Marketing & Communication For Small Business Part 8: Developing Synergy
Synergy…The Key To Looking & Communicating Like A Professional Business
In the world of communications, there are two prime determining factors in the ultimate success your company will have. These elements are called 'reach' and 'frequency'.
Reach is a strategic term that means you have devised a communication strategy that has identified your primary target audience as well as any secondary audiences you need to reach with your communications. For example, if you are selling a consumer product that is being distributed through retail channels, you need to be talking to both your customer and your distributor or retailers.
Frequency, is really a media term that defines 2 different things. First of all, the amount of communication you are doing in terms of insertions or exposures or whatever, as well as the number of different media you are using to achieve the desired overall effective reach of your message(s).
Frequency has taken on much more importance these days as the number of media options you have at your disposal has increased dramatically from the pre-Internet days.
Synergy Is The Glue That Binds Reach and Frequency Together.
Sandwiched in between the reach and frequency components of any communications program, large or small, is the concept of synergy. In a nutshell, synergy means that the look, feel, main message and brand character of all your communications are in tune with each other and, of course, relevant to the target audience.
It's impossible to overstate the importance of this synergy, because the lack of it will invariably cause your messaging to be fragmented and severely diminish the perceptual build that a synergistic or consistent approach provides.
If you apply the 80/20 Rule here, a lack of synergy in communications, puts you squarely in the 80% of businesses that suffer from this malaise. This, in turn makes your communications, and consequently your company, look bush league. In many cases this can be the difference between a prospect agreeing to do business with you, and one who simply passes. Of course, you'll never know about all the passes, because, realistically, nobody’s going to tell you.
The Main Causes Of Lack Of Synergy
Most small businesses lack the communications expertise to appreciate the importance of synergy in their brand development. And when you don't really understand its importance, you are likely to fall into a trap that I call "Vertical Disintegration Syndrome".
VDS simply means that instead of hiring an individual or team that can create an entire brand identity for your company, and ensure the synergy required to build it successfully, you hire: • a low priced graphic designer or web-based design service to get your logo done • rely on creative people at radio stations, newspapers web sites etc to create your advertising • hire a web programmer who also calls himself a designer to create your web site • use some online blogging service over on the other side of the world to handle your content management etc.
The 'Disintegration' part comes from 2 simple fact. 1. These people are generally not experienced in broad based marketing or advertising and 2. None of these people are talking to each other and the business owner does not have the creative skills to juggle all these balls successfully.
The end result is what's known in the communications business as a 'dog's breakfast.' meaning that there is anywhere from a miniscule amount to absolutely no synergy in the communications program elements. And consequently no real reason to assume that the program is worth even a small fraction of what was spent to build it.
How To Avoid 'Vertical Disintegration Syndrome'.
Besides having a realistic idea of what to budget for your branding (or re-branding) development, knowing the kinds of suppliers you need to work with is the key. There is a chapter entitled ‘Finding Good Help’ in my ebook, Small Business Communications For The Real World, which you can download free at http://tinyurl.com/nqlgtu3. This will explain the options you have when it comes to finding the help you need and even provides with you a question guide to use when screening potential suppliers.
But the underlying principle at work here is attitude. Many people start and grow their business on passion and salesmanship. When they get to the point where they have to start creating things like communications programs, they find it very hard to let go of the hands-on controls. This is why it's important not just to find an individual or team who can creatively help you achieve the communications synergy you need to have in order to move forward, but also to be able to trust that their passion for your business is at a level that makes you feel comfortable and confident.
The communications industry is a funny one. It has,
unfortunately, more than its share of people who call themselves communicators
but really don’t get it. This is part of the reason I created my ebook in the
first place – to help businesses of all kinds with some basic communications
information that will help them make informed choices and decisions going
Other Posts In This Series
Jim Murray is a writer, art director, marketer, editorialist. reader, sports fan and TV watcher. He has been actively posting on social media since 1998. Jim is also a former ad agency writer and art director & ran his own creative consultancy, Onwords & Upwords, from 1989 until recently when he closed it and opened a freelance enterprise called Murmarketing. He lives with his wife, Heather on the Niagara Peninsula works with a small group of companies working to make a positive difference in the world.
Jim’s Current Blogs Include:
The Couch Potato Chronicles (Entertainment Opinion & Reviews (Book, TV, Movies, Sports, Web) • Brand New Day (Environmentally Conscious Products, Services & Processes) • Skinny Dipping In The Lava Flow (Social Commentary)• Murmarketing (Communications Advice)
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