When I emigrated from England to America in the early 1980s, I found that some of the sayings my mom had taught me didn’t translate. I got puzzled looks when, for example, I said “looks don’t fill a cupboard” (translation: “don’t judge a book by its cover”). One saying that did translate was “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” A similar one I learned after being here for a while was “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
As a result of this idiom confusion, I often found myself pausing right before I used a saying to try to mentally edit out the ones I knew wouldn’t translate. Once Google arrived, it was easy to research the origin and proper use of many of my old imprinted phrases—plus the ones that I’ve picked up here.
As a communications professional, I have seen dramatic changes in our industry—especially in the last 10 years. Reaching an audience with a message is now much more complicated than it was in preceding decades. The evolving media landscape and the way information is accessed and shared require much more creativity to find and connect with an audience.
Today, to find audiences for client messages, we have a cocktail of options—demographics, psychographics, and technographics—realizing that the best campaigns use multiple channels and message types, and they even give us quicker feedback than before.
So what does all of this mean?
Good news, really. If you’re concerned you’ll become an old dog unable to learn new tricks, then don’t be. That idiom hasn’t passed the test of time with me or with most of the optimistic, knowledge-hungry, curious people I know. You can learn new tricks, continue to grow, and change. But, in your learning, hold on to the time-tested truths: Communicate clearly, don’t deceive your audience, perceive real needs, and keep it simple.
To commemorate Carabiner Communications‘ 10-year anniversary, we created a new infographic that takes a nostalgic road trip back in time to look at the top B2B marketing and PR trends that have shaped how corporate stories get told: