Messaging in the Era of Modular Information

By, Stephen Andrews, Vice President, Fusion PR (@stevebandrews)

It’s a curse, I see messaging everywhere and I simply cannot resist turning it over and over in my mind, looking for inconsistencies, for ways to improve and tighten and most importantly to see if the increasingly fragmented bits of scattered message can survive the reassembly from so many various sources.

One of the game-changes the proliferation of citizen journalism and social media has wrought upon the messaging of any organization is the shear mass of information sources, each of which may have a fragmentary part of your messaging. While this may seem like, and is, a target-rich environment for messages, it presents a unique challenge to companies and communicators alike.

There is nothing new in an ever-expanding set of media targets, nothing new in audience fragmentation; the challenge lies in your stakeholders accessing multiple-message fragments from multiple sources. Why is this a challenge for communicators?

Great question, I’m glad you asked.

For the first time our messages must not only survive fragmentation and narrow-casting, but they must also survive the ultimate reassembly by customers, partners, investors and other stakeholders. People read and view multiple sources of information on your organization then aggregate that information from all those disparate sources and take the whole, reassembled product, as your message. Like it or not, accurate or not.

In the cloud and beyond, information must become modular. It must be deconstructable, and able to survive a reassembly process and communicating the original intended message (s). This is a process I refer to as, Modular Information Flow Dynamics or (MIFD) and is the new information reality for business and organizations.

The MIFD ecosystem means messaging is more crucial than ever and must truly be the foundation upon which all organizational communications are built. Messages must be modular, they must have pre-intended break-up points, or ways where communicators make it easy to carve the whole into bite-sized and byte-sized pieces, all with the ultimate understanding that these pieces or modules will then be reassembled from disparate sources by stakeholders and the organization be judged not based on the finely tuned and crafted message document but, instead upon this mash-up of information modules.

But don’t take my word for it, try it, test it with your own messaging. Have a few colleagues search out information on your company. Assign each person a particular target or sector, such as blogs, social media sites, online media, traditional media, etc, and allow each person to only get information from their assigned source. Take the information gathered and put all back together and see just how far the reassembled product has strayed from your original messaging. I think you will be surprised at the results and gap in what you ultimately receive compared to what your messaging actually is.

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