Brian Creath

Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

The (Not-So) Hidden Cost Of Saying The Wrong Thing.

In Advertising, Brand, Brand Strategy, Communications, Corporate Marketing, Marketing, Messaging, Positioning, Strategy on July 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm


As we study new ways to save money and grow business efficiency, one area has gone largely untouched: Communication. Interesting, because it’s one of the biggest issues facing business today.

An SIS International Research study discovered that 70% of small- to mid-size businesses claim that ineffective communication is their primary problem. Communication issues are not just annoying; they are also costly. A business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communication. This translates to an annual cost of $528,443.

As businesses get larger, so do the communications problems.

Most C-level managers readily admit that their organizations do a poor job of communicating. But while many admit the problem, few have focused on its answer. For most companies, communication is a major liability.

A typical organization pays the average employee $9,000 a year to read, write and answer email. Mid-sized corporations spend $2.5 million on internal meetings every year with little or nothing to show for it. A recent University of Maryland study states that poor communication in U.S. hospitals costs $12 billion a year, which represents more than half of an average hospital’s margin. Many other industries pay a similar price.

Add to this the inefficiencies in brand communications, marketing direction and sales efforts, and many companies simply throw up their hands. “Companies live in denial,” a CMO recently told me. “Because without a strategic path to change messaging and behavior, everyone is convinced that communication is too big and too soft a problem to wrestle.”

Not only is the problem complex, it’s fragmented. While many companies do a good job of project and/or vertical communications efforts, very few address the issue in a holistic way. Said my CMO friend, “The sad thing is, with the right approach you can make tremendous strides. Problem is, most managers don’t know how and where to start – or how to keep the process alive.”

(By the way, if your organization is ready to tackle the communications problem, or if you’re simply looking for stronger brand and communications messaging, I know a firm that can help.)

While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll read about how Cohesion helps organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth, here.