The Communication Process Model and Cottage Cheese

By: Kimberly Martin

Communication is an important part of a marketer’s job, and it is important for them to understand the process it takes to deliver a message. If a marketer wants a campaign to be effective, they need to understand how communication, and the process that communication goes through from the sender to the receiver, works. In an article from Marketing Magazine titled, “Nordica Sees a Smooth Road Ahead for Cottage Cheese,” we can look at their message and how the communication process model can be applied.

First, I want to define the elements of the model, as defined in the class textbook. The elements that make up the communication process model are: the sender, the encoding process, message transmission, the decoding process, and the receiver. The model can also include a feedback loop and noise. The sender is the creator of the message or the company or brand the product belongs to. The encoding process is the sender transforming their message or product into a message that will be delivered to the receiver. Brands that have strong emotions associated with their brand have an easier time with the encoding process. These brands already have an existing image that consumers think of when they see their logo. Message Transmission is the channel in which a marketer decides to release the message on: television, radio, newspaper, magazine, Internet, etc. The decoding process is when the message is viewed by the receiver. The receiver will interpret the message they are seeing or hearing. The communication occurs when the receiver decodes the message. A challenge faced at this stage is that receivers can interpret the message in different ways based on the background and biases of the person. These different views result in selective perception. The receiver is the person intended to receive the communication. They are often the target market. A feedback loop allows for the receiver to communicate back and create two-way communication. The feedback loop allows the sender to get a reaction from the receiver. Noise is the distortion of a message at any point in the communication process. Noise can also cause an interference with a message.

A little background about the article (link to original article is posted below): Gay Lea Foods sells Nordica cottage cheese and they have discovered that 46% of the Canadian population eats cottage cheese, while the remaining 54% refuse to try it because of things like texture and appearance. They have come out with a smooth cottage cheese in hopes that it will get those people who do not like the texture to try it. The company is launching a series of digital ads that will appear on social media platforms. They will launch the second phase of the campaign by adding in print advertising. They have also created longer videos called “Cooking with Nordica Smooth” to show people recipes they could use the smooth cottage cheese for. Both the videos can be watch by clicking here.

Now to break down the article using the communication process model. The first element, the sender, would be Gay Lea Foods, but more specifically the brand Nordica. They are the source of the message. The encoding process is how Nordica is going to communicate the message or idea. In this case, the message they are trying to encode in this video is “all it takes is one tiny taste,” and they have used a video of a small bowl and small spoon with a normal sized hand to communicate the message. The next element is message transmission, and for Nordica, in the first phase of the campaign, this is social media. In the next phase, message transmission will be print ads. This is how the message will move from sender to the intended receiver, hopefully. The next phase, the decoding process, is how the intended receiver interprets the message. An issue Nordica could have with this phase is that 54% of people in Canada already have a reason why they refuse to try cottage cheese and are biased. The hope for Nordica is that people receive this message as a new cottage cheese that takes away some of the obstacles for why people do not eat it, and that if they just try one little bite they will like it. The receiver in this case is broad. They are hoping to reach those who are biased about cottage cheese, those that already like cottage cheese, and those that eat Greek yogurt, as Greek yogurt has stolen market share from cottage cheese. This article does not specifically say how they would get feedback from the receiver, but since it is being launched on social media you can assume they can read comments and posts the receiver writes and this could be a feedback loop. The last element of the process, noise, could be a factor on social media. There is a lot of content on social media that can make things blend in and be hard to see. If I was scrolling on Facebook, I am not sure a tiny bowl and spoon with a normal sized hand would catch my attention to watch the whole 15 second ad based on all of the other things on Facebook already. I think I would be more apt to watching their longer video about “Cooking with Nordica Smooth” as that would most likely be shared by a friend because they find the recipe interesting.

This process may seem simple enough, but it is an important process for a marketer to understand. They need to understand how their message travels from them to the receiver and how it could be distorted, so they can create content that can be communicated clearly and effectively. If you do not think about how your message can be decoded by someone, they could get the wrong idea about the message you are trying to send or the product you are advertising. A message could mean many different things to people especially with selective perception coming in to play. A marketer should understand different views or biases of the receivers and make sure the message will come across as clearly as possible to everyone.