tell your colleagues or confidants about your stories and ideas and ask for what you understand. It’s almost impossible to perceive oneself as incoherent and inconsistent. Feedback helps to get it right.

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