Jul 3, 201308:01 AMOpen for Business
with Jody Glynn Patrick
Boost your brand muscle with human stories, better integration
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(Editor’s note: Jody’s on vacation this week, but because she’s never come to a deadline meeting empty-handed, her GP&A business partner, Barbara Hernandez, offers suggestions for marketing, her area of expertise.)
Author Annette Simmons was spot on with her book Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins. Communication must be clear, she acknowledged, but Simmons adds that a human presence in communications is too frequently replaced by desires to make information bite-sized — and that’s shortsighted at the expense of your brand. Your message should also be compelling, encouraging the reader or viewer to learn more. To add humanity into every communication, she added, you have to tell stories.
Take a look at some of the communication from your company (e.g., emails, memos, press statements, brochures, direct mail, etc.). Do the pieces individually or collectively tell stories about your brand? Are they positive reflections of your organization or just another ho-hum piece of communication? Sadly, for most organizations, communications has become formulaic and boring.
My first boss, Gaylin Morgan, was a phenomenal writing talent. He shared some of his writing secrets with me early in my career — too many years ago to count, but captivating writing is timeless. Adding humanity isn’t fluff, I learned; it’s authentic and makes your message more credible. Now, whatever I write, I imagine there is someone sitting across the kitchen table from me and I’m telling a story.
I’ve since written for many different industries through the years, and no matter what kind of communication I deliver, humanity is present.
What? You say you don’t have any stories to tell? How about sharing how the engineer came up with the idea for your new product! When did he have the “a-ha” moment? Changing internal policies, and you want others to know that there will be a change? Make it personal. Tell a story about what would happen if you didn’t change the policy. Don’t tell your target audience that your company believes in green technology — tell them why.
Telling stories about your brand isn’t as difficult as changing formulaic thinking about communication, but adding humanity back into your messages will reap brand benefits for your entire organization.