Key messages as frequencies

People and animals can only perceive frequencies that are within their range of perception. Common sense, yes? For example, a dog can hear audio frequencies and pick up on scents that are well outside the range of human beings.

The same holds true for ideas, emotions, and thoughts. They represent frequencies, like the signal or frequency of a station on your radio dial.

So this puts a whole different lens on the selection of key messages in a communications or marketing campaign. Emotions are frequencies, and there is an emotional scale of frequencies that run from the lower frequencies of fear, despair and hopelessness – up through the frequencies of rage, revenge, and anger – which rise higher into the range of frustration, disappointment, pessimism – to the positive states of hope, optimisim, positive expectation, enthusiasm, passion, knowing, and so forth.

The key to developing messaging sequences that our audiences can a) hear and b) fully engage with, depends on knowing three things:

1) Where is your audiences currently “vibrating” when it comes to your category or subject matter?

2) What are the “signature frequencies” of your brand or offering that constitute its DNA and core promise?

3) What are the successive shifts in frequencies that will take your audience from where they are, to where they could be if they engaged with you? In other words, you must chart an emotional journey that goes from 1) to 2) in a way that is pleasing and intuitive to your audience.

For example, let’s say you’re working on creating a rail service that will deliver people from the downtown core of a major city to its international airport. Logically, you’ve identified business travelers in the downtown area as a key target audience. Through a little research and just plain empathy, you learn that their current state is one of frustration and impatience when it comes to the stressful, uncertain and expensive trip to the airport in a cab or limo. Your operational plan guarantees that the train will be a swift 20-minute ride that leaves every 15 minutes for the airport and back, in stylish executive-class comfort.

Therefore, your task as a marketer is to project an emotional journey in the communications around this service that takes audiences from their current state, to the very antidote to that state, in successive stages of relief. Whether you use a video, an animation, info-graphics, print advertising or any other medium, the underlying emotional journey – a series of shifts in frequency – is the same.