If your company were a person, what would be its personality? Would it be warm, friendly, and attentive? Would it be impatient, efficient, or hopelessly baffled? Would it be different – just like everyone else?
Many websites use the same sort of anonymous language, often conveying nothing. A Google search on “leading provider of” brought up 18,000,000 results. Why are all these so-called leading providers using the same language? Does this language work, or is it just noise? Surely there is a better way. Every word in your sales and marketing communications should encourage your prospective customer to learn something of value. Anything else is wasting time.
In their book, The Bullfighters Guide: Why business people speak like idiots, Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway, and Jon Warshwsky, say that the official language of business is bull. Jargon abounds on websites, in corporate communications, and in presentations. The hope is that jargon use will confer status on the speaker, or writer. Dig a little deeper and we find that jargon often hides the fact that nothing of substance is being communicated at all. Clear communication pays dividends.
One problem is the language many businesses use is self-congratulatory. Reading some of these websites gives the impression that these companies may be so superior that they wouldn’t stoop so low as to have you as a customer. Do clients really want to do business with a company that has the personality of an adolescent? Communicating the right tone matters.
Small is beautiful
Mid-sized companies are mistaken by trying to pretend they are bigger than they are. Companies need to communicate credibility. Smaller companies have the advantage of direct action, flexibility, less bureaucracy, adaptability, and real personal service. It’s easier for a small or mid-sized company to demonstrate its value and uniqueness. What about your company’s personality?
How to get started
Think about your company’s story — its narrative. Write down why the company started; what were the problems it initially set out to solve; what experiences have led you to make modifications; who are you serving; what do you like about your customers; what do your customers like about you; what is funny about your story; what was unexpected? Just get words on paper as if you were talking to a friend or family member; and stay away from business jargon.
This is a start. Successful companies are in it for the long-haul. Keep refining your story over time. Once you understand your company’s personality, communicate it in everything you do.
Let’s face it, we’re attracted to people, and companies with personality.