Communication: then, now and back to then.

on Friday, July 31, 2009

The story starts many, many years ago when the first caveman invented the wheel. Let's call him Bob. So, one day Bob was carving his stone and suddenly he had an amazing idea, why not create a round object? Once he had created the round object he tested it, made sure it did what he wanted and then went and told his neighbour. Soon word spread of Bob's invention and everybody was using it, one to one interaction had communicated the message. Essentially advertising was born.

Skip forward a few years (well more than a few) and along comes Henry Ford. His way of reaching the masses is to use mass advertising, send one message out to everyone. Famously he said "you can have any colour as long as it's black." This was the same approach he took to communication, everyone got the same message, some took notice and responded whilst a lot didn't therefore a lot of waste.

Let’s skip again, this time to the present. Mass marketing has died, marketers have learnt to segment their audiences, select which communication portal they wish to use etc. However again, it doesn't please everyone; a lot of time is wasted. Suddenly, digital arrives on the scene. We can now contact people specifically and individually through emails, through social media and through digital word of mouth (online reviews, recommendations from peers etc.)

So from looking at this what does it show? It shows communication has took a big round circle and we are back to where we started, having the ability to talk to people on a one to one basis, as humans. As advertisers we have to seize this opportunity by creating a dialogue with people, and being transparent. I love companies who are using twitter to solve customer service problems, to interact with their customers and above all make the customers feel valued. This is the future (and the past I guess). People are more likely to engage with a brand through another human being, not through TV ads, pieces of paper or flashy logo’s. It’s time for companies to go back to the basic way of communicating, one to one. Well done Bob.