It’s increasingly clear based on my years of studying fandom that people are attracted to that which is personal to them. An athletic activity, sports team, company, service, rock band, author, or idea that encourages people to be part of a tribe of like-minded people serves to develop fans. However, most organizations don’t communicate in a human way, resulting in a purely transactional business relationship.
Easy. I encourage all marketers and entrepreneurs to review your marketing materials, website, and online content and eliminate 1) over-used meaningless words and phrases and 2) stock photos purchased from a catalog used to represent customers and employees.
Oh jeez, not another flexible, scalable, groundbreaking, industry-standard product from a market-leading, well positioned company! Ugh. I think I'm gonna puke!
Just like with a teenager's use of annoying catch phrases, I notice the same words cropping up again and again in Web sites and marketing materials—so much so that the gobbledygook grates against my nerves and many other people's, too. Well, duh. Like, companies just totally don't communicate very well, you know?
An alert reader recently pointed me to a website where the company described themselves as: “the innovative disruptor future-proofing dealerships with connected solutions that sell and service more vehicles, more efficiently.”
This language is not how you generate fans.
The first super simple way to make it easier to build fandom is to go through your marketing materials and web properties looking for all the innovative, cutting-edge, best-of-breed gobbledygook words and eliminate them.
Who are these young, happy, pretty, multi-cultural people with great teeth and even better hair who hang out with notebook computers in sleek and modern conference rooms on company Web sites all over the world?
Who are these international inhabitants of virtual corporate locales?
I've personally been inside many hundreds of company offices in over 20 counties in the past decades. Yet I have never seen these people who seem to inhabit a weird virtual world of corporate Web sites at organizations across the globe.
It’s not just stock photos of people in offices. All industries have cliché stock photos that marketers use.
The second super simple way to build fans is to use real people instead of stock photos to showcase your employees and customers.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with stock images used in a clever way. In fact, I use frequently use images from Shutterstock on my blog and in presentations. It's not the photos. It’s the ways they are used.
Stock photos of models don't look like you. They don't look like your employees. And they don't look like your customers (unless you run a modeling agency).
People instantly know the photos are not real employees or customers and they tune out.
These two actions won’t take much time and can have a large payoff in creating more human relationships for your business.