Monday, November 16, 2009

Do you know how your clients feel?

A fascinating article touching on how humans make decisions came across my desk this morning. Research by Princeton psychology professor Danny Oppenheimer shows that decisions can be based on the ease of processing information – for example stock prices are higher shortly after the initial public offering when the ticker symbol is pronounceable (RAD for Rite-Aid compared with RDA for Reader’s Digest). In other work, Oppenheimer found that charitable giving rates varied according to what information was available about the charity’s efficiency rate (the percentage of donations that go to the actual cause versus what percentage goes to overhead). When people have a choice of giving to a charity with a lower efficiency rate, a higher efficiency rate, or no published rate, they will give to the charity with no published rate! Another of Oppenheimer’s studies shows that writing that uses a lot of big words detracts from the message. People will rate such writing as intelligent, but writing that uses simpler language is rated as more intelligent. You can read the article about Oppenheimer here.

These studies show that the decisions people make are based not simply on what they think, but also on how they feel while they’re thinking. It’s an important message for those of us who must market our business and we obviously need to design our marketing materials with this in mind. In fact with every appearance of our name/brand we should be thinking about how it might make our clients or potential clients feel. We want them to feel a certain way when they see us or hear us or think of us. How well are we succeeding in this? Can you examine your own materials and business practices and make an objective evaluation? Did you design your website with this in mind or did it just grow as your business grew? Did you hire someone to create a marketing campaign for you or did it just happen? In voice-over, probably most of us start out thinking we’re going to offer everything: audiobooks, e-learning, corporate narration, medical narration, message on hold, character voices, promo, radio imaging, the works. After a few years we find both that we excel in a certain genre and that specialisation is a key to success (at least in the U.S.). At that point we need to re-examine the way we’re presenting ourselves. Has this happened for you?

In today’s Actor’s Voice, Bonnie Gillespie writes about networking, and in conclusion she quotes from one of her own articles: People don’t remember you. They remember how they feel when they're around you. Think about it.

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