Most mornings, I start my day with a tall cold one – a 44-ounce Coke Zero, that is. Recently, I pulled into my neighborhood Speedway to find this beer truck unloading a fresh supply of the other kind of tall cold ones.
The truck was a mobile billboard for Fat Tire, a popular and tasty craft beer. These kind of wraps can be smart investments in building a brand and drawing customers. But as with any communication, if you don’t think it through carefully, your message may be misunderstood. In a worst case, your positive message may have a negative effect.
Clearly, the folks at Fat Tire and the beer distributor didn’t think through how their message would change when a driver slides open the doors to cart a load of cold beer inside the store. The billboard quickly morphs from “FAT TIRE” to “FATT,” reinforcing the single biggest reason people don’t buy full-bodied beers and one that spawned a whole category of low-calorie (and tasteless) brews.
When you’re communicating, whether that’s an email, a news release, a marketing piece or a simple conversation, take the time to think through whether your message is clear. If it’s a complex message, make sure it’s not easy for others to pull out a single component that changes the meaning out of context. And as often as you can, make sure to test your messages with objective, honest folks who will provide feedback that can help you sharpen and hone your message.
Just a few things to think about as you’re sipping a tall cold one this summer.