What That Crazy Viral Dress Can Teach Us About Messaging
If you had internet access last Thursday and Friday, chances are you were subjected to what I’m now referring to as Dressgate 2015. What a weird, confusing few hours, right?
The bodycon dress pictured above became a viral sensation as people debated whether the colors were black and blue or white and gold. Houses divided as brother turned against brother, each claiming the other had to get his eyes checked. Seriously, was nothing else going on in the world? Anyway, this viral visual exercise taught us a few things:
- The dress is blue.
- We interpret colors differently.
Different people pick up on different visual cues in the photograph, which can change how they interpret and name the colors of the dress. That’s science, but it’s proven difficult for a lot of people to accept. Because how on earth could one piece of information be perceived so differently from one person to another?! It was easier for me to accept because I work in branding which has a lot to do with understanding perception — especially when it comes to messaging. So what can we learn from Dressgate 2015 about messaging?
When crafting a message, you have to assume that everyone is going to take something different away from it. Some people are only going to hear the price. Some just want your website so they can learn more about you later. And some only notice the production values of the commercial and don’t hear a single thing you’re saying. So part of your job as a savvy business-owner is to be thoughtful in how you manage your messaging. Try this: If you’re creating a marketing campaign with a heavy focus on the awards you’ve won, ask yourself if the average consumer is going to equate that something that is going to make their life better. Are they even going to care? Will they even hear it?
Advertising hinges on perception. It’s based on how a consumer’s brain processes information and filters out the noise. So in order to actually reach someone, you can’t sound like noise. If you’ve done your homework, you’ve already identified your audience and profiled their demographics and psychographics. Break these people into segments and create a Messaging Matrix. This is a grid of your audience segments, what they think, what you want them to think, and how you’re going to change the conversation. It’s a simple chart that breaks everything down into simple, easy-to-understand verbiage with action items.
The point is to cover your bases in reaching the right people with information they won’t gloss over. You want people to see and perceive the best of you.