I’m a firm believer that all marketing is communications and all communications is marketing. As a professional with years of experience in these areas, it’s hard to admit that there might be something more important than a strategic marketing and communication strategy. But there is.

And what is this one thing?

The decisions you make that lead to the actions you take.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “What you DO speaks so loudly I can’t HEAR what you’re saying.”

No organization can outlast a constant barrage of dumb decisions. No matter how hip your logo is or how consistent your branding is, you can’t “out-communicate” what people see you actually doing.

  • You say you value diversity, but your leadership is homogeneous.
  • You say something is a priority, but it doesn’t get funded, you never hear about it and you don’t see any changes.
  • Your tagline says you’re creative, but you don’t take any risks and fail to try anything new.
  • Your slogan says you “value relationships” but you have an automated phone tree that makes it virtually impossible to talk to a real person.
  • You make a big splash about a “new strategy” or mission, but in practice, it’s business as usual.

Your brand is the combination of the decisions you make and the actions you take COMBINED with your chosen “look and feel” along with the stories you tell about your organization. Marketing encompasses everything that leaves an impression on your audience.

What you desire is alignment between what you do and what you say. “Authentic” communication happens when these two activities align. It’s not forced, it’s not contrived, it’s natural. It’s believable because it’s true.

Do you want to improve your marketing? Make better decisions on the front-end, so your communications team has something “real” to say on the back-end.

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