Continuing with our review of the Arthur W. Page Society’s paper, “The CEO View: The Impact of Communications on Corporate Character in a 24×7 Digital World,” today we turn to the notion that, in today’s world, there is only one message.
First, a bit of background. Communicators have traditionally crafted targeted messages designed to resonate with specific audience segments. While the primary theme remains consistent across all messages, slightly different angles might be taken when reaching out to diverse audiences such as consumers, investors, regulators, and so forth.
The CEOs interviewed in the society’s report now believe that “tailoring highly segmented messages for different stakeholders is not an option.” The rationale? That everyone has perfect knowledge, hearing and seeing everything at the same time.
Clearly, communications are much more transparent to all of the publics an organization wishes to reach. Sure, tweeting about a new initiative, for example, will reach many people simultaneously. Yet it is important to recognize that the posting of a news release on a company web site also was visible to all. This does not mean that every target group should get the exact same product in the exact same packaging. Not everyone pays attention to the same channel.
I find it hard to believe that these CEOs would deliver the exact same set of remarks to shareholders as to local officials in a town where they plan to build a new facility. Or that they would work from the very same script when welcoming new workers as they would when testifying before members of Congress.
Using common sense, it is clear that message segmentation is not dead, as they would lead one to believe. True, audiences do tend to overlap moreso than in the past. Nonetheless, a distinct need remains to slice and dice messages depending on who you are trying to reach.
What say you about the wisdom of segmented messages? Still valuable or passé?