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Lip service: closing the gap between what you say and what you do

Lip service: closing the gap between what you say and what you do | MCI | Global engagement & marketing agency

November, 22 2021

Can you say that you have always trusted what brands or organisations say? It feels as though some of the first interactions with our audiences are based around building familiarity and, more importantly, trust. Digital media allows us to stay in touch with just about anybody, and while that brings heaps of benefits, it also means you must always walk the walk. Not just talk the talk.

We’re discussing ways you can begin closing the gap between what you say and what you do.

Be wise with words

Words have power – and lots of it. But there is a problem we have seen recently with companies trying to compete with one another, and that’s buzzwords. Certain words can grab your attention and hold it there. But use them wisely. 

When your audience read your communications, words like “next-gen” or “innovation” are always going to stand out. But are they true by definition?

Innovate: make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

Always ask yourself why you’re using the words you are. Is it to grab attention? Is it to sound at the cutting edge of your industry? Or is it because you can really back up what you’re saying? 

True, these questions can be rather confronting, but staying true to your current capabilities pays off in the long run. 

Safely shout sustainability

Sustainability. It’s a word that means more now than ever before. 

Brands, organisations (anybody, in fact) who operate in a more sustainable way can reap the benefits of talking about it and align themselves with an issue which most people greatly care for. 

With that being said, the word sustainability can be a slippery one. The problem companies tend to have with it is that sometimes they can be caught out somewhere along the chain, where perhaps some practices aren’t as eco-friendly or humane as they initially appeared.

No need to worry though. This consideration mainly requires you to check right down the chain to ensure your operation is as sustainable as it can be. It’s an incredible claim to make, providing it holds true. 

Probe partners

This section follows on from the previous one.

Working with partners can greatly raise your audience and profile. However, by creating that partnership, your accountability essentially doubles. You no longer have to answer for your own values and practices, but also have to account for your partners’.

Of course, this is by means a suggestion that you must be solely responsible for your partners. But it’s always worth researching further into them at the start, rather than dealing with an unexpected issue halfway into the relationship.

Ultimately, if you have a set of values that are shared between you and your audience, then your partners should share them with you. 

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Keep comms contemporary 

One of the key starting points in any communication is this: wherever your audience are, go to them. If you are not approaching your intended audience in the ways they are used to, then they will always stay “intended audience”.

Often, messages can run parallel to the audience they are intended for.

Is this because they are in the wrong place?

Are the modes of communication correct?

Would a social campaign work harder than a direct email campaign? 

The starting point of any effective communication is the strategy that drives it. So, no matter who the intended audience is, if you are not asking these questions then you can never place too much faith in your messaging getting to them. Particularly if you are not in the same space as them.

Internal vs. external

Do you champion the same values internally as well as externally? For many reasons, it’s vital your value messaging is mirrored within your own workforce, the most important one being that you practise what you preach.

One consideration is assessing how your work environment will operate in the post-Covid era. As we know, certain attitudes towards work environment and its practices have shifted somewhat, particularly after a lengthy period working remotely. Of course, these situations can never be remedied with a one-size-fits-all approach, but taking your employees’ needs into consideration for your workplace model can make an enormous difference to them.

Compete but commit

Everybody has competitors. It’s to be expected in business. But people can often try to adapt to what their competitors are doing. It feels like the natural response, yes? Well, it is. Partly.

However, the problem with doing this is that you are not your competitor. Sometimes, in the pursuit of keeping up with others, you can risk betraying your values or practices.

Your core values, your brand, your ethos. They’re all important. Of course, you can mould and adapt, but your audiences’ perception of you will also shift. So, when you begin to move in a new direction, it’s always wise to ask yourself:

is this who we are?

For more insights into how you can garner trust and step up your rates of engagement - get in touch.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Furborough

Charles Furborough
Charles Furborough

Creative Copywriter

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