“That reminds me of a story…” Engaging your audience
Cell phones, WiFi, podcasts, blogs: all these new vehicles for communication mean that we are bombarded at every turn, every waking hour with communication. You can’t even escape in the restroom. Men’s public bathrooms have begun sporting digital messaging at eye-level to take advantage of the eyes-locked-forward posture. I hear that talking urinal cakes are another hot item—I guess for the visually impaired? While I don’t have personal experience at the urinal, I do know that some women’s bathrooms do offer similar entertainment. Talk about a captive audience. Geez, and I found elevator advertising annoying!
So, when your audience is so overwhelmed with every kind of message possible, how do you get yours across?
Nothing pulls people in like a good story. I grew up hearing my Dad drive home his point about how easy we had it by telling us how he had trudged 20 miles to school through waist-high snow in a blizzard carrying his brother on back—every retelling adding richer detail. Sure, we doubted the truth of it, but it still had us smelling wet wool coats, feeling the sting of the snow pelting our skin, hearing the crunch underfoot and seeing hot breathe rise in clouds with each panting step.
You can make experiencing your product or service just as vivid to your audience. Tell a case history or success story with rich narrative that weaves the challenge and solution into a visceral experience. It’s even more effective if you can support your story with a customer testimonial. A prospective client can live the experience by seeing through the eyes of someone like themselves how you solved the problem or delivered service that really made a difference.
A quirky but amazingly successful way of using testimonials is the WD40 fan club. You may have received emails that friends forward periodically that tout the ever-growing list of uses for the humble household lubricant. Its uses have become urban legend, so much so to that WD40 has established a fan club section on its web site. Fans log on and submit their stories about uses for the lubricant. The stories get told and retold, and lots of WD40 gets sold. Now, that’s a pretty slick way to engage your audience!
Next Issue:Change Agent: Igniting the Spark
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