Would four blindfolded judges turn their chairs hearing your authenticity, intention, and unique perspective? Who's doing the talking for your brand? That is, the social talking across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Your CEO, CMO, or Communications Director will likely represent you in press materials and conferences but who will we hear when we engage with your brand through social?
No doubt about it, this is a tricky one - and yet - we immediately recognize the distinct tone of an irreverent street sounding Thug Kitchen or the dearly departed Daily Candy that spawned hundreds of imitators. In both examples we believe in the person behind the screen because they're not talking AT us ... they're talking TO us in the exact same way they'd be talking to us if we were in a room with them. Thug Kitchen would still be throwing F-bombs while demo-ing soba noodle recipes, and Daily Candy would still be the smart slightly snarky girl at your gym who really does know what all the latest and greatest trends are before anyone else.
They make it look easy but it can be done! I worked with a non-profit client whose mission was to encourage routine voluntary HIV testing in a hard-hit region of the country. While the virus impacted every CDC category identified, we still needed a unified voice from which to move forward.
I struggled with who was doing the talking for them but I was very clear that it wasn't the voice of the Project Director. The PD fulfilled certain requirements like professionalism, respect, knowledge of the medical issues involved, passion for the conversation but on balance was too dry to capture attention in a social space, especially when the audience could be young teenagers or mothers with questions for their families. That voice left no wiggle room for creative discussion or a crucial guidepost for engaging in conversation.
Then during a presentation by the campaign's Public Health Liaisons, a team of respected multicultural HIV educators doing outreach across the entire community, it hit me! The PHLs came into contact with every conceivable demographic on a daily basis, and from the public's point of view they were the TRUE VOICE of the campaign. They created a no-stigma zone sharing expertise, smiling, holding someone's hand, and never passing judgment.
The difference between their approach and that of the Project Director was their perceived humanity.
You could literally see people lean in to the conversation because they felt safe and perhaps understood, and this is what happened each time they connected with the public. It was like a VOICE four-chair turnaround because it was the real unmanufactured deal and it couldn't be ignored or denied. Our job was to replicate that energy and intention on social, and that realization changed everything about the campaign's social strategy.
What brands do you think would garner a four-chair turnaround for their clear unmistakeable voice? Leave your thoughts here or on the original LinkedIn post.
A fresh notebook of thoughts on taking a social-first approach to modern marketing and the shifting sands of social storytelling. Shamelessly mixing metaphors on the way.