We can all recognize the corporate voice that marketing and public relations departments use when writing official company materials. It is official, plastic, and always the same. Anyone who has spent more than a millisecond in business knows it. It is the corporate drone that binds us. It is the bland voice that unifies the company.
The bigger the corporation, the more bland the blather. Even worse, small businesses and little marketing shops have, unfortunately, learned to mimic this official voice. It is definitely an epidemic, and I like to call it the marketing voice.
Sometimes we are guilty of it because it is just easier. We have heard and read so much of it that is just rolls right out of our brain. Sometimes, we feel like it is just the way it should be.
It is like the wizard from the Wizard of Oz. When Dorothy walked in the room, he was big and green with puffs of smoke. Was it because that was who he really was? Of course not! He was just a guy, but he was also a ‘wizard.’ He had to play the part, didn’t he?
I think marketing speak is just like that. We somehow got snookered into thinking that the people we worked for hired us to be drones, and to sound like them. We feel obligated to be part of the unified company voice.
Well, I say the time has come for us to leave the curtain and the green smoke. It is time to stop sounding like a brochure.
Internet entrepreneur Corbett Barr wrote a post this morning titled Getting Paid to Be You. It was an insightful post, with a hearty message. Be yourself!
Sounding Like You
There are so many reason why we don’t sound like ourselves, but I think that fear is the biggest one. First, we are afraid to break away from what we think is expected from us, and two, we are afraid of what everyone might think of us when we are ourselves.
One of the terms that you hear thrown around the Internet these days is ‘human.’ Everyone is talking about and trying to be more human. Part of what we are all running from is this corporate marketing voice that we have all heard to death. The world is ready for something different. Something more real.
Social Media Expectations
Social media has really introduced this human factor back into business, because it has moved us away from mass production and mass media. For years, companies were big and did big things. They had to use a unified voice to reach us – they had to speak to the masses.
Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs and small businesses were listening, and somewhere along the way we started emulating them. We starting being them instead of being ourselves.
Social media is really the first time we have seen all of humanity together in such a raw format. The Internet has revealed many things about who we are and how we think. The thing of it is, that it has made our humanity all the more real. Everyone can be somebody online.
One of the hardest parts of social media is learning to use the right voice. I understand. We are all so confused. We start tweeting like it is coming from the official PR department instead of our own head. That’s ok, it happens – but we need to move forward. We need to put ourselves back into marketing.
Everyone talks about how it isn’t about marketing anymore, it is about conversation. Well, when is the last time you had a conversation with a company? It just doesn’t happen. People have conversations with people. What they want is for you to start acting like a person instead of the marketing drone.
So, are you brave enough to ditch the brochure voice and start sounding real? How have you introduced ‘yourself’ into your marketing?