A little more than a year ago, I took up running and it occurred to me late last week that it really is amazing how it has changed the way I think.
If I look at a picture of a beautiful scene with a road or a path in it, one of the first things that comes to my mind these days is: "Wow, that would be an awesome place to run!"
I never used to think like that. But now, without any conscious effort, as a result of a year's worth of just getting out and doing it, running has become a concept that is easily called upon by many different outside influences.
Which makes me think that it's a great metaphor for effective communications.
The way that running comes to my mind when I see a picture of an open road, is a great example of the kind of recognition that you as a company, non-profit or ministry-based organization want to have available to call upon in the minds of your audience.
The tough thing is that it takes time and effort to develop that kind of top-of-mind thinking in your audience. Repeated exposure to quality materials that communicate your brand messaging over a long period of time builds this kind of recognition. Like running, it can feel like a long and arduous journey at times, but it's so worth the effort.
Because once it's developed, that kind of brand recognition not only makes future communications easier, it actually has broader-reaching effects as it even informs the way people enter an interaction with you (i.e. trusting or wary).
So set your "running plan", so to speak, and stick to it with an eye for quality and consistency. Don't allow yourself to short-cut that plan because that will affect future performance.
There's no such thing as a one-off project in an organization that communicates effectively.