Communication between human beings has existed for thousands of years, always functioning to notify, inspire, establish authority and allow for emotive expression. Accordingly, as humankind has progressed throughout history, our channels of communication have transformed at a commensurate pace. What began as smoke signals is now a boundless assortment of methods to convey our messages to others.
Smoke signals developed into primitive art with cave paintings, drums and storytelling before the invention of the printed word. Handwritten books followed, as people viewed the act of scribing as spiritual worship. Consequently, the printing press mass-produced books, allowing a greater number of people the opportunity to become literate.
Communication advanced in epic proportions from this period of time: from the invention of the printing press to letter writing and the postal system, enhancing our means to reach a greater geographical range unheard of by 1775. Technology expanded into the telegraph, quicker and more efficient than mailed letters – and then to the telephone, which was communication in real time. By the 19th and 20th centuries, the advent of photography, radio and television impacted our world with various forms of entertainment and art that we had yet to experience. Currently, the internet – and specifically social media – has exploded our sense of communication, momentously influencing our personal and professional relationships.
Humankind will continue to develop communication; it’s crucial for our survival. The new renaissance of communication technology will persist in expanding our future and the way we connect and relate to each other.
CONNECTING … with Pinpoint Relevance
Communication is also essential for cultivating a sense of social interconnection. From a marketing standpoint, it is crucial for us truly to understand our audiences. Whom do we want to reach? What do their lifestyles look like? We need to take into account everything from their jobs, to what they eat for dinner. With this understanding we must create messaging that relates specifically to our audiences.
The unadulterated fact is that the quantity of touch points in connecting with consumers has exploded. Our audiences are flooded with communication in every tiny corner of their lives on a 24-hour basis. Therefore, our messages need to be pin-sharp and they need to resonate. The more relevant we can make our offerings to a more applicable target market during the moment that they are most engaged, the better success we will see in our efforts.
CULTURE … Consequences of Nonstop Communication
In today’s world, the effortless access to communication technology impacts what we view as normative and affects our cultural landscape. Instead of only meeting in a physical location to share ideas or offer information, we are using smartphones or computers to check on what’s happening in the world around us. Conceptually, we would think that this is driving us to feel isolated and disconnected, yet it is the opposite. Online communication is cultivating a sense of connectedness, especially for younger generations.
But what are the consequences? Has the culture of communication changed from a solid ring of smoke into a dissipating wisp rising higher into a vast skyline? Or is it heating up our environment in new ways, making it easier to connect, understand each other better and form meaningful relationships with people who are culturally distant – and/or in some cases – different? Is it causing a chasm or offering a platform to celebrate commonalities and interests? The answer begins and ends with our ultimate approach. In order to employ effectively the future of communication, we must start thinking about it through the goals we have in mind.
The net-net is that our messages and marketing communications must embody meaningfulness, become more verbal, visual and visceral in order to bring value to the global marketplace and its broader conversation.