Opinion

Communication Buckets


I’ve got four buckets in my garden. Five if you count the plastic flexitub we were using to mix cement recently. The link between our plastic buckets and use of social media is elegantly simple, as I’m sure that you’ll agree…

There’s the black one without a handle; the grey one with the tiny split in the bottom that we can’t ever seem to see; an orange one with a hole in the side and a green one which is brand new – therefore without any splits or holes etc. It’s a working bucket.

But, saying that is a little unfair to the other buckets – all of which fulfil some kind of useful function. The black one is brilliant for carrying ash from the fire outside, and the orange one is ideal for carrying wood inside. The grey one can either carry wood or hold enough water to allow us to wash the little car. It does, however, allow fire ash through somewhat better than water it can’t be used for that purpose.

So we’ve got these four buckets, three of which are flawed in some way. Or are they? It isn’t until you try to use them to carry water (after all what most buckets are designed for) that the flaws really matter. The hole in the orange bucket won’t let a fire log fall through, and it’s safer to carry a bucket of ash by the lip than the handle just in case the handle breaks and it all goes everywhere.

Flawed they might be, but they’re suited to their individual new applications. Their usefulness as tools is technically undiminished although technically limited.

You’re probably wondering why I’m talking about buckets on a blog devoted to marketing/design/creativity. Simple, really.

The buckets, while real, physical objects, are metaphors for the plethora of communications tools that are available. Social networks, blogs, traditional ad media etc – there are more channels now than ever before.

But none of them are quite ‘right’ and none of them have the answer to every need – however many of them have their own quirks which mean that you need to tailor your creative input to that channel to get the most success from it. It’s therefore what you put in them that matters. Sadly I think some advertisers and marketeers are forgetting this.

Whatever channel is being used, the communication content has to be right. It needs to have a good idea, a great execution and fit the medium perfectly. It needs to be creative and appropriate. Just having a Facebook group for the campaign doesn’t mean it will hit the required youth demographic. If it’s a good group that rewards the people joining, then maybe there’s a chance.

So long as the right communication bucket is used with the right creative content, all will be well. Otherwise there’s going to be some very real metaphorical cleaning up to be done…

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