Time to reclaim the cliches, and build trust like never before.
28 October 2020
by Nico Jones
I was talking to some copywriters not long ago about certain marketing cliches that have become so overused, they’re essentially meaningless words when used online. They’re ones you see all the time, often listed as values; passion, authenticity, storytelling…you can add a hundred more of your own. One copywriter said the word ‘passion’ was toxic, which was very strongly put, but there you go.
Problem one is, anyone can say anything on the internet. Problem two is, the ones who are fake, get mixed in with the ones who are real, at first glance. Which is far from ideal.
So the simple answer, and it’s one we’ve touched on before, is to show, not tell. Rather than saying you’re, for example, inclusive, show some inclusive stuff happening. So job done…to an extent.
But let’s take that a step further, because the larger an organisation, the harder it is to let this stuff happen organically, and just document it. At some point in the modern business world, you’ll need to have some sort of values-based mission statement that resonates with your audience. You’ve probably got one already. Then as you grow, you’ll need to put systems in place to nurture, support, champion and guarantee the implementation of those core values. Mark and Brian Canlis, who own a restaurant that’s famous for its customer service say: ‘if your values don’t cost you anything, in either money or time…then they’re not your values.’
And what they meant by that was, let’s say you as a brand say that you value diversity…the question you have to pose to that is…how? How does that system work? How is it managed? What happens if it fails? What’s the consequence if it isn’t followed? Who’s in charge of administering it? How, how how.
Once those questions are answered, and you may well have done this already…you’ve got a system that’s really worth shouting about, and promoting. Because the thing about cliches is: they’re cliches because they’re effective when they’re properly used. With proper systems, you’re now fully-geared up to reclaim whatever cliche you fancy. And that’s where user-generated video can be incredibly effective.
Once you’ve got some value-based systems fully rocking and rolling, they’ll be instances happening all over your organisation, in multiple locations, all the time. Now you can write them down on your site, and yeah you should, but then you’re still just ‘telling’. Video will help you bring it to life.
But: trying to really capture something so wide-ranging via a traditional video shoot would be prohibitively complex and expensive. With smartphone video, you can capture and tell dynamic, nuanced stories from the people who are active in those systems every day. You can have those people outline exactly what it is they’re doing, and demonstrate to your audience that you’re dead serious about your values.
You can truly reclaim the cliche in style, over and over again, from every conceivable angle. So rather than just being something you write on a wall, your values are something you can really make use of. The level of trust between you and your audience will skyrocket.
So that’s the tip. If you’ve got some solid values, and some solid systems to guarantee them right across your organisation, then get some stories from the people on the ground, and start shouting about it. Your audience will love you for it.