We are all very well aware of the importance of effective communications in business marketing, however, recent news reported in Finland’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, has served a timely reminder of an ongoing marketing challenge with an accompanying lesson to be heeded by marketing professionals across Europe. The report sheds light on how failure to communicate the right information clearly and transparently, through the correct channels is not only poor business practice, it can also land you in hot water in the eyes of the EU Market Abuse Regulation (MAR).
When the wrong message meets the wrong audience
The awakening of debate on this ever-present challenge in marketing communications stems from a recent stock market communication released by a globally active company headquartered in Finland, which has received criticism from legal sources claiming that the announcement mixes insider information with gratuitous amounts of marketing-speak. The resulting ambiguous message has been cited as a breach of the MAR, an infraction which could potentially have legal implications. This highlights the essential and fundamental requirements in effective, not to mention legal and ethical marketing communication; always tailor the language of your messages to the audience and channels appropriately.
The communication raised alarms for its apparent mix of information that is sensitive to investors, and efforts to promote and market the company in a way that is said to deflect from the underlying point. This mix was exacerbated by the linguistically confusing nature of the communication, which is alleged to not only contravene the primary provision of the MAR in governing transparent and concise communication of insider information, but appears to be a distraction-littered smokescreen of buzz words and jargon laden marketing hyperbole that shroud the inherent purpose of the message, which has the unfortunate undertone of the announcement of a strategic development involving potential job cuts.
Read the Helsingin Sanomat news article as reported here: https://bit.ly/2XpgBA3
Separating stock market news from marketing communications
The kind of language employed in the release, would perhaps have served as a communication aimed at generating publicity in channels that promote awareness and lead sales. In these channels, artistic license can be applied to paint a suitably vivid picture of positive brand image for the company’s latest product, or in this case, strategic development. This, however, is ill-advised in communication that has implications for the company’s stock market perception, and may over-step the boundary between fact and fiction.
The MAR is designed to uphold the integrity and transparency of financial market news, including communications of company inside information, which may have bearing on stock market value. The regulation protects investor confidence by segregating concise and factual content from marketing material. In order to avoid a faux pas similar to the one reported, it is essential to adhere to the marketing golden rules; understand your audience and communicate to them with the right message through the appropriate channels.
Marketing communications may have several gray areas, and companies might on occasion fall foul of sailing closely to the boundaries of acceptability in stock market communications; however, marketers should consider the reported apparent contravention of the MAR as an additional eye-opener and reminder to take appropriate action to avoid communication of stock exchange releases dressed in a marketing communication’s clothing. Instead marketers should insure communication is specifically constructed to be fit for purpose, with the target audience at the top of the list.
Never underestimate the importance of trust
Perhaps the most vital outcomes of your marketing communications are the building, and upkeep of a trusted reputation. Trust is an extremely valuable commodity for your brand, and is either made or broken on the basis of your messages, and most importantly, their perception by the audiences they reach. Failure to craft the appropriate messages to the appropriate channels can have negative consequences, particularly when done to an extent such as the reported example, where criticism from legal sources has generated undesirable publicity for the company in question. Any situation where a company is called upon to defend their communications could be perceived as damaging to public relations.
While it may seem fairly harmless and even tempting to pepper a news release with a few desirable brand keywords, or upliftingly emotive language to encourage positivity, disregarding the necessity for clarity and transparency in the channels that demand them represents a misunderstood audience at best, and a perceived attempt to mislead at worst. This type of misplaced communication may have damaging implications for even the most hard-crafted trustworthy image.
Getting the right message to the right people
At INS Trade Media Service, we understand how to communicate your messages effectively, matching the appropriate messages to the right media channels. With 40 years’ experience helping companies reach their ideal customers by targeting their product communications to the most relevant global trade media, we completely eradicate any risk of ambiguity caused by mixed messages and channels.
We understand that although stock market communications are purposeful and indeed necessary, they should be made with concision and transparency, and never confused with marketing activities. This leaves you with a blank canvas in terms of product communications marketing to tell the great story of your brand in a way that resonates with your customers. In terms of reaching the right people, mass distribution services which are highly automated may be useful resources in achieving blanket coverage of stock market news, but such services are ineffective at ensuring that the message is appropriate for the target.
When it comes to empowering your sales and marketing activities, you need to communicate with precision and personality; our tailor-made services and work performed by dedicated individuals with care and attention represent the smart way to communicate in an impactful way. This insures your messages are targeted to the appropriate channels to attract the attention of your ideal customer base in a way that builds trust and authority, while still painting the desired picture of your news.
Don’t risk creating negative publicity from misplaced, mismatched messages; communicate to the right people, in the right way.
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