I recently found myself 45 minutes deep in a site dedicated to the spaces where artists and designers work. I didn’t actively seek out this behind the scenes experience, it was entirely by chance that I ended up there. Once I snapped out of it and realized how long I had spent procrastinating on the site, I tried to pinpoint what was so fascinating about it.
Aside from the cleverly laid out spaces and interesting photos, the appeal was mostly in how it gave a human feel to the work. Seeing the environments felt very personal and it got me thinking about how the same technique could be applied to any industry.
Many of the companies and brands we care about give us more than just a great service or product. They show us where and how they work. Ten years ago we got very little information about the day to day happenings at most companies, but that all changed with the introduction of social media. We now see more than just what’s listed on the “About Us” page, and those glimpses of the people behind the products are what connects us to a brand.
Think about a time you called a company and connected straight to an actual human. You probably felt like you were being treated better. Having to go round and round with automated systems and be put on hold is frustrating and impersonal. It’s hard to feel connected to a company that feels cold and robotic.
A little human interaction goes a long way.
Let your customers get to know the people behind your service or product. It’s a good reminder that people are hard at work behind the scenes and customers are more likely to trust a company they “know” better. There are many different ways to incorporate this human element into your current marketing efforts.
- Friendly interactions on social media.
- Team interviews.
- Fun, around the workplace events.
- An authentic, compelling backstory.
- Videos of your work process.
You might be thinking to yourself, “but nothing interesting goes on in our office!” or “our business isn’t glamorous.” That’s ok! It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling designer shoes or reliable appliances, there’s always something that sets you apart from your competitors. Maybe you develop a particular “brand voice” on social media, and increase interactions with followers. Sometimes a little humor is all it takes to make friends on social media. Or perhaps you create an exclusive “how it’s made” video of a product you manufacture. I still remember being mesmerized as a child by a PBS show about how rubber erasers are made. Be the PBS “how it’s made” of your particular industry.
This is an area of marketing where you really can have fun. The goal here is simply to be relatable. Your customers are used to seeing your products, so changing it up will immediately get their attention. I remember once thinking an HVAC client was crazy for buying an Elf on the Shelf and wanting to post about it on social media. Now the silly elf antics are some of the most entertaining posts on their Facebook page and their customers look forward to it each year.
The key is to find something that feels natural to your industry and your clients. There’s no need to remodel your office to get one of those “cool workspaces,” when you could simply work with what you have. Your customers will learn about you and appreciate the people behind the curtain more than they ever did before.