Industry Viewpoint: Saying goodbye to the corporate voice
Long gone are the days of the stuffy corporate voice. Corporate culture is changing and shifting away from a detached, overly cautious voice to one that is more direct, honest, and in tune with its intended audience.
The pandemic has only accelerated this shift, which had already stared pre-pandemic. Zoom, Google Hangouts and all forms of video calls that became a necessity to adjust to the limitations created by COVID-19 have allowed us to communicate more directly, giving us a window into the homes and lives of our co-workers, clients and business partners. There’s an undeniable humanity involved when Zooming with a colleague and unexpectedly meeting their children or seeing their pets. Understanding each other on a more personal level offers opportunities to be more honest communicators while still maintaining a level of professionalism.
The biggest evolution in the corporate voice can be seen on social media. As marketers, we are constantly in competition for the attention span of our audience. Consumers are bombarded with brand messaging every day. Automated text messages, branded newsletters, ads, notifications, social media posts — there’s a constant effort to capture the attention of audiences.
The big brands that often make waves on social media are the ones that subvert expectations by abandoning the unwritten rules of appropriate corporate behavior and opt for a more fun and light-hearted voice. One look at Wendy’s Twitter page or Duolingo’s TikTok account and you’d think they were run by the cool Gen Z interns. It’s that fresh perspective and willingness to break the mold that instantly catches the attention of their audience and garners high engagement.
At Healthy Family Project, we regularly discuss our brand voice and the need for authenticity. It’s important to know your audience so you can communicate to them effectively. We talk to parents as parents. Yes, we can appeal to their desire to make healthy meals for their families, but to really gain the trust of our audience, we’ve focused on recognizing and addressing their struggles.
Through our blog, newsletters, and social media posts, we write through the honest perspective of busy moms who are doing their best to manage day-to-day life. We use personal anecdotes, tap into fun trends that are relevant to our brand and appeal to their interests outside healthy eating. We ask them questions and use different methods of engagement because two-way communication is key and no one wants to be “talked at,” they want to be “talked with.”
As we move ahead as marketers — and social media specialists in particular — it will be really important to leave behind the corporate speak and step into the friend zone with our audiences. It’s hard to leave a friendship in the dust, it’s hard to go days without talking to your friend. Identify that sweet spot with your audience and the customers will follow.