Companies underestimate the power of micro moments in brand building.
As the world and specifically business communications increasingly tilt toward the digital sphere, thoughtful consideration from a real human being has a way of making a lasting impression. This holds true for all companies, whether B2B or consumer.
Starting with “the bad and unattractive,” an interaction with LinkedIn last week reminded me of this point.
I think I’m on safe ground in saying that spam constitutes a brand-eroding moment. That’s why this message showing up in my LinkedIn account jarred me.
My immediate reaction was, “What the hell?” I’m not connected to Kelsey Hightower from Google. How did he get to me with his unsolicited sales pitch that’s not even relevant to my job? Did LinkedIn somehow enable him to intrude in my circle?
Then I noticed the fine print below the sales pitch.
I had no idea that LinkedIn’s quest to monetize everything stationary includes what amounts to a direct marketing ploy, (i.e., buy a list of prospects that fit the target audience and shotgun out the generic sales pitch).
To LinkedIn’s credit, the fine print also includes a hyperlink to opt out of these intrusive pitches, but the default is set on acceptance. Furthermore, many (most?) people aren’t going to read the fine print and understand an option exists to end the unsolicited sales pitches.
Two companies lose in this interaction. Yes, I think less of LinkedIn, but I also think less of Google. Given the company’s precarious position in the general area of privacy, it seems prudent for Google to avoid any activities that have the slightest whiff of spam.
Switching to the good side, everyone enjoys an unexpected act of kindness. That’s what Pretzel Crisps did after my son, Elliot, won a disc golf tournament.
After rehydrating — I served as Elliot’s caddy — I turned to Twitter to share the good news:
This is where Pretzel Crisps enters the picture with the tweet you see below.
This happened a couple years ago. Yet, even today I have a good vibe about Pretzel Crisps and buy their products.
As noted earlier, B2B companies can also engender goodwill through micro moments.
I offer the Agency as an Exhibit A. Like many companies, we receive a fair number of resumes every month. Though I would like to handcraft a note back to each person who submits a resume, the quantity makes this impractical.
Still, most companies miss an opportunity, sending an auto reply that has all the personality of an analysis on tax law. These interactions typically read like:
Thank you for expressing your interest in _____________.
This email is to confirm that we have received your application. You will be contacted by our Company in the event that your skills and experience match the position that you have applied for. Otherwise, we will keep your resume on file should another vacancy arise.
In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck with your job search.
The HR Department
Doesn’t exactly scream human touch and bring a feeling to the job candidate that he or she is more than a number.
In contrast, here’s what we send folks who submit their resumes.
Yes, we know — nobody likes automated messages, but we just want to let you know that your application reached us safe and sound. Thank you.
We look forward to learning more about you and whether The Hoffman Agency might be the right fit. If your story just happens to match up with ours, we’ll be in touch to set up a meeting.
In the meanwhile, please visit our Agency Blog and our Storytelling blog to keep up with what we’re doing. And if you’re new to the world of PR, we highly recommend you check out this flowchart to help you understand where you can jump in.
Thanks again for taking the leap with us. We hope to speak with you soon.
— THE HOFFMAN TEAM
Again, this isn’t a huge deal; maybe it’s a pico moment.
No one is going to accept a job offer from the Agency because we offer an excellent auto-reply message to submitting one’s resume.
But we have received feedback that people appreciate a note that isn’t a cut-and-paste out of the HR 101 handbook. Humanity underpins the communications.
Every interaction with your audience is an opportunity to build your brand.
Even the little things can make a big difference.