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Playing The Communication Game

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There are numerous articles out there on communication and how to communicate effectively – whether that’s you, or your products and services. What I’m going to do here is give you a whistle-stop tour …

There are numerous articles out there on communication and how to communicate effectively – whether that’s you, or your products and services. What I’m going to do here is give you a whistle-stop tour of some theories and guiding principles behind what factors influence communication. If you know what to look for, then you can start to understand how you can respond better. The idea being that good communication means knowing when, where, and how to play good-natured ‘games’.


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  • 1. PLAYINGTHE COMMUNICATION GAME 090 // OCT 2013 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM AESTROAESTROOOSTROSTROAESAES OOSS RRTSTEEAA OORORORORORRTRTRTRTRSTSTSTSTESESESESESESAEAEAEAEAAAAAAAA STROSTRORROOAA OOAESAEAESTROAESTRORROOAA There are numerous articles out there on communication and how to communicate effectively – whether that’s you, or your products and services. What i’m going to do here is give you a whistle-stop tour of some theories and guiding principles behind what factors influence communication. If you know what to look for, then you can start to understand how you can respond better. The idea being that good communication means knowing when, where, and how to play good-natured ‘games’. JONATHAN(BILAL)A.J.WILSON SENIORLECTURER&COURSELEADER, UNIVERSITYOFGREENWICH,LONDONUK EDITOR:JOURNALOFISLAMICMARKETING, EMERALDGROUPPUBLISHING.
  • 2. segmenting and targeting audiences; service quality delivery; social network analysis; advertising, public relations, sponsorship, and branding; product design and aesthetics; and personality tests at job interview: are just a few of the areas where marketers are looking to the ‘ologies’ [anthropology, psychology, and sociology] for insight and to steal an competitive edge. In this article I am going to focus on the theatre of communication, offering some building blocks and principles behind what could be developed eventually into a form of game theory - which embraces the playfulness and dynamic emotions that COMMUNITYAND SOCIETY BUILD OURWORLDVIEW Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are German words, used in sociology to categorise social ties: [community] – This is an ascribed status; comprising of a fundamental shared set of values, beliefs, norms, customs, rituals, kinship, behaviours and artefacts that individuals possess, and which binds them to one another – from the sacred to the profane, and through to the mundane. The bonds of Gemeinschaft represent a community of fate, where both good and bad fortune are shared. [society] – This is an achieved status built on secondary weaker relationships, where larger associations never take precedence over an individual’s rational self-interest. Globalization, business, organisations, employment, and citizenship are examples of these societal relations. In practice, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft work together, forming a blended reality, which changes according to time and context. Both are open to abuse: and over-engineering, or the creation risk of eroding either category, or swinging the pendulum the other way. KNOWLEDGE OF SELF LINKED TO OTHERS Psychologists have attempted to describe our personalities by grouping them into acronym OCEAN.This means assessing whether or not we possess qualities of: Openness – intellectual curiosity, creativity, imaginativeness, independence, a preference for novelty and variety, open to change and new experiences Conscientiousness – self-discipline, dependability, thoughtfulness, ability to control impulses, and manage expectations – assertiveness, energy, emotional optimism, sociability, leadership tendencies, dependency on others and a breadth of experiences and stimulation – compassion, cooperativeness, harmony seeking, and trusting Neuroticism – emotional instability, anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability Not possessing any of these qualities points to an individual exhibiting an opposite trait. So for example, introversion is the opposite of extraversion, and may mean that someone prefers to spend time alone, needs less stimulation from his or her social world, or is shy. Equally, in a certain setting, introversion could be temporary and as a result of neuroticism. The key lies in identifying what is the most common tendency of an individual within a given community or society. traits, if we accept that we behave differently from time to time: how does our communication change? at structural analysis, people are seen to change and shift between patterns of behaviour, states of mind, and psychic attitudes – known as ego states.These can be reduced to three main categories, which any of us have the ability to enact: Parent – those traits that resemble either nurturing or critical Adult – a neutral and objective appraisal of reality Child – still-active archaic relics, which from natural free, rebellious creativity; to adapted, conforming and submissive. These states are dynamic and become THE-MARKETEERS.COM // OCT 2013 // 091
  • 3. 092 // OCT 2013 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM AESTROAESTROOOSTROSTROAESAES OOSS RRTSTEEAA OORORORORORRTRTRTRTRSTSTSTSTESESESESESESAEAEAEAEAAAAAAAA STROSTRORROOAA OOAESAEAESTROAESTRORROOAA apparent when two or more people communicate.There are two levels of communication: the social level, and on the psychological level.And this explains for example how an adult can behave like a child.Within one conversation, it is possible that someone can switch between states. Communicating is seen as being engaged in a form of reciprocal transaction and for communication to continue, it needs to be complementary, and there needs to be a stimulus. Now think about how you would classify the following pieces of communication and advertising slogans: “Sprite – Obey your thirst” [Parent] “Apple –Think different” [Parent] “Adidas – Impossible is nothing” [Parent] “Carlsberg, probably the best beer in the world” [Adult] “HSBC –The world’s local bank” [Adult] “Nokia – Connecting People” [Adult] “Audi -Vorsprung durch technic” [Adult] “Nike – Just Do it” [Free Child or Parent] “L’Oréal, because you’re worth it” [Free Child or Parent] “L’Oréal, because I’m worth it” [Free Child] “Virgin Airlines -Your Airline’s Either Got It, Or It Hasn’t” [Free Child] “Virgin Airlines – Hello gorgeous” [Free Child] Each slogan conveys a certain personality with its message, but it’s also important to remember that depending on who conveys the message, the context, and the style, then the path of the transaction can change. Some of the most iconic brands have used paradoxes, and humour to create a unique and compelling message – especially when eliciting parental or child states. Eric Berne’s 1964 book ‘Games People Play’ goes into this in more detail, and it’s clear that more games can be played when people adopt parental or child states. One example he cites is of the salesman who says, “This one is better, but you can’t afford it”. THEART OF LEADING COMMUNICATION -WITH PURPOSE Rhetoric – the mode of persuasion Rhetoric is the art of informing, PARENT Nurturing Critical ADULT CHILD PARENT ADULT CHILD Free Adapted
  • 4. persuading and motivating audiences through arguments.Aristotle held it to be the tool of logic and politics - categorising it according to three appeals to an audience: Ethos – How well an individual is able to convince an audience of their authority, honesty and appeal on a particular subject.These are the relevant aspects of an individual’s character that have the ability to enhance the appeal of an argument. Ethos can be broken down further, into three categories: Phronesis – wisdom and practical skills Arete – goodness, virtue and excellence Eunoia – goodwill towards an audience Pathos – A communication technique used to appeal to an audience using emotion, passion, stories, hooks, and allegories, hyperboles, and similes. Logos – The logical reasoned argument, which makes things clear. Logos also enhances ethos. In addition, a simulated argument, where data is manipulated and re-contextualised, could in fact be used to enact a pathos effect. HOWTO PLAYTHE FIELD The HumanTransactional Equation model, which brings together the various factors and categories mentioned earlier that govern communication exchanges. The idea is that facilitating and something that takes practice, pragmatism, communication is nuanced, subtle, sophisticated and dynamic. It blends the rational and emotional - reading what can be seen, with sensing and unlocking what is hidden.The best communicators and communication move like quicksilver: they have a form and function – and are smooth, This is a collaborative and cumulative process governed by environmental factors. And so, the key challenge is how you’re going to shape that environment, whilst keeping communication channels open and positive. Also, where I have used the terms ‘I’,‘Them’, and ‘OCEAN’: my thinking is that each can be used interchangeably in the singular, collective and abstract. So to brands, a corporate identity, or an object – that is if the human bonds and characteristics are string enough to facilitate this. CASE EXAMPLES IN PRACTICE Social Media Now think about conversations Online.Adult communication tends to be forgotten or ignored. Everyone seems to be telling people what to do using language with exhibits parental of child states. So the key challenge for a company is not to respond in a Critical Parent state, even in the face of provocation – it never goes down well.The Internet is full of people empowered to be free and rebellious with their communication. Similarly, there are plenty of consumers who are ready to step in and adopt a more parental and critical position than the organisation – where the organisation traditionally was thought to be the parent; possessing all the power and legitimacy. Haulers In 2011 the Financial Times ran a story on Haulers1 . These they state are “tween-to-twentysomething, largely female shoppers who haul their purchases back home and post video reviews onYouTube for their followers to watch.” There’s been a massive surge in this area.Who doesn’t check onYouTube for user-generated content on how to spot fake Beats by Dre headphones; what phone cover is the best; or what mascara really does give you luscious long eyelashes? More companies are now using these platforms to get greater insight into who their audience is, what they like, and what they have to say.Also, there are a growing number of advertising campaigns that watch what type of communication goes viral, using this as a basis for creating a new promotional campaign.And, for those of you that are haulers, there are number of companies who covertly offer their – who act as citizen journalists and consumer celebrities. LETTHE GAMES BEGIN This is admittedly a short intro into something that we all do, which on one level is so simple and natural, but as we all know is actually the tip of an iceberg of what are a complex network of dynamic transactions. For those of you who want to raise the bar, set the agenda and engineer communication consistently: then it takes practise – so let the games begin! Rhetoric OCEAN Community Society Rhetoric OCEAN Community Society Ego State Transactional Exchanges Ego State Transactional Exchanges Internal Me [what of & how I see me] + External Me [what of & how they see me] Internal Them COMMUNICATION [what of & how they see themselves] + External Them [what of & how I see them] 1 http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/e2de858e- e9e5-11e0-a149-00144feab49a. html#axzz2e1vb9wpd 094 // OCT 2013 // THE-MARKETEERS.COM AESTROAESTROOOSTROSTROAESAES OOSS RRTSTEEAA OORORORORORRTRTRTRTRSTSTSTSTESESESESESESAEAEAEAEAAAAAAAA STROSTRORROOAA OOAESAEAESTROAESTRORROOAA

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