Communicating well in VUCA world

We are living in interesting times -with Alexa hearing all our conversations, robots taking up a lot of menial jobs and Internet of Things becoming common. Technology has touched each and every part of our daily lives and has transformed the way we live, communicate and spend our free time. 

The business landscape has changed over the years too. Today, the global business environment is fluid with numerous factors like economic uncertainty, globalisation, etc. impacting the growth of economies. A recent acronym doing the rounds is what defines today’s times – VUCA that stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. While VUCA world has a lot of business challenges like being relevant to the times,  one of the challenges doing the rounds is that of communicating well.

Communication in a VUCA world is not an easy task and comes with its set of challenges. First and foremost is the challenge of information overload that has resulted in brands struggling to get the attention of the target audience. Interestingly, we receive five times as much information as we did in the year 1986 – with data equivalent to about 174 newspapers every day. The attention span of humans is fast reducing. And in such times, one needs to try extra hard to get noticed. Brands need to have their communication strategy clearly carved out and have focused and differentiated messaging to be able to make an impact and connect with their target audiences.

Needless to say, in the VUCA world, technology is most important. However, the flip side is that technology advances have reduced real conversations. People are more comfortable chatting on the internet/by text or email, than actually taking face-to-face. Interestingly, face-to-face connection can give an edge to brands/ leaders in the VUCA world. The primary reasons being that real conversations can help build business relationships. It is the human connection that can be the key to connect and communicate well. Hence, it is imperative for the key leaders in brands to connect with influencers and communicate.

Crisis communication can be required at any given point in time, in a VUCA world. Hence, it is advisable to have a clear strategy in place ahead of the crisis. One should have the skill set to foresee the crisis and plan the communication keeping in mind multiple scenarios. The uncertain times can also serve as an opportunity to communicate brand’s values and DNA to the external audiences. It is advisable to be transparent and not hide facts when communicating during the critical times of VUCA.

Employee communication is another important vertical. The organisations should not only provide strategic direction, but also keep employees abreast of the latest developments.

Lastly, in VUCA world, reputation management and positive digital brand building is an important part of the communication strategy. One needs to leverage the digital channels well, to be able to build an impactful and positive brand recall. With the exponential rise in smartphones usage and the rise of internet on mobiles, a brand communication strategy minus digital communications is incomplete.

VUCA world is all about evolving with the times. One needs to be agile and alert to be able to convert every opportunity in their favour. It is advisable to weigh the pros and cons and take only calculative risks while communicating in a VUCA world.

The bright side is – very few brands get this piece right. But when they do, they quickly rise up the ranks in brand equity and credibility.

Akanksha Jain
Akanksha is AVP and Head - Marketing Communications and Public Relations at Pine Labs.

She has over 14 years of experience in working across global/ digital public relations, corporate and brand communications, crisis communications, brand and market communications domains. In the past, Akanksha has successfully planned and executed public relations/brands campaigns across India and over 25 other countries. She is a start-up specialist and has extensive experience of working with emerging brands.

Akanksha is an avid traveller, a cricket lover and a tech enthusiast. She enjoys reading about a range of diverse topics, and listening to music, in her free time.

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