The axiom says perception is reality, and it may be the key to the creation of resonating messages.
As if to taunt and tease marketers and communicators, something more than the tangibles often impacts the interpretation of what one sees or hears.
Consider how varied multiple firsthand descriptions of the same event can be. Or the predictable discrepancies in eyewitness testimony. Or the differences in what individuals interpret as beauty.
We experience it every day. An individual’s idea of the way things are overrides everything material or evident.
The challenge for anyone wishing to connect, market, motivate, or The Principles to Creating Resonating Messagesotherwise communicate resonating messages is to find a way for perception and message to align.
There’s another quip that applies here—easier said than done. Countless experiences go into shaping and reshaping the way one perceives and interprets input.
Yet, successful communicators creating resonating messages find a way to achieve this alignment. Their project or cause is the one adopted. And their product or service is the one that sells.
Three Steps to Creating Resonating Messages
What is the secret to this alignment—to a message that resonates and prompts the desired action? Here are three principals:
- Speak the language of your audience. When President John F. Kennedy said “Ich bin ein Berliner” he was doing more than demonstrating language skills. He was saying “we share the same hopes and dreams.” Communicators need not be multi-lingual, however. It means know what your audience cares about. Know the subject of their conversations. Know what keeps them up at night.
- Build experiential connections. We should stipulate as to the need for and value of facts, figures, and metrics. That said, messaging that rests solely on data points and analytics misses the fact that a shared experience is where message and perception can align for resonating messages. This is why storytelling resonates. It allows the target audience to interpret in the context of understood experiences.
- Start with “Why.” In his book by the same title (“Why”), Simon Sinek states the scientific case for shifting the focus of communication from what we do to why we do it. “Why” connects with shared values and experiences. One example cited by Sinek: Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous proclamation of why—“I have a dream.”
Nothing creates resonating messages as profoundly as a connection based on shared experience. Communication built in this context bridges the gap between what is black and white to some and shades of gray to others.
A focus here is a giant step toward a message that aligns with the perceptions of your target. And this alignment is the difference between adding noise and clutter that breed indifference in your target audience and creating resonating messages which move a target to act.
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