Too Much (short-term) Information

One question that financial institutions grapple with is how to integrate social media into their communications strategy, which brings to mind the trend of affinity groups or communities and the lessons that can be learned from them.

A recent non-financial experience is a good example of how too much information can lead to short-term actions that may not benefit one in the long term. The fitness tracker craze has enjoyed robust growth in the past few years. A key part of most fitness trackers is the app that accompanies it, providing stats on how you are doing versus your goals, allowing you to enter food consumption and even find friends or contacts using the same tracker so you can start a group with them. From there it’s a simple leap to inviting them to compete against you toward a goal. Fitbit, for example, has a number of “challenges” in which you can participate.

But do these competitions really encourage good long-term habits? Probably not. Instead, a constant stream of up to the minute “market” information incents participants to sacrifice long-term objectives and goals, such as steady/consistent action through a program designed for one’s unique needs, etc., for short-term activities (run, jump, climb; anything and everything) in order to inflate short-term performance. But eventually the pain, in this case in the form of aches and even injury, from overdoing it, sets in. Sounds all too familiar to investments, doesn’t it? With the constant stream of information out there, it can be difficult to filter out the short-term noise when communicating with your clients through different media, especially when other outlets are all too willing to send a plethora of information out into the virtual world.

Remember, however, that your message and value proposition should remain consistent across all media that you are using. Communicating frequently in a more informal manner, as social media allows you to do, does not mean losing sight of your essential brand or, sacrificing long-term messaging.