The Importance of a Personal Face -- On Halloween
In taking my kids out trick or treating last night, I paraded them past many lavishly decorated homes with "cute spooky" arrangements, outdoor music, and other scary yard setups. One guy's display definitely outperformed everyone else's on the block. It looked like he dropped $500 on Halloween gear and other decorations -- lights flashed with thunder sounds, revealing a ghost and other ghastly figures overlooking a yard cemetery.
But as we kept walking down the block, the house I enjoyed the most was the home of an old friend who sat in his garage next to a table with a jug of hot apple cider and a plate of cookies. He sat and chatted with me for a while -- which turned out to be far more enjoyable than the expensive cute spooky yard setups of the other houses. In these other houses, owners were sequestered away and only opened the door to briefly distribute candy.
The experience made me realize the importance of the personal face. No matter what product we sell or promote online, nothing gives it quite so much power as a personal, friendly face. Even in an era where people are drowning in emails and other social media noise, the personal response, the one-on-one "mom-n-pop" type of customer service, which seems impossible given the volume of responses needed, is more powerful than any other type of marketing. The personal interaction is what makes the experience engaging. This is what Eric Karjaluoto spoke about at Confab 2011 last year in his talk, Speak Human.
I'm not sure how to find time for that personal touch, but Larry Kunz's tips for building trust in a corporate blog -- revealing yourself as a person, speaking with conviction, and interacting with comments -- seem like a good start.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.