One Voice, One Vision – or an Entire Choir Singing the Same Song?

Freddy Leading a Choir of Thousands 

I was reading the article Why Corporate Communicators are Failing Social Media earlier today and while it is a great article, before I was halfway through reading, I thought, “A key reason is that too many companies are still stuck on the idea of a voice, and not embracing and enabling diverse voices joining in harmony to sing the same song as choir.”

I love the concept of One Voice, One Vision – in theory. I recall hearing Queen’s inspirational anthem blasting through the speakers to welcome customers, partners, and speakers to the opening of a huge user conference years ago in Boston. Adrenalin pumping, feet tapping, the crowd of bodies rocking forward sharing a dream, while singing the same song. 

Therein lies the key to what I see as a common failure with many Social Media plans for communities & brands.

There is so much emphasis placed on defining the organization’s single voice, and so little placed on how to turn the message into music that communities can sing.

The four key elements of music are melody, harmony, rhythm, and dynamics. All are essential in creating the essence of music.  Imagine if we created our communities and messages like creating a memorable piece sung over and over through the ages.

Melody gives the music soul, while rhythm blends with harmony and the dynamics of the tempo of a passage. All are necessary to create a recognizable pattern known as a ‘song’. (And you can’t harmonize alone as one voice.) 

Build your Social Media Choir as if you were writing a song for them to sing:

The Melody is the Message

  • Range – covers the distance between the high notes & the low notes, with the pitch scaling between low, medium and high notes. A piece with a narrow range has a message that centers around only a few notes, often limited by a single singer’s abilities.  By contrast, a wide range carries the audience from lows to highs through many steps on the scale.
  • Messages, like melodies, are structured much like sentences in spoken language. A phrase in music is but a single unit of meaning in the entirety of the song. Wouldn’t be much of a song if the message is spoken continuously in the same limited voice, yet often, we see an organization putting out the same phrase over and over, “Come see this link on our site. It’s cool.”

The ‘one vision’ message is the organization’s chorus written by the brandmeisters, while the other voices chime in to write different verses, harmonize and get others humming along.

Creating Rhythm

  • Rhythm is the beat. It is the sound that drives to make music (and your message) move and flow. Rhythm is made up of sounds and silences. Rhythm has a steady beat, but can also change tempo with some beats stronger, softer, shorter, or longer.When delivering your message, think like a composer, changing up the tone & the tempo, including different voices adding the high hat notes, the clapping, the different sounds that create more than just a simplistic, steady thumping of your bass line message.

Who is singing harmony?

  • Harmony is the relation of notes to notes and chords to chords as they are sung or played simultaneously.  Melodic intervals are those that are linear and occur in sequence, while harmonic intervals are sounded at the same time.In other words, while it is important to stick with the core vision and play the same message consistently, the song will be richer with more voices adding depth and subtle complexity to the sound of the lead power voice.

Pause here to listen to Roseanne Barr and her infamous attempt at singing the American National Anthem in 1990.

Now listen to the same message sung by a chorus of proud voices – The Academy Choir.

You want to make Social Media music, or keep singing with ‘one voice’?

You can’t make music like that with ‘a voice’, especially if the voice is off-key to begin with. When you build your Community Management team think about who will sing bass, tenor, soprano, and if you’re lucky enough to have Do Wop singers handy, let them join in to add some soul to the single ‘brand voice’.

How do you make your message & community sing?


Your Customer Relationship Depends on the Widget?

Key In on Customers

Key in on Customers

I read an article tonight called Invert Your Thinking About Social CRM that made me pause to wonder just what sort of relationship-building some experts actually do? While the post itself was on point in many regards, I felt almost sorry for the author at the end of the read.  This particular passage is so cynical that I find it almost offensive:

“I suspect that keeping up relationships with customers is harder because the original relationship is more tenuous to begin with. Seriously, there is little or no foundation for a social relationship with most of the people who buy our products and services. Even the casual relationship you struck up last year at your cousin’s wedding a thousand miles away has more to it than the default relationship that exists between you and the person who bought your widget.”

I think that is an unfortunate belief.  In fairness, I guess that would be an acceptable subjective viewpoint if you sold someone a pen-widget or something else disposable and lacking in the need for substantive time spent with the customer, but it just doesn’t ring true as an absolute, especially for those who sell software products and services.  I believe that the kinship nurtured with customers, their employees, vendors and partners during the sales & implementation phases does evolve into more than ‘default relationships’ if you’ve done your job well — and listened in person, before you can apply those listening skills in SM.

I count many, many past ‘people who bought my widgets’ among my SM contacts in various channels.  Sometimes we discuss the products, and just as often we converse about other shared interests we learned about during the widget exchange. From past widget purchasers I continue to learn daily about new technologies in many industries, food/travel tips, book reviews and feature requests/support issues. 

You have to be adept at building the rapport on a personal level outside of Social Media before you can fully appreciate the benefits of overlaps in the communities in which you continue to listen to the customer in other channels.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not negative about the article. I agree with much of it.  Yet, I still feel sorry for anyone who holds this view of customers and I wish they’d had richer experiences.  Or created them.

What the heck is a ‘default customer relationship’ anyway? Thoughts?