There are two kinds of messages at play lately …
The first is loud, uncalled for, cheap, and flat-out annoying. It can be compared to the pleas of used car salesmen as their prospective customers walk off the dealership lot OR the screeching sound of tiny chihuahuas barking from the living room window attempting to agitate all the big dogs walking by.
The second is genuine. It calls for conversation before a conversion. It’s friendly, curious and compassionate, taking on the privileged-to-serve disposition of the ice cream man who relishes in the opportunity to help his 3-foot patrons make their selections. He always seems to light up when the kids ask for extra sprinkles on their scoops.
The difference in business?
Well, brands run by the former see current pain and panic as an opportunity to push an existing product. They dust it off the digital shelf, dress it up in new context, and bark at every user that browses by in an attempt to be the one-stop-shop hero of all their customers’ new problems.
Brands run by the latter see pain and panic as an opportunity to serve and to better understand their audience’s needs and wants. The CEOs behind these business have a “Why” that extends far beyond money. Their marketing calls for a two-way dialogue that leads to a more tailored approach for introducing what they have to offer.
Put simply, the disingenuous brand talks AT their customers, while the genuine brand talks TO their customers – in all times, at all times.
Which brings me to Rule #4 in my new brand credo, The Copy Code:
I WILL TALK TO MY PEOPLE.
This is why this rule especially matters now:
The world is in panic. Some people don’t know where their next check or meal will come from. Mompreneurs are struggling to find their rhythm in a new normal that now includes full-time homeschooling, nonstop cleaning and three hot meals a day. Some service-based businesses are losing contracts. Some are laying off people.
And some savvy CEOs with the ability to listen, adapt, and innovate are simply hiding from reality. (No judgement – I went on my deck yesterday for 30 minutes to hide from my to-list, husband, and kids. I’m a walking contradiction, I know.)
Here’s my message to you, Savvy:
STOP HIDING & GO TALK TO YOUR PEOPLE.
Your audience is waiting to hear from you. Lead with a genuine message that aims to connect first. Relish in the opportunity to understand more about what your customers want from you right now. Start a conversation, be open to what you receive, and then work to fill the voids you observe.
A few things you can do this week:
Check in like my client, Heat Free Hair, just did on Instagram.
Jump on a FB live like my friend, Maurice of MoveWell Fitness, just did solo from his fitness studio.
Send an email asking people how they’re doing and what they’re most struggling with right now.
Record a podcast that starts a conversation on your social profiles, like Jenna Kutcher and Brendon Burchard did recently.
Don’t be like the annoying chihuahua who continues business, barking and selling as usual, as if life as we know it hasn’t just shifted. The world needs more ice cream …
… served by people who take joy in helping their patrons choose between the red, white, and blue pop, the Good Humor Bar, or something completely new of their own creation.
I’d love to hear what you’re doing this week to talk TO your customers, not AT them! Share with me in the comments below.