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By Liza Robbins.
Last week, I shared with you a powerful video recorded by Philip Olagunju, director at PEM Corporate Finance, one of Kreston’s UK firms.
He discussed the racism he encountered both in his personal and professional life, and his thoughts on Black Lives Matter.
When he posted the video on LinkedIn it went viral, earning nearly 21,000 views, more than 400 ‘likes’ and many dozens of comments.
And when I wrote about Philip’s experiences myself, I was astounded by the responses I received from Kreston members worldwide, sharing their own horrific stories of racism.
Why did Philip’s video resonate so strongly?
Of course, Philip’s experiences were profoundly shocking and – for me, a real eye-opener to a very different reality to my own.
But I think that the appeal of this video went beyond that.
After all, many other firms – and professionals and entrepreneurs from other industries – wrote about racism in recent weeks.
But very often, the way they wrote about it felt more detached than Philip’s piece…
They were writing in the 3rd person, conveying a company position and expressing solidarity with #BLM, often in formal, “corporate-appropriate” language.
Philip’s video, by contrast, was personal, raw, authentic…
He was talking honestly about real experiences, which made it more emotional, more relatable and more effective.
Is it any wonder 20,000 people were drawn to watch his video!?
There’s a lesson here for our firms’ marketing.
No matter what you’re writing about (and this emphatically does not just apply to strongly emotive topics like racism), people will naturally be drawn to content that feels personal and ‘from the gut’.
And there is a lot more we can produce in this vein.
This really hit me in the first weeks of the Coronavirus crisis…
Our firms were, across the board, excellent at producing updates for their followers and clients, keeping them up-to-date about government initiatives, and the financial implications of the evolving situation.
The Coronavirus crisis unfolded quickly and I know for a fact that for many clients, these bulletins and explainers were a lifeline – and in some cases, even earned our firms new business.
But could there have been another way to communicate in those critical first weeks – one that was even more powerful?
Looking at Philip’s example, I think so.
After all, the leaders of our firms are all business owners and entrepreneurs themselves… Just like many of your clients.
What if you had spoken to them directly and honestly about the pressures they were under… And that you were under too…
…Being open about everything you were going through, sharing your real stories and your real thoughts about the situation…
…And then, of course, giving all the same world-class advice – but from a framework of empathy?
And what if the managers in your company did the same – speaking directly to their peers in your clients’ companies, person-to-person rather than striving to maintain a detached persona?
You would still have all the same authority.
But you would immediately be even more relatable, your clients and leads would feel you understand them at an even deeper level – and you would be deeply differentiated from your competition, very few of whom are marketing in this way.
It’s a small change, but it’s helps build human connections.
And as you may have noticed, it’s the approach I try to take in my own emails to Kreston’s leaders!
The truth is, people don’t want to hear from amorphous “firms”. They want to hear from real people. They want a relationship with you.
When you give that to them, the power of your marketing will increase 100-fold.
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