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Candid Communication

The world around us is already complex and nuanced and we have finite time and capacity to understand it. Online, this problem is exacerbated due to:

  1. Strategic Communication: We are constantly bombarded with advertising and PR that manipulates our brains into wanting things that might not be right for us. For example, in some cases like the Bournvita’s ads in India, brands resorted to outright manipulation while in other cases, brands might downplay, gloss over, or obscure details that are not in their favor.
  2. Algorithms: BigTech platforms design algorithms to be addictive, leading to echo chambers, polarization, and misinformation. Paul Graham famously stated that Google used to provide the correct answer but now gives the answer that is right for you.

In this environment, we recommend that brands should practice candid communication, i.e., conveying your best understanding of reality backed by evidence and data. It’s about being genuine, saying what you believe and meaning it. No fluff allowed.

Why it matters: Never exchange honesty for strategy. Regardless of your strategic goals, always:

  • Go beyond selling and share your story and engage in a dialogue with your customers rather than talking at them.
  • Build your case using reason, data, scholarly literature, and historical context.
  • Respect your audience’s intelligence and time. Communicate with clarity and honesty!
  • Foster a relationship with your audience where you can discuss difficult truths and shade unpopular opinions with them.

Limitations of candid communication: By compounding on one set of audience and topics, you are beholden to them in the long term. But then, right at the onset we discussed that candid communication is for those who go deep instead of broad. You are unlikely to earn a full salary via the media itself. Though it may add to your passive income.


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