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customer experience
Tim Wade
  • By Tim Wade
  • Mar 11 2016

Why is Most Marketing Communication Boring?

Thoughts on tedious talkers...

OK, so everyone gets that in today’s commercial world customers are powerful. And, if you give them a bad experience, they’ll probably tell about 10 billion people on every single social network (unless you’re like me and reach only three people on Twitter). Surely this gives the business world an amazing opportunity to be more human, to create things that make us sit up, laugh and even cry. Sadly, however, it seems that corporate organisations are becoming more risk averse and happy to pump out dull, boring, bland communications that won’t get them in trouble because the reader won’t stay awake long enough to talk about them.

“"This bland neutrality, frequently packaged with a colourful backdrop, is basically one step up from getting someone to stand outside a store screaming and shouting for new customers to come in."” Tim Wade

Before everyone starts, I know there are a few exceptions, but I’m talking in general about large corporate organisations who hurl out the predictable volley of Emails, E-shots and Mail-outs. This bland neutrality, frequently packaged with a colourful backdrop, is basically one step up from getting someone to stand outside a store screaming and shouting for new customers to come in. Meaningful and memorable communication needs to have a lot more on offer than just “Hey you, check out how cheap our new crap is!”

Maybe it’s stories like that of Durex that have caused this drive to dullness. They invited customers to visit their Facebook page to vote for which countries should receive their ‘SOS’ condoms. Expecting suggestions like Paris, New York, and Rome…the brand were left red-faced when their customers chose a conservative Muslim province in Turkey. OR maybe this just means that you need more intelligent people running these campaigns who have a little foresight.

There is a way to tackle the curse of the bore-fest as well as avoiding PR infernos. The antidote to sleep-inducing marketing communications is to firstly accept that great communication should boldly dramatise a brand purpose and the experience that the brand delivers.

Take the brand Sugru, which we featured in our book On Purpose. Sugru inventor Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, to dramatise her product as “The world’s finest mouldable glue that turns into rubber” used Sugru to stick herself to the ceiling by her feet. She then invited users to post on their website how they have used Sugru to help ‘hack things better’.

Communication shouldn’t be complicated or contrived, but based on the purpose of the brand itself. Playing it safe is understandable in the cauldron of virality, but this doesn’t mean you need to be boring. Be bold and entertaining to bring your brand purpose alive and let your customers tell your story, they can probably tell it better than you.