Written By: Kathleen Riessen
Many years ago my husband sent me to the hardware store to buy ¼” pipe. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, and while Noah wouldn’t have asked me to help him build his ark, I know how to swing a hammer. So off I went to the hardware store. The pipe aisle had many different options but I couldn’t find ¼” pipe so I asked an employee.
Me: Hello sir. I am looking for ¼” of pipe.
Hardware helper: Sure, how long?
Hardware helper: Yeah, I get that. How long?
Me: Ummmm . . . I don’t understand your question.
Hardware helper: (Trying to control his laughter). Why do you need the pipe?
Me: My husband asked me to get it. He’s building a patio.
Hardware helper: (Now visibly laughing. He hands me a long pipe). Here, take this home. It’s what you need.
So I took a long pipe home, handed it to my husband and said, “I’m sorry. I know you wanted ¼” but they made me buy this whole thing.” My husband tried to control his laughter and said that was what he needed.
How was I to know that ¼” described the thickness, not the length?
People interpret information based on their set of life experiences. When you are communicating through advertising, you lose control of how people interpret your message. Quickly, people can draw the wrong conclusion and make assumptions about you, your product or service.
When developing your messaging, make sure you are succinct and direct and, for goodness sake, test your message on a few people first.