Human communication, B2B

Are you TOO serious about business?

What's your general marcom approach? My guess is that you, like most of us, want to be perceived as knowledgeable and experienced. Service-minded, responsible, trustworthy and resourceful...

Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it?

In your eye-to-eye encounters with the very same people you would at least try to spice it up with a slice of personal charm, curiosity, wit and warmth. A genuine interest in their everyday life. Maybe a reasonably decent joke or two. The stuff that creates positive recognition and tears down walls. And, not least, the stuff that builds relationships over time.

Immediate adaption to personalities, moods and circumstances

So why are such fundamental human qualities not reflected in your marcom and social media marketing? Personally, I could think of several good reasons, for example that people are different, and that their mood and receptiveness may vary with unpredictable ups and downs.

In a personal meeting your social antennae will immediately register if your initial approach is not fully understood and appreciated by the recipient. If you've got different frames of reference. If your timing is wrong. If you are too formal or too relaxed. If your joke didn't land well. You can easily read their facial expressions and body language, and instantly adapt your approach accordingly.

Not so much in a one-way, one-size-fits-all ad or LinkedIn post. You know all that, so your first instinct may be to play it safe and offer your customer or lead a safe, standardized message.  

You can't win them all

Standing out in a crowd can be worth a fortune – provided that you stand out for the right reasons. Like talking about real people, in plain English when your competitors are drowning their target people with technical jargon and corporate platitudes. Like illustrating a real, well recognized problem with a light-hearted story or a humouorously drastic allegory.

But lighthearted, easy-to-grasp English doesn't mean sloppy language, or cheap jokes. And your engaging story should always reflect some vital aspect of your customer's challenge, pain or dilemma. 

Sometimes, however, you have to choose: Dare to try something new and bold, and you may lose a few potential wins. Try to win them all by being bland, safe and predictable, and you may well lose them all. 

Disarming defense mechanisms

Qualified editorial content often allows for more varied styles, moods and formats than most conventional marcom formats. A serious news article or video interview comes naturally side by side with a light-hearted column or an inspiring human interest story.

These varied expressions of your story will attract different people, with different interests in technology, money and human beings. People that may affect buying decisions from different perspectives. 

At the same time the right kind of editorial content can be more informative, offering alternative ideas and perspectives rather than telling the reader or viewer what to think or what to buy. Therefore, it is often perceived as less pointed or confrontational, and does not trigger as strong defense mechanisms at the receiving end.

As long as you don't take yourself too seriously.

Rolf Andersson

Senior Writer & Strategist at Freya News

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