What Is Meant by Encoding and Decoding in a Linear Communication Model?

In a linear communication model, such as that found in retail marketing, the best results are obtained when the sender encodes the message by using the language, symbols and images that will most effectively enable the receiver to decode the message and interpret it in the manner intended. For this to occur, the intent of the message needs to remain intact and unaltered despite the interruptions and the interference resulting from distractions, or noise. Common realms of understanding between the sender and the recipient can play a vital role in the successful encoding and decoding of the message.

In addition to background sounds, such as conversation, traffic or a dog barking, noise can take the form of a cognitive distraction. If the intended message has not been encoded properly or fails to make use of common fields of understanding, it may be too difficult for it to be decoded in the manner intended. The sender's appropriate use of the overlapping aspects of culture, knowledge and attitude in the encoding process can help to ensure that the message is decoded easily and understood correctly by the receiver.