At BigMouth, we’ve been delivering “branding” and “strategic communication” to clients for nearly 25 years. This is powerful, ethereal stuff. It can transform businesses from the inside out. At its most potent, it can generate juicy, sustained spikes in revenue and lay the foundation for years of prosperity and stability. It can also be a humongous waste of time, energy, talent and resources. Sadly, a lot of the time it’s the latter.
Great communication is rare and beautiful. Here’s the first of five practical observations we’ve made on the subject.
Many businesses want the benefit of great communication — the extra attention, the human connection, the customer loyalty, the surge in revenue — without actually participating. Look, you either say something or you don’t. You either stand out or you don’t. In reality, it’s very, very difficult to stand out in the right way. The noise level is overwhelming. People’s attention spans are tinier than ever. The real risk is that no one will notice you at all.
Great communication involves entering into a relationship with strangers. It means opening up and having a point of view, and a personality. It means being a little vulnerable. Imagine trying to connect with someone without revealing anything about your true self. That wouldn’t be a much of a relationship, would it? If you really want to have a brand, you have to move past a fear of intimacy. Once you taste a little success, you’ll be surprised how quickly you become comfortable.
We presented our San Francisco Bay Guardian client with a bold campaign bearing the tag line, “Try my paper. Dammit.” They loved it, but made one small suggestion. “It should be, ‘Read my paper. Dammit.’” Clearly, these people got it. The resulting campaigns were smash successes. They generated national headlines and burned themselves into newspaper lore.