The Opinions

The Consequence of Message Timing

‘The diffusion of good content’ graph (for enterprises, good = business impacting) follows a similar curve to its older sister graph – the diffusion of innovation. When OpenAI (in production for over a decade) released ChatGPT, it took the first-generation internet gatekeepers by storm. Many sleepless nights later, the verdict was unanimous – the phenomenon was here to stay. Future generations may wonder how we survived before Generative Pre-trained Transformers came into our lives and lifted us from the dark ages when we had to do stuff manually. You cannot spend 15 seconds on your timeline without thousands of self-proclaimed AI prompt experts who want to make you believe that without AI, you are falling back in your career, not being a good parent and are about to get replaced by everything—much yawn. 

Timeline of Diffusion of Content Model:

Every day, consumers demand more, and brands are presented with opportunities to deliver. The exaggerated and hyperbolic timeline suggested in the content graph is designed to help readers of multiple generations reach orientation faster. 

Think of any recent digital content trend that every brand jumped onto. Still, from the PoV of the consumer –  The Zomato Blinkit hoardings (cringe), we envisioned the future of our industry with Dall-E (every picture looked like Skynet had taken over) or looked at our cute avatars in our metaverse (glitchy). Now, chart your journey from the first sighting to when you wish you could erase them all and not see one more post about it – content relevance is a cruel mistress—brand managers who are accustomed to the challenge of getting the content timeline right – iykyk.

The 3-Pinch Content Model:

I make an assumption we all have used maps on our phones. It takes us three ‘pinches’ to get our bearings right – door address > street > locality. With each pinch on your screen, the complexity of information increases, but you get more information, direction and context. 

In the era of fast-moving digital timelines, the format of storytelling can make all the difference. The content equivalent of the 3-Pinch Model works similarly – tell the story in 3 words, 3 paragraphs or 3 pages. Let’s see how:

3 Words:
Be the first to tell it immediately – worry about the consequences later. The limited word filter is all about the urgency of the moment. Did you see Apple’s new store facade in Saket, Delhi? Are we rewriting history? The magnitude of the milestone should match the frugality of the message. 

3 Sentences:
Give more context. Early customer communication, reporting of news that goes beyond the obvious, and a chance to add meaning to the dialogue are apparent benefits. A bit of planning, brainstorming, and original design go a long way toward creating dialogue and context with your audience, irrespective of the adoption curve. 

3 Pages:
Not literally content over 3 pages—the idea here is to use the longer format to its full force. The extended format content manifestation possibilities are the best for a well-worded CEO blog or a full-length feature with an influencer. However, with today’s decreasing attention spans and higher mobility ranking, long format need not be a one-time exercise but the continuation of a deep-rooted brand thought.

So, how do we solve this content conundrum? 

By viewing Content as a Parallel Product, your company is building. A hyper-inflated content economy can be toxic to brand value very quickly. Keeping pace with a generic audience is easy, but not with the demanding customer. Brands that help the audience view the product’s promise in the shortest time possible will win. But before that happens, only those brands that make the audience find relevance easily will even get a chance to tell the product story.

Shoebahmed Shaikh, Ideosphere.