3 C’s to Fight Information Asymmetry
by Samantha Marquez, on Aug 13, 2020 9:24:25 AM
“Knowledge is power,” is a phrase that most of us accept as true. But what happens when you lack a particular piece of knowledge? That is the problem inherent in what we call information asymmetry.
What is information asymmetry?
Information asymmetry occurs when your audience lacks the knowledge that you have.
What’s so bad about information asymmetry?
When you don't give your audience adequate information about your agency or company, you allow them to make assumptions that may not be beneficial to your mission and are often wrong about your organization. For example, not sharing information could give an impression that your agency isn’t doing enough work or isn’t making an effort to inform the people that they serve.
On the other hand, providing your audience with the same information you have empowers your audience and gives them equal understanding. By being transparent about your information, you build trust. Especially during a crisis, sharing relevant information bolsters your organization’s legitimacy and credibility. Establishing a trustworthy reputation reassures the audience that when an unexpected event occurs, they are in safe hands and there is no need to panic.
But building trust takes time.
That leads us to our next point: the 3 C’s.
3 C’s to fight information asymmetry
At Presidio we have created the 3 C’s as a framework to help you build trust with your audience:
Consider your audience
The content, tone, and wording of the information you share will differ depending on who your audience is. You want to be mindful of the people you are speaking to because you need to relate to them and make the information relevant to them.
For example, consider your target age demographic. Most parents would not be as responsive to TikTok video announcements as teens would be.Brainstorming questions to consider:
- Who are we trying to inform?
- What information do we want to share?
- What might be important for them to know?
- How time sensitive is this information?
- Political stance
- Culture and language
- Background and shared experiences
Create a goal
You want to create specific goals to help you come up with a detailed plan and measure your progress. Our team at Presidio recommends following the S.M.A.R.T goal framework.
- Specific: Clearly pinpoint what you are trying to achieve. Does “sharing more information” mean you want to inform your audience twice a week or once a month? Specific communication goals help you measure your progress.
- Measurable: All goals need to have a metric. “Increasing awareness” is a desirable and great idea, but in order for it to be a goal, you need a way to measure whether or not you are making progress towards your objective.
- Attainable: Your trust-building goals should definitely require you to do something different and new, but they should be achievable within the time frame that you give yourself. It may not be realistic to share information hourly with your audience, for instance.
- Relevant: You now want to think about the “so-what” of your goal, bringing your goal to a bigger picture objective. If your goal is to increase engagement on your social media platforms, how will that help your brand and image?
- Timely: Having specific deadlines will hold you and your team accountable. Create a timeframe for when you want to complete your goals, as well as some check-in points to examine your progress.
Craft targeted strategies to reach your audience
You want to share carefully curated content. You don’t want to sporadically post information that may not be helpful or relevant to your audience or your brand. These are the things to consider when developing your communication strategy:
- Medium: how will you communicate with your audience?
Every community is best informed in a different way, but communication staples include sending out email newsletters and encouraging people that you serve to follow you on social media.
- Frequency: how often will you share updates with the community?
Frequent sharing is vital to building a trusting relationship. Posting on your social media accounts once every 6 months won’t do. As we mentioned before, consistency is key to building a reputation of trust. Our team at Presidio recommends that you post 5 times a week if you are a new organization and 3-4 times a week for more solidified organizations. We also suggest that you break your content schedule into quarters so that you can take time to evaluate how your social media is growing and performing. You can then easily adapt your strategy if needed.
- Accountability: how will you hold yourself accountable?
Creating a schedule helps you plan content in advance, keep track of the information that you’re sharing, and record audience engagement. A schedule also gives you a structured way to plan ahead for posts, making it easier to post consistently.
Kayla Park contributed to this post.
Director of Public Agency Services
Samantha Marquez is a community relations and engagement specialist with over six years of experience in legislative affairs and targeted policy messaging on the local and state level. Before coming to Presidio, Samantha served as the District Director to the Majority Leader of the California State Assembly, where she served as a liaison between local public agencies and the state government. In the Assembly, Samantha was the Majority Leader’s principal aide for K-12 education and transportation.
Kayla Park is a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is passionate about bringing communities together with strategic and compelling communications, and she aspires to be a government and corporate liaison. Kayla is pursuing a B.A. in Public Affairs and plans on graduating in 2022.