Message Production

Message Production

1. Introduction

Companies today are bombarding their audiences with advertisements. It is anywhere you look. Companies market only to sell their products. Aesthetics and content have no real purpose besides to draw the consumers to the product being shown. This idea that the media is useless without a message has gone unnoticed for years. Advertisers are paying more for better looking commercials, but better looking doesn’t necessarily mean that the commercial is more effective. That’s where message strategy comes in. Message strategy is the plan for developing an effective message which is designed to meet the established advertising objectives. Methods include trial and error, testing, and more testing. Advertisers are trying to get the most effective information to their consumers and the message strategy is the guiding light. By testing different ads with different demographics, advertisers get instant feedback as to what the outcome of a certain ad may be. Even though message strategy is the most important part of advertising, its role in the industry is declining. With the rise of internet advertising and the effects of recession in the economy, advertising budgets are being cut and ad effectiveness is being ignored. This thinking is why there needs to be a change in the advertising industry. A message production approach must be effective and efficient and must have a concrete goal. A strategy such as this in the consumer advertising industry may result in effectiveness studies and more focus on the importance of the information given to the consumer. This cause and effect study on information would give the advertisers the necessity to spend money on advertising knowing if it is productive and what the outcome is.

2. Message Creation Process

A message with a strong premise and clean support structure will be more convincing. This is due to the consumer inferring the quality of the product from the quality of the argument about the product. If the ad has not done the groundwork of constructing the argument to the proposition, this can be lost on the consumer until he/she is at a point of sale, by which time the sale may be lost to a better-argued case for a different product.

An effective message has three qualities – it is appealing, involving, and convincing. The first of these is perhaps more an aesthetic matter of “taste”. But advertising professionals regularly rate the taste of ads and whether they think they will work, with considerable reliability. Various advertisements, selling across very different propositions and even to differing market segments, still rate highly in “likeability” and often such ads will be stronger performers than competitors. Likeability is very often a forerunner to an ad going “viral” amongst consumers. Ads that are “involving” are those which captivate the audience. They are executed in ways that go beyond words to draw the audience in and make them part of the action. Such ads are more likely to produce strong effects.

During the creation of an effective message, it is a complex task that requires considerable skill. It is worth examining the process – the first step in refining the executional strategy. To begin with, the message’s general content must be determined. The advertiser must decide what points he/she wants to make. He then studies various appeals, selling points, and creative approaches in the hope of finding the right proposition or positions to serve as the major premise for the message. This should provide the consumer with a good reason to buy the product. Once the major premise has been determined, the advertiser must select the most effective support points or evidence to build a believable structure for the proposition.

3. Message Formatting

On the other hand, a persuasive message may have a structure that begins with highlighting areas of agreement before subtly introducing the differing views. It then ends with a call to work with the differing views to resolve the debate.

For example, a routine message about staff procedures might start with a preamble showing the background and importance to the staff member. Then, it might give the actual procedure with a reference to where the staff member can find further information on it. It may finish with a summary and/or a request for confirmation from the recipient that they have now understood and will carry out the new procedure.

Basically, all messages are made up of the same parts: a beginning, middle, and an end. There are many typologies of types of messages (e.g., routine, good-news/bad-news, persuasive). Different types of messages have different structures.

3.1 Structure of Messages

Message formatting includes information about the structure of the message, which covers the parts of the message and the sequence of information. The second part of this section covers the design in the message, which includes the message layout and writing style for messages. The “What makes business messages different” part of this section gives insights on the constraints and formality expected in business messages.

4. Message Delivery

Discusses the multiplicity of options available for message delivery, emphasises attentive consideration of audience and context and the implications of chosen medium, whether it be written or spoken, in real time or stored. Explains the specifics of written language, with the possibilities for redrafting and editing, and intimate and individualized nature, through to the potential for permanence and accessibility to wide audiences in the age of information technology and mass storage and retrieval systems. Compares this to spoken language, which is characterized by its transience, but can be delivered in public or private, and to non-verbal forms of message delivery. Provides guidance on tailoring message to fit situation, and contingency planning for situations in which initial message delivery is impossible. Steps through the processes of identifying necessary information to convey, and structuring the message for optimal reception on the part of the intended audience. This includes micro and macro level logistical decisions, as well as advice for dealing with the individual or group as an audience, and dealing with interruptions to the message transfer.

5. Conclusion

I agree with that asking for the best way to accomplish something before that something has been identified is premature. Yet although a theory of understanding has been attempted by many, with no real success, with a medium such as a message, the task is clear. And before theories of various factors in understanding a message go off the path and into self-serving tedium, Message Production would insist that they “look before they leap”.

The aim of this essay is to argue for the unacceptability of doing theory for theory’s sake in a discipline centered on social justice, through looking at the abstract idea of what a message really is. If a message is a set of propositions to be conveyed from one person to another, then a message is a quantifiable thing. Throughout this essay, I have shown that although they may be able to articulate and describe various factors involved in understanding a message (i.e. Semiotics, Linguistics, even a general theory of understanding), the way that these theories have focused more on themselves than understanding the message as a quantifiable thing shows that they have wandered off the path. And the fact that it is often unclear what has been understood of such descriptions, and was it worth doing, demands that communication theory must be of pertinent use to the communication.

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