Archive for the ‘Dialogue Marketing’ Category
It’s because monologue can be enforced. Dialogue cannot.
Twitter is all about the quick, personality-laden human voice. Twitter carries truncated thoughts by design—more like a human talk—one thought at a time.
Official medical device Twitter feeds are boring because the communicators behind those feeds are trussed and bound by legal and regulatory protocols. The feeds are boring because competing lawyers have police scanner-like attention for claims that fall outside of the FDA-vetted matrix. And those feeds are also boring because many of us are not in chronic pain, or worried about going through airport security with a defibrillator or insulin pump or mechanical heart valve. If we were, we might get those medical device tweets instantly on our smartphones and find them very interesting indeed.
I’m glad those tweets are boring. I hope they continue to bore many of us because we don’t need the product.
How could medical device tweets be more interesting? Clearly the human voice must be involved. When Omar Ishrak tweets (@MedtronicCEO), the tweets are at times more personal, like when his daughter runs a marathon:
But generally medical device tweets lack the sound of the human voice. They tend to sound like monologue-rich press releases:
Some companies don’t even try:
Ok: SJM does tweet over here: https://twitter.com/SJM_Media
Granted, medical device firms will never sass it up like DiGiorno pizza
But surely as we move forward into deepening inter-connections between professionals and regular humans, every company must find a way to sound human or risk not being heard.
Maybe that means special release from the legal/regulatory straightjackets for certain chatty employee/storytellers. Let them tell their stories in ways that are unique to them while continually repeating “My Opinion Only.” Can medical device firms institute official unofficial-storytellers? People who claim nothing but that they work at the place and this is what they see?
That might result in fun tweets that gather an audience and endear a company to a larger public.
The era of siloed communication is fading quickly in the rear-view mirror.
In the advertising business, it’s not in the interest of advertisers for people to think about what they’re presented with. It’s in the interest of advertisers that people choose to think in the way the advertisers intend them to. It’s a formulaic thing, where there’s only one possible outcome in advertising. That creates a space where the “right to thought” is taken away from people.
I’ve always tried to approach my work as being open-ended and with a degree of abstraction or ambiguity. This prevents it from being a monologue, because it is a dialogue. The work is only completed when a viewer has looked at it and made his or her own decision as to the full meaning of the piece.
From Debbie Millman’s, How To Think like a Great Graphic Designer (NY: Allworth Press, 2007) 72-3
In a world where everyone sees everything…
If you’ve ever wondered where complete transparency might lead—as I have—consider reading Dave Eggers’ excellent novel The Circle.
Mr. Eggers has created a very comfortable world (for some) of deep collaboration, where everything is provided to those lucky enough to work for the Circle. The Circle, the corporation at the center of the story, looks more than a bit like our most celebrated high-tech companies brimming with smarts, cash and outsized ambition. Think Google or Apple or what Microsoft once was—and then add in a cast of characters each with an overweening and boundary-less high EQ—and you’ve got a world that is totally supportive—as long as you move in the same direction. The novel traces the story of Mae Holland as she “zings” (tweets) and “smiles” (likes) her way from outsider to the inner circle.
The story gets uncomfortable at times, especially when it shows the intent behind the use of social media and the social pressures applied. Especially when you start to recognize product placement on a very, very personal level.
Mr. Eggers has me rethinking my eagerness for employees up and down the corporate ladder to use their outside voice. I’ve been advocating, among my clients and when teaching Social Media Marketing, that helping employees reveal their work to interested outsiders is a move toward a new kind of marketing that looks less like selling and more like a conversation among interested parties. I still think that is a good move, but Mr. Eggers has explored the boundaries of that notion, and it is a bit, well, totalitarian.
I will consider using The Circle as a supplemental text for my next class on Social Media marketing. Well-written and consistently engaging, Mr. Eggers’ book is well worth your time.