Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Information Science: Less Is More

If you’re following this year’s presidential campaign, you’re probably experiencing a fundamental law of information science: the more

I’m low on information.

frequently a signal is repeated, the less information it carries. The law has many practical implications. It’s why you can buy a vowel on Wheel of Fortune. Vowels are frequently repeated so they carry very little information. So you can buy one cheap.

The law is also why people start to ignore you if you keep repeating yourself. You’re adding no new information to the conversation, so why pay attention? This is a big problem for the presidential campaign. The two parties have been repeating essentially the same thing for two years now. The candidates have had nothing new to say for months. The talking heads repeat the same signals over and over but they’re adding no new information to the party. For many of us, it’s time to tune out.

There’s a difference, however, between signals and messages. Most companies should keep their core message consistent over time. Consistency builds trust and trust builds brands. To keep the message resonating with your audience, however, you’ll need to change the signal from time to time. In other words, you’ll need to find new ways to say the same thing. In brand building, this is what creativity is all about. You’re not trying to create a new message (in most cases). You’re trying to find new ways to deliver the same message so the audience will continue to listen.

Just think of how many times you’ve seen the signal, “Safety First”. It’s a good message but a tired signal. It’s become part of the wallpaper. We no longer pay attention to it. If you want us to behave safely, you’ll need to change the signal. How about this: “You Don’t Want to Die, Do You?”

Now it’s time for me to change the signal while keeping the message the same. Stop reading and click on the video.

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