Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Are you talking my language?

The need to use the right communication method to keep in touch with your audience was never better exemplified than in yesterday’s parliamentary wash-up process for the Digital Economy Bill which enticed very few MPs to engage in debate on the subject in the Commons; juxtapositioned against the tirade of simultaneous Twitter debate at #debill from the outraged constituents of those MPs who will be looking for their votes at the general election in just over 4 weeks time.

Here’s another example of an organisation failing to hit the mark with the right communication method for the subject matter. A couple of weeks ago there was a landmark judgement on a case in my industry (digital marketing) and a big player was involved (Google). The law has always struggled to keep pace with technology, and so we love legal developments which do affect us and this was news we’d all been waiting for. Twitter alerted me to the result of the case. I used Twitter to convey the information I had received myself about the judgement, and to find out the information which everybody else had. I had a blog up and running for my company on the subject just after lunch time and, fair dues, several law firms, legal and industry bloggers achieved the same.

On the day, Twitter was invaluable for exchanging information and more importantly current thinking attaching to the issues which were raised in the case. Given the case related to the digital marketing industry, the real time communication was all the more appropriate.

Two days later, I received an e-mail from a law firm with the heading “Breaking News”. “How exciting” I thought “What a busy week this is turning out to be for new legal developments...

 Oh the disappointment! The e-mail contained a briefing of the judgement from 2 days prior. It contained no insight or new angles on the case, and was clearly not in touch with the comments about this judgement case which were circulating on Twitter, the blogosphere and the industry generally.

In my view this was not breaking news. Technically, it was not even yesterday’s news. It would have been hard-pressed to be that day’s fish and chips paper.

Law firms, take note! and engage more actively with your target audience, use the tools which we use to communicate your message and you’ll have our attention. We may even talk back to you. It could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

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