We have all heard of the “horsemen of the apocalypse” and the overwhelming devastation that they bring!
I recently attended a keynote by Wes Gay, marketing guru and regular contributor to Forbes, in which he painted a fairly scary picture of how our marketing communication looks to the general public. He was suggesting that poor communication in marketing campaigns is equivalent to unleashing the “horsemen of the apocalypse” on our businesses!
To his point, one does not have to look too far to find some massively destructive communication campaigns. Things like:
- Kenneth Cole and their 2011 Twitter message (in the midst of the Arab spring movement); “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.” This message was retracted but there was damage done!
- The Coke fiasco around New Coke and Classic Coke back in the 1980’s. Did these new flavors mean that the old Coke was no good? This market communication fiasco was so monumental, we still talk about it today!
- How United Airlines responded by blaming the victim after social media showed smart phone video footage of a passenger being violently dragged off a flight. The public was stunned by United’s response and their stock price was impacted immediately.
- The Adidas’ tweet after the 2017 Boston Marathon “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” This was probably an innocent mistake and message was retracted quickly but not without brand damage.
- Dove airing a commercial that showed a black women turned white after using a Dove product. If you saw and understood the complete context of the advertisement it was probably fine. However, it was easily taken out of context and Dove was forced to pull the ad.
Wes Gay goes on to say there are four things that may seem innocuous at the time but can prove to be devasting to you and your organization. He calls these the 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication
The 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication
He defines the 4 Horsemen of Marketing Communication as:
I recently attended a keynote from Claire Diaz-Ortiz. Diaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, founder of the non-profit “Hope Runs”, ex-executive at Twitter, voted one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and is known as “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter!”
Besides being articulate, intelligent, and successful in the business world, she has a very compelling personal story that she is able to effectively weave in with the business side of her life.
So, when she defines a system to make you and your business stand out, we should listen!
Her keynote outlined the framework for this system that she uses to help her and her organizations standout in the marketplace.
She calls the system “SHARE.”
Diaz-Ortiz’s framework for how stand out is built around the acronym SHARE. I have briefly summarized the components below.
Thousands of years ago, a Hebrew story was recorded about an ancient building project called the Tower of Babel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel). As the story goes, people on earth at that time came together to build a tower that would “reach to the heavens”. These people all spoke the same language, communication with each other was easy and the project progressed quickly and successfully. However, as the story goes, God saw that the hearts of the people were filled with pride and he was not pleased so he confused their languages so that no one could communicate with another. The project quickly fell apart and the people scattered around the earth.
So, what does this have to do with business and projects in 2014?
Well, there are quite a few parallels and lessons that can be learned! However, the lesson we will focus on here is the need for leaders to be excellent communicators. In today’s world of mega projects, global business and internet connectivity we have a world that offers unprecedented communication and connectivity opportunities. Yet, this also has resulted in unprecedented complexity as we are now dealing with an exponentially increasing speed and volume of communication through an overwhelming number of communication media.