Growing up, my mom had to constantly remind me to do the things she needed me to do.

After the fifth or so reminder, I’d reluctantly get up and put my clothes in the hamper (or complete whichever menial task she’d requested of me). On my way back to couch potato land, I’d let her know how much of a nag she was under my breath.

She’d almost always counter (correctly) with the same argument: “Well, if you did it the first time I asked, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself.”

And so it goes with the messages sent from organizations to consumers on a daily basis. If you want to stand out amid the clutter, you have to be consistent.

We’re in a world overloaded with information.

As soon as a message goes in one ear, 20,000 more are jamming it through to the other end with little chance of absorption. Consistent messaging is the only shot we’ve got at someone remember what it is we have to say.

Remember, you’re competing with millions of Tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts, television commercials, radio ads, text messages, labels on tubes of toothpaste, billboards, street vendors, to-do lists, books, magazines, and ADD for the attention and retention of your audience. The “set it and forget it” approach does not work in our crowded media environment.

We can’t assume because we’ve said it once they’ve heard it.

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Image: jonathunder

“I wrote a blog post on that subject two years ago, I’m not going to cover it again.”
How many times have you thought this to yourself or heard someone else use it to justify their way out of creating content?

Here’s the truth: Your audience doesn’t remember what you wrote two years ago. They probably don’t remember what you wrote two months ago. And even if they did, what’s the harm in reminding them of your viewpoint?

We’ve got to be part of the conversation – every day. We’ve got to make our voice heard – every day. The logic of waiting to post content only “until I have something truly unique” to say paves the way for a lot of silence.

That doesn’t mean we always have to repeat ourselves over and over again.

The old sales adage goes something like this: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you’ve told them. Differentiate your approach, give more context and vary the storytelling surrounding your message, but stay on point in order to resonate.

A recent study printed in Harvard Business Review shows how this plays out in the real world by examining the effect of redundancy in communications between bosses and employees:

“The researchers discovered that one of every seven communications by the managers was completely redundant with a previous communication using a different technology. They also saw that the managers who were deliberately redundant moved their projects forward faster and more smoothly.”

Think about it: people were literally being paid to listen to these managers, and the managers still had to repeat themselves.

Imagine what it must take when a consumer doesn’t have to pay you anything, let alone their undivided attention.

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About Andrew Hanelly

Andrew Hanelly

Andrew is SVP, Strategy for McMurry/TMG and for one semester in college, was a sociology major. He writes at Brain on Digital, as @hanelly on Twitter and here on Google+.

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