The Opinions

Topic: Listen intentfully, respond purposefully

Digital makes it easy to listen, simple strategy should make it easy to refine and respond. Brands must stay agile, prepared and show intent to listen to endear themselves to audiences

We often hear that the advent of digital media has made it easier to consume and communicate information about any brand, business, or person. But we also know the digital world has become so cluttered that everyone speaks to everyone.

So how can one stand out? How do we ensure we reach the right set of audiences?

We can do this by listening – an extremely powerful tool.And how do we do this?The most straightforward answer to this will be to go digital. Yes, it is undoubtedly the first choice. However, should it be the only choice?

I believe listening is a culmination of all five sensory organs clubbed with human intellect. It means the rich experiences of human life – from traveling to reading to listening to music to eating multiple cuisines, interacting with different cultures, and much more – everything tells us something and stays with us as we evolve. Using such insights at the right time is real art.

In addition to these insights, knowing who to listen to is also important. Again, relevant audiences play a critical role here. If we tend to speak in English to a person who has never been exposed to the language, our message will end up hitting a wall. Hence, the primary focus should be listening to the relevant audience – customers, their customers, and other stakeholders such as employees, investors, and partners- to know their personality, needs and demands, things/thoughts/aspects they care about, and much more.

Listening helps us understand the ground reality, their pain points, and their user-centric lens to align with their perspective.

Once the insights are gathered from all forms of listening, strategy becomes a cakewalk. However, here are some core tenets of strategy that can act as a guiding rule –

  • Simple to adopt
  • Impactful
  • Measurable
  • Purposeful
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to scale

While the above needs no explanation to know what it signifies, this ‘Simple’ approach is undoubtedly not as simple to execute. However, the strategy starts shaping up with a razor-sharp focus on the end outcome that aligns with both the brand’s objectives + the end user’s expectations.  

Although here’s another important note to bear in mind. If listening can happen from sources beyond digital, so can communication. And hence, it is essential to look around and define the communication mediums + messages accordingly. Because everything from action to even numbers communicate –

On one of my recent work-travel trips, I hired a cab. 

On our way, the driver excitedly screamed, “Madam, see that car going by. It’s from my hometown.”

At first, I wondered what led him to say that, but the next moment I realized. It was surprising to see how the smallest element, a number plate, could make such a personal connection.

It got me thinking. We often look at creating fancy roadmaps, selecting communication mediums (often digital), creating message strategies, and finally, going all out to shoot. But we must remember that communication is about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. And hence, it becomes important to note that even the simplest mode of communication (as simple as a number plate) may result in a more significant impact. 

Purposeful communication is about connecting the right dots for meaningful action, and this can be achieved through mediums as tiny as number plates that we may never think of.

Gulshan Kaur Batra, Ideosphere.