How often have you found yourself desperately pleading for a company representative when caught in the suffocating grasp of an automated phone attendant? Probably more times than you can count. But what’s funny is that despite people’s universal preference for human interaction, so many businesses attempt to communicate with customers using industry jargon and over-engineered, technical gobbledygook.
Think about financial and insurance marketing, two areas we specialize in. These are complex, regulation-driven industries that can easily bore anyone to tears. But here at FARM, we’ve found a way to help our clients ditch the buzzwords and embrace the warmth and humanity that people not only crave, but sometimes require when making their decision to buy.
You better change your tone, mister.
A conversational tone is fast becoming the go-to voice for brands looking to become more human. And while tactical in nature, this personable approach should be as authentic as possible, since trust is the ultimate goal.
Changing your tone doesn’t mean you have to abandon your values or your culture. It’s just a matter of connecting with your customers in a more natural fashion.
And being “real” isn’t really difficult. It could be as simple as choosing a few different words or even just using contractions, rather than spelling everything out. Take off your industry hat and put on your consumer hat. How would you tell a buddy at a backyard barbecue about what you do—or, more importantly, how you make your customers’ lives better?
Think the way consumers think and you will begin to speak their language.
Sometimes it’s hard to put a new voice out there. Whether you’re being funny or emotional, smart or sincere—achieving a conversational tone for your brand takes guts. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
Think about a typical email you could get from a bank trying to sell you a credit card. You could always go with the expected subject line: “Get our best credit card today.” Or, you could try something more engaging like, “Imagine what the other cards in your wallet will think …” Your gut might tell you that the second example would be more intriguing and have a better chance of getting a prospective customer to open. To be sure, try testing both.
Look at what TD Bank is doing to be more human: http://www.tdbank.com/bankhuman/
Although it may work for TD Bank, humanizing your brand voice isn’t about being funny. It’s about crafting communications that make a genuine connection with your customers. Then, your brand becomes memorable for both what you say, and how you say it. And more memorable often leads to more sales.
If your brand needs help sounding human, it’s not because you’re inherently cold and robotic. You may just be so ingrained in the details of your business that you could use an outside perspective to frame your communications in a more relatable way. The good news is, we’ve got people who can help.
Tim Marren, Senior Copywriter & Amanda Waggoner, Senior Account Executive