Tips to make your customer stories more compelling

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You can’t beat a good story to get your business noticed. That’s why customer case studies in brochures and newsletters are so compelling. They are often what people like to read first. After all, readers don’t just want to hear you telling them how good your products or services are; they like to check an independent view as well. The opinions and verdicts of satisfied customers helps persuade prospects they are making the right decision in choosing your business.

The strongest element in company brochures, newsletters and websites is often the story telling. This is your opportunity to produce compelling copy with a soft sell subtly woven into the fabric of the story. Having captured people’s attention, you can position your business, brand, culture and identity in the best possible light.

It can be a challenge bringing together the ingredients needed for strong customer stories that stick in the mind. A useful approach is to put POWER (Perspective, Ownership, Warmth, Endorse, Rapport) in your copy:

Perspective – see the world from the customer’s point of view, not yours. Tell stories relevant to their world and let them make their own minds up about how good you are.

Ownership – tell your stories in the first person, highlight the actions of colleagues and say why they are important to the story,  personalise the content with your own contact details at the end. This builds trust and confidence that you are accountable and prepared to ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’.

Warmth – show compassion and a deep understanding of customers’ challenges – plus a readiness to help tackle them. A ‘we’re in this together’ philosophy creates stronger stories.

Endorse – the all-important real-life examples of how you help customers is your opportunity to say ‘Don’t just take our word for it…’. One of the first things businesses look for are what other customers have to say about you.

Rapport – speak the same language as your customers with straight-talking, jargon-free communication that they will understand and respond to positively.

If you want to put more POWER in your company stories contact us.

Humour at work? You’re having a laugh

Mad image 2A Google search for ‘humour at work’ reveals just two results. And one is for hummus at work.

Actually, that’s a rather poor attempt at humour. There are millions of Google results (95.9, 54.5 or 3.36 million, depending on which day you search). Whatever. Clearly, there’s no shortage of smarta***s out there.

Aparently, the ability to laugh with colleagues, laugh at yourself – just laugh – is fundamental to being human. It’s what sets us apart from animals. Try telling that to a hyena.

But how much humour, and when, are tricky questions.

A little light humour during dark periods of stress can work wonders. In a busy workplace, you can’t beat a bit of banter. Those one-liners or a running joke that wends its way back and forth can boost morale.

The funny thing is how seriously people take humour. Take these two events coming up in June and July 2018. Real rib ticklers, and there are probably plenty more like them.

The International Society for Humor Studies’ 30th annual conference should be a laugh a minute. Or 5,760 minutes – four days of academic presentations from theories on verbal humour to satire in politics.

If you prefer Wolverhampton to Tallinn this summer, there’s an international summer school on humour and laughter. It’ll get you up to speed on the theory and methods used in the scientific study of humour.

Is humour worth the effort? Evidence, as if it were needed, suggests it is.

Researchers at Wharton School discuss in a Wall Street Journal podcast how teams work better when they laugh and joke together. They say humour can improve productivity, although we’re not sure if that’s meant to be a joke.

Fortunately, there’s even a place for sarcasm, so long as it doesn’t turn nasty or negative. The Wharton School researchers found that being on the end of sarky comments can actually boost your own creativity and expand the way you think.

The researchers even say humour can improve your status at work – on the basis that you’re more confident and willing to get involved doing stuff that gets you noticed. Although some of the glummer senior execs we’ve worked with prove exceptions to this rule.

So, what kind of worker are you? The ‘pack up your troubles and just get happy’ or the ‘heavens knows I’m miserable now’ type?

Remember, your next joke could make all the difference to your career.

Continue the conversation after your conference

handshakeEverybody agrees your conference was a massive success. Handshakes and high fives all round. New opportunities abound with a stack of business cards and email addresses to personalise communication with your new fans.

You have confirmed people are happy to receive information from you in the future. So what now?

Your audience of customers and prospects will expect something useful from you. Your communications must deliver value to them. A great way to start or continue business relationships at this crucial point is with a post-event publication.

A magazine or newsletter summarising what was said provides delegates with a handy summary of the event, especially sessions they may have missed, in an easily digestible format. Even better, you can send the publication to people who couldn’t attend as well as prospects to entice them to your next event.

You can build stronger client relationships after conferences and seminars by:

• Sharing your knowledge leadership – capture and present your key messages plus information discussed and shared on the day. As well as your own experts you are likely to have involved external speakers, whose influential opinions you can include. Often, the key highlights at events are the informal, unscripted elements such as Q&A sessions. These can be summarised for publication if you have someone there to report on them.

• Keep the communication going – publications provide essential follow-up contact that should create lasting interest in your organisation, especially for people who couldn’t attend your event.

A magazine, newsletter or brochure is a great way to add extra value in your mix of customer engagement activities. At EDG, our writers, photographers and designers can rapidly create impactful content and images from events to produce a timely publication that captures the flavour of the day and acts as a memorable reminder of your industry-leading views.

Really, it couldn’t be easier for you. Contact us and we’ll show you how

Five ways to boost your company stories

meetingCompany communications are a great way to share news, experiences and important information in a dynamic, conversational style. Whether printed or online, magazines or newsletters, you will want to maximise the impact your news makes on colleagues and customers. But often, the best stories don’t make it or you fail to do them justice because you miss a few key ingredients.

Here are some tips to help employee and customer stories gain the recognition they undoubtedly deserve with better coverage in company publications:

1. Take a photo. Camera phone images are usually fine for print quality if the image resolution is set high – check the size and format your publication prefers. A story supplied with good photos often grabs premium space on news pages and is more likely to be read.

2. Better still, film a short video clip if your company publishes online versions of its magazine. Keep clips short so they need minimal editing and check the preferred file format.

3. If your story involves customers, get them engaged and enthusiastic about contributing. Make sure you ask for their contact details to follow up and check  approval on what you plan to say about them (always very important). Offer to share the story with them – they will probably have their own company publication so could double your coverage.

4. Don’t forget to make a note of important details that you may need to chase up later for a stronger story and be careful about using sensitive company information.

5. Finally, remember to add colour. Capture the true feel of an event or activity so the story creates a vivid picture for readers. One of the most direct ways is to obtain colleagues’ comments or add anecdotal snippets detailing humorous and informal moments. People love stories about other people.

Think what you would like to read in a story about life in your organisation and you’ll be halfway there. Give us a call and we’ll get you going.

Customer communications

Build stronger customer relationshipsHigh five crop

 Your challenge

• How do you keep your customers and prospects up to date with useful information and share your latest news and views with them?

• Are you happy with how you capture and communicate key messages and encourage a two-way dialogue that promotes customer delight?

• Do you feel you are missing a great opportunity to engage more effectively with clients and prospects, add value in your relationships with them and demonstrate your thought leadership on key industry topics?

Our solution

• We can write and produce magazines and brochures (print and online) that pull together informative content in a reader-friendly format

• We can carry out interviewing and information gathering to generate well-crafted, impactful copy

• We can carry out project management, photography and design or work with your in-house team

• In short, as your creative partner we can take away the hassle of developing and maintaining regular, high quality communication with your customers.

Contact EDG Communications to see how we can help you to create post-event communications that build better client relationships and thought leadership.

Capture and communicate inspiring news with your customers

 

Post-conference publications

Build stronger client relationships after your conferences

 Your challenge

• What happens to all the vital information and views discussed and shared at your client events after they finish?

• Are you happy with how you capture and present key messages and provide valuable follow-up communication to delegates, as well as clients who couldn’t attend but would like to know more?

• Do you feel you are missing a great opportunity to engage with clients and prospects, add value in your relationships with them and demonstrate thought leadership in the topics covered at your events?

Our solution

• We can write and produce magazines and factsheets (print and online) that pull together key information in a reader-friendly format

• We can attend your events, write up sessions, gather input from speakers and delegates, conduct follow-up interviews and generate informative, impactful copy

• We can carry out project management, photography and design or work with your in-house creative people.

 

Contact EDG Communications to see how we can help you to create post-event communications that build better client relationships and thought leadership.

Capture and communicate your key business messages

 

Print v online company magazines? There’s room for both

Online threatens to consign much-loved inky pages to history. But is the writing really on the wall for print? Given the choice of apps and mobile devices available on the market, especially tablets, you might think so.

Figures from IDC show global tablet shipments surged 142% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2013. That’s 49 million tablets – more than shipped in the whole of the first half of 2012. Yet despite the rise of mobile devices, printed publications survive and thrive alongside digital versions. The online community debate.org records a fairly even split between yes and no to the question ‘Will printed magazines and newspapers dry up in the next decade as a result of the popularity surrounding online content?’.

In its annual industry survey the Professional Publishers Association notes that print is still massively important in terms of both revenue and brand presence. The enduring popularity of print is confirmed in consultant Deloitte’s annual State of Media Democracy survey on how UK consumers interact with media and entertainment, which found that 88% of people who read magazines prefer printed copies.

The significant advantages of digital include real-time information, handy links to useful sources and the ability to instantly track and analyse what is being read. A company’s Information Technology department will place equal emphasis on the security of sensitive information and how to control access.

What businesses need to decide is how best to reach target audiences. While online has immediacy and impact, hard copy magazines are still important as a company showcase, whether celebrating and supporting the achievements of its workforce or enhancing the customer experience.

You can pick them up, put them down, place them in reception areas and mail them to people’s homes. They create a warmth that digital can’t always replicate that is essential to good employee and customer relationships.

Hopefully, rather than fewer of either people will continue to demand more of both.

 

Is employee-driven social media a risky business?

Social media is driving a significant shift in the way companies communicate internally and with customers. But this dynamic channel causes corporate headaches when employees are unclear on best business practice.

Online internal communications, especially magazines and newsletters, generate an interactive buzz with Twitter and Facebook or Chatter and Yammer, the private social networks for enterprises. A survey by Towers Watson found 56% of employers now use social media as part of their internal communications. Their aim is to build ‘communities’ and a sense that staff and management are one.

Social media also gives employees a voice to represent their company to the outside world. A survey of office workers by Hyphen found that companies could be doing more and offers good advice on using social media to engage the business, promote products and build the brand. But if poorly executed, Hyphen paints a stark picture: “It can also serve as the fastest way to destroy all of that.”

Becoming advocates for your brand relies on positive employee buy-in. Hootsuite’s white paper points out that employees using social media are a company’s best advocates. But a potential problem is the audience knowing whether someone is using social media in an official capacity. There is a risk of blurring business and personal boundaries, especially in language and tone of voice.

In its useful tips on using social media to improve internal communications, consultant Social Media in Business highlights the importance of creating a common language and training everyone in it. A worrying statistic from Hyphen’s survey is that only one in six employees said they were aware of their employer’s social media guidelines.

The potential risks are confirmed by insurance industry analysis. Alarm bells rang as far back as 2011 in a survey that flagged up the fact that nearly half of respondents rated reputation risk from social media as a material risk.

To reap the benefits, companies need to keep pace with the opportunities social media offers internal and customer communications but also anticipate and avoid the likely pitfalls.