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Communicating the Gaps

Almost a decade ago, I was crafting creative communication for a hospitality brand. Its properties were mainly situated in the western states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. My communications head was a typical Bambaiya, one who was upfront in his dealings. On account of this ‘virtue’, whenever he came up with a new assignment, he’d explain the trickery behind the scheme. His doing so would give me a thorough understanding of what I needed to include and, most importantly, what I needed to omit. He’d candidly explain his requirement: What SHOULD go to press.

Arguably, he is the best communications head I have worked with to date. And few people involved in the businesses of creative communication, I believe, have adopted as candid a posture as Mr Bambai Ka Babu did.

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Deceptively Soothing

Be that as it may, following many experiences of roundabout communications, the belief that spoken words are oftentimes deceptive is reinforced. And this is not because of their sound but the way speakers use their words. Written thoughts, however, create a much better impact and understanding on readers because of their very nature: They tend to stay longer. Speakers may forget their utterances, but writers shan’t because readers won’t let them. The result is friction between speakers and writers in several corporate milieus in general and advertising agencies in particular.

In the advertising world, marketing professionals often like to instruct or brief the creative department verbally. Although it is prevalent in agencies to submit a written brief, which runs into about 25 pages, verbal instructions are inevitable for managers, who might turn hostile to their words later. Marketing pros also frequently use their body language to express some ugly facts and figures about the project. And writers must read between the lines! However, those who write have to be specific while working on their projects. They should need clarity; to arrive at this clarity, they will need to ask questions to the marketing team.

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‘Resting’ Hard on Communication

The question-answer sessions turn unpleasant as marketing pros think they are getting bullied by the creative department. But they forget that the success of any project – small or big – rests upon communication, which needs transparency at least in the minds of the creative department.

The message, therefore, is loud and clear: Marketing managers must not only rave about the products and services in question but also share their negatives with the creative team. Doing so will let their subordinates know what to avoid in their communications. It will also help writers and art directors achieve minimalism, which is the heart and soul of creative communication.

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PS: Jayesh Purohit shares his thoughts based on his experiences and observations. Giant corporations may or may not have resolved what we call the issue of communication gap. Here, Jayesh has narrated what he has seen and felt during his tenure at small and medium-sized companies.

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