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My three great loves growing up (besides Charms Sweet & Sour Pops) were music, theatre, and words — reading and writing, but also singing, talking, word games… you name it. So naturally, “The Music Man” holds a special place in my heart. Especially with Robert Preston as Harold Hill, and especially this song:
Is there a better example anywhere of the fun and flexibility of language? Well, maybe. But I can’t think of one at the moment.
“Ya Got Trouble” is an important song for the character of Harold Hill because while we’ve gotten hints so far about who he is, it’s the first time the audience is exposed to the full force of his power as a salesman (and a grifter). Harold Hill knows the power of words, and he knows what he can do when he chooses his words well. He’s nailed his brand voice for sure.
You’re not a scam artist like old Harold, and you’re not trying to put one over on your customers — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a page from the Music Man’s book when it comes to thinking about how you should be “talking” (writing, posting, broadcasting, etc.) to your audience. An engaging, consistent voice across all your communications tells customers who you are as an organization — what you value, how you approach your business, and what it will be like to work with you. Your customers might not have “trouble with a capital T,” but by the time your song and dance is finished, they should have a feel for what they can expect from you.
So when you’re taking stock of your communications, from newsletters to social media posts to advertising to your website, here are some questions to consider as you think about how you “talk” to your audience and what that says about your organization:
How does reading this make me feel? How would it make a new customer feel?
Does everything we write sound like it could have been written by the same person? Where it doesn’t, is that intentional or accidental?
What are the words that stand out? How do they represent my business?
If reading this is the first or only interaction someone has had with my organization, what will they know about us? Who will they think we are?
One of my favorite comments on the Facebook post introducing Wintergreen to my friends and family was one wishing me the best of luck on my “new adventure.”
I love this comment not just because it highlights one of the best things about social media (seriously, how great is it that it’s so easy for me to share updates, and get encouragement, from someone I’ve known since I was four years old and who works in my field on the other side of the country?) but because it was exactly what I needed to hear in the moment.
Wintergreen is my new venture — but I hope (and believe) that it will be an adventure as well! Of course there’s some uncertainty and a little bit of fear in launching a new business, and some of that was starting to creep in about the edges earlier today — until I saw that comment and felt energized by all the possibilities wrapped up in that word — adventure.
It was a great reminder, too, that the words we choose matter. If my friend had selected another word, I would still have thought it was a nice comment… but would it have stuck in my head the way it has? Probably not.
If you have a business of your own, all those feelings — the uncertainty, the fear, and hopefully the excitement and energy — are probably familiar! What might seem a little bit overwhelming is the idea of how to market your company — how to tell your story to the world. Marketing communications is a field that’s rich with jargon, buzzwords, trends, acronyms, and fast-moving technology. It can seem overwhelming. But at the end of the day, what matters most is the story you choose to tell — the personality your organization projects through all its communications, from good old-fashioned print ads to e-newsletters, video, social media, and whatever comes next.
That’s where my adventure and your adventure converge. How can I help you tell your story? Where are your customers, and how can you best reach them? I’d love to help you find your brand’s voice — the personality that shines through in everything you do to communicate with your audience. Contact me today to talk about a communications audit — or check out the menu of project services.