Referential Messages: Create High-Impact Information

Successful ideas and messages are shared when people are able to relate to it on their own terms, within their existing worldview. Data will remain cold, inert and impersonal unless it is framed in a concrete way that is relevant to the experiences of the recipient. You don’t want cold data. You want high-impact information that leaves a strong impression on your audience, so they’ll pass it on to others in their network, who’ll then do the same.

One way of doing that is to create a message using references which are not only easily understandable but inextricably entrenched in the day to day experiences of most people. A solid message with strong references lightens the burden of information consumption.

The use of concrete references contextualizes a message immediately: This is what happened, here is what’s going on. And soon enough the audience will complete the next step for you by asking what happens next and what they can do. They’ll seek out more information because they want to adjust to the new perspective they’ve obtained.

I came across a great example of this, in the form of an video creating greater awareness on the costs incurred by the U.S in the Iraq War. This video uses common referentials (cars/houses etc) to make information not only intimate but strikingly memorable

When creating content or planning your ad or marketing campaign, don’t be afraid to use references to contextualize the information you’re sharing. They will work very well indeed.