Tell it like it is to maintain channel credibility

skyThe weather in the UK has been unusually good this year – that was up until two weeks ago when it all changed.

Since then, at weekends I now have to check the weather first thing in the morning to find where and when the sunshine is going to be so I don’t miss it. If it’s only sunny for an hour then just tell me ‘where’ and ‘when’ and I will be there.

In the UK, it’s effectively a national pastime to whinge that the weather forecasters have got their predictions wrong – again.

So often the predicted weather just doesn’t seem to match the reality. Sun is predicted yet we get rain. Rain is predicted but we get sun. That’s fine as far as I’m concerned though because I accept it’s difficult to predict the future.

But what I don’t understand is why, when I see it’s raining on a Saturday morning, the live online weather report for my location say it’s sunny. Something has gone badly wrong. How can I now believe anything they’ve got to say? The credibility of the forecasting as a source of information suffers.

This principle is the same in communications.

When corporate messaging does not reflect the reality that people are experiencing on the ground, the credibility of the channel suffers, along with the reputation of those perceived as being the authors of the message – usually the organisation’s leadership. This applies just as much to communicating with employees, as it does with external audiences.

Going back to the weather example, if I’m told it’s raining, and it is raining, then I might not like it but I retain my faith in the channel.

Likewise, using a narrative which people recognise as accurate helps you communicate your message even if, ultimately, the news is unwelcome. The channel is trusted.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *